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Basketball: Montgomery miscellany

I had a scheduled interview today with coach Mike Montgomery, and it was just coincidence that the Bears also signed PG Justin Cobbs. I will have a story in the paper sometime soon on the Bears’ offseason and how they expect to assemble next year’s team.

In the meantime, here’s Montgomery on his newest player, plus his comments on a few other topics:

– On Cobbs, a transfer from Minnesota, who will sit out next season, then has three year of eligibility: “He’s a kid we knew about out of high school that we liked. He was on a state championship team with Bishop Montgomery (of Torrance).  We liked him, but were not in a position to do much at that point. Just given the situation wth the number of kids we lost this year, we got wind he was looking to leave the University of Minnesota. He’s a good leader, good size, can run a club, a good kid. We think now that we’re pretty solid in terms of people can handle and people who can pass.”

– On what he sees in incoming freshman Emerson Murray, a combo guard from Canada: ”No matter how we looked at our list, we were short a perimeter player. With Brandon (Smith), Jorge (Gutierrez), Gary Franklin, then with (wings Alex) Rossi and (Allen) Crabbe, those were the five guys we had for three spots. We just had to have somebody else. If you had one kid injured, you’d be done. Emerson kind of emerged back out — he was hurt in the summer and down for quite a while – we kind of got back on that thing. He’s a good student from a great high school, a fabulous kid. Everything about him we liked. He’s athletic, got a great upside, can really defend. We  just fell in love with him as a person. He’s the kind of kid who can do whatever.”

– On having as many as five point guards in the program: “Probably Justin and Brandon are really the only true points.  Jorge, obviously, and Franklin and Murray can all play it.” Montgomery said playing Gutierrez, the team’s best defensive player, at the point potentially gives him too much responsibility. “When you have to think all the time (at point guard), they tend to lose some of their other game, but Jorge likes to think of himself (as a point guard), and I think we’ll give him a shot at it.”

– On the departure of sophomores Omondi Amoke (dismissed) and D.J. Seeley (transferred): “You feel bad for Omondi. The kid made a mistake, it’s  just such we didn’t feel like we could recoup. He’s not a bad kid, just kids make mistakes. Sometimes they’re a little more glaring than others. D.J. made the right decision for him. Now I think it’s all positive.”

– On the status of freshman forward Bak Bak, who sat out the spring semester after becoming academically ineligible: “He should be good to go (although all grades were not yet posted as of Wednesday). We’re not anticipating a problem. He’s got one A-minus so far. He actually really turned it around this spring. We’re really pleased. He kind of gets it now. He was just undermanned coming into this thing, not knowing what to study, how to study. He reallly grabbed a hold of this thing this spring. He felt he let us down.”

– On the health of center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who struggled with back problems last season: ”Markhuri’s weight is down. He’s felt really good, although we’re not playing right now. We’re trying to stabilize the back. We’ve got to strengthen his core, get his weight down, get him in shape. He’s got a ways to go (to an ideal weight).  He’s always going to have a ways to go.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • Esquire Joe

    Wow, that last comment really caught me. Jeff, did you intentionally put that at the end, or do you think Montgomery just meant it as a throw-away line?

    “He’s always going to have a ways to go” sounds like he doesn’t believe that Sanders-Frison is ever going to reach his true potential. If you think a guy is just a big kid and will be successful even if his weight would be excessive on another player (a la Charles Barkley, to whom, I believe, Monty has compared Markhuri in the past), wouldn’t you say something like “he’s done a lot of work, and I think he’s at the ideal weight now” (or he’s on track to reach his ideal weight, or whatever).

    With that last comment, Monty sounded like he doesn’t believe that Markhuri will ever be the player he could be because of his weight, and therefore a bit of a disappointment. Is that reading too much into a throw-away line?

  • SteveNtexas
  • robert

    Joe, I just think Monty meant that MSF will always battle weight a bit. Nothing more than that. It happens with players in many different sports.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Esquire Joe,
    Didn’t intend that last part of Montgomery’s quote to be misinterpreted — Robert has it right: Monty simply meant Markhuri faces an ongoing battle with his weight. It was no slam on his ability or potential.