Basketball: Spring recruiting notes

Scout.com has rated the Golden Bears’ five-man 2010 recruiting class at No. 21 nationally. ESPN.com puts the Bears at No. 24.

Two weeks ago, Rivals.com placed Cal’s recruiting class at No. 21 in its rankings.

Here’s various reaction to Terrence Jones’ last-second switch from Washington to Kentucky:

— Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley questions Jones’ maturity and his understanding of the word “commitment.”

— Oregonian columnist John Canzano isn’t convinced the Jones recruiting saga is over.

— Jones tells the Oregonian he has no regrets about announcing at a press conference three weeks ago he would sign with Washington.

— UW coach Lorenzo Romar expresses his disappointment after losing a verbally committed top-10 national recruit for the second time this year.


Basketball: Jones picks Kentucky over UW

Three weeks after giving Wasington an oral commitment, prep All-America forward Terrence Jones of Jefferson HS in Portland is going with Kentucky.

Here’s the story from the Seattle Times which quotes from the Louisville Courier-Journal and Scout.com, saying Jones signed a non-binding financial aid package, which allows him to change his mind and switch schools without penalty. That would seem likely only of UK coach John Calipari suddenly bolted for the NBA.

Here’s a story from the Lexington Herald-Leader, with a recruiting expert saying Jones’ arrival only solidifies a class already rated No. 1 in the nation.


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.”


Basketball: Top-100 draft prospects

For what it’s worth, here’s where Bay Area seniors rank on NBAdraft.net’s list of the top 100 NBA draft propects (click on the names for the Web site’s evaluation & player stats):

— No. 77: Theo Robertson, Cal

— No. 87: Jerome Randle, Cal

— No. 91: Omar Samhan, Saint Mary’s

— No. 98: Landry Fields, Stanford

— No. 100: Patrick Christopher, Cal

Things could change, but sounds like five free agents. Pretty much as we expected.


Basketball: Is Terrence Jones ready to sign with the Huskies? His prep coach says yes

Terrence Jones’ coach at Jefferson HS in Portland told the Seattle Times he believes the All-America forward will sign today with UW.

“I’ve been talking with him the last couple of days — with him and his mom — and he told me he’ll get it done (Wednesday), and in my opinion, I think he’ll choose Washington,” Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said Tuesday night. “Kentucky is a great institution, but I just think at the end of the day Terrence will choose a situation where the guys that are coming back on the team are familiar with winning.

“And that’s the unknown factor with Kentucky. Yeah, they’ve got blue-chip players and everything, but it’s still an unknown factor that they’re going to pan out on the college level.”


Basketball: Minnesota transfer PG Cobbs signs

On the final day of the spring signing period, the Bears have added another point guard, landing Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs.

Listed as 6-foot-3 (but apparently somewhat shorter), the sophomore-to-be must sit out next season as per NCAA transfer rules. He becomes eligible for the 2011-12 season.

At Minnesota, Cobbs played in 34 of 35 games as a freshman this past season, averaging 2.1 ppg and 1.3 apg. He converted 25 of 29 free throws, but shot only 3-for-17 from the 3-point arc.  His best Big Ten game was a seven-point effort in a win over Purdue.

Cobbs was rated by Rivals.com as a three-star recruit out of Bishop Montgomery HS in Torrance, where he played alongside incoming Cal freshman Richard Solomon in 2008-09. Solomon transferred from Bishop Montgomery to Price HS for his senior season in 2009-10.

Cobbs, who considered Cal out of high school before picking Minnesota, becomes the sixth player signed by coach Mike Montgomery this year, along with five incoming freshmen. That leaves the Bears with one vacant scholarship, which they likely will hold onto for next year, when only center Markhuri Sanders-Frison is scheduled to depart as a senior after the 2010-11 campaign.

Cobbs also provides the Bears with more choices at point guard, at least a year from now. Junior-to-be Jorge Gutierrez can play the position, and Brandon Smith returns after a freshman season in which he saw limited action. Two incoming freshmen — Gary Franklin Jr. and Emerson Murray — also can play at the point.


Football, Basketball: Coaches Tour

The 2010 Cal Coaches Tour will be held Wednesday, June 9 at AT&T Park.

The event will be different than it has been in the past, when athletic director Sandy Barbour, football coach Jeff Tedford, men’s basketball coach Mike Montgomery and women’s basketball coach Joanne Boyle have traveled to different sites around California to meet with Cal fans. This year, it will be a one-time deal, as the athletic department will take advantage of the timing and showcase its temporary football home in 2011.

Some of the details are still being worked out, but there should be several more coaches on hand for the event. All Cal coaches have been encouraged to attend if they can make it.

Here’s a link with some more of the information.