Basketball: No, Larry Legend isn’t coming, either

In the wake of Kyle Wiltjer’s surprise commitment to Kentucky on Saturday, it’s worth keeping in mind Rick Pitino’s sentiment when he was hired as Boston Celtics coach and told fans, “Larry Bird’s not walking through that door.”

Wiltjer, the talented and versatile 6-foot-9 power forward from Portland, Ore., would have been a terrific pickup for the Bears. But he made his decision, and there’s no reason to expect him to ever walk through the front doors at Haas Pavilion.

With the possible exception of John Calipari, who seems to land every potential one-and-done talent in the country, most coaches experience more recruiting failures than successes. It’s the nature of the math involved: There are lots of programs pulling at every good recruit, and you don’t win ’em all.

So where to the Bears go from here in their search for a good big man?

Seems they’re after one David Kravish, a wiry 6-9 forward with inside-out skills and the ability to pass and handle the ball.

Sounds a little bit like Wiltjer, right?

Well, probably not. Wiltjer is a consensus top-25 national recruit, better still in the minds of some. Kravish, who plays at Lee’s Summit North HS, a suburb of Kansas City, does not appear on anyone’s top-150 national list.

Still, his skill set may be similar, and the good news for Cal is Kravish has scheduled a campus visit for Sept. 24.

“Cal is definitely in the top three — Iowa, Colorado and Cal,” his coach, Mike Hilbert, told me today. “All three offer basketball at the highest level. As a pre-med major — biology — Cal and Iowa would be dynamite for him academically.”

Hilbert confirmed that Kravish is visiting Iowa this weekend and is scheduled to check out Colorado on Oct. 2. He plans to take an unofficial trip to Wichita State, which has recruited him longer than any school, and probably has ruled out Creighton after visiting last weekend.

Asked to describe Kravish, Hilbert said, “David is a post player. At the high school level he’s pretty much a typical interior back-to-the basket post kid. But at the college level, he can be more of an out on the floor small foward. He has tremendous offensive skills. He can put the ball on the floor and attack you off the dribble, he’s a great passer, and from 20 feet in can knock down the jump shot.”

Kravish’s high school numbers hardly get your attention: About 10 ppg and 8 rpg for a 20-8 team that reached the quarterfinals of the Missouri Class 5 (large school) state tournament.

“He’s got a lot of bounce and he’s really active as far as blocking shots,” Hilbert said. “He’s kind of a European style post, a lot of face up skills. He’s an extremely intelligent basketball player. I’m just really excited about him, not only for his senior year, but the four years after high school.”

Hilbert said Kravish was 6-3 as a freshman and has grown a couple inches each year without losing quickness.

“He’s a great kid, a tremendous worker. He’s done everything he can to be in the weight room,” Hilbert said. “He’s kind of under the radar as far as national recruiting has gone. As a sophomore he was on our JV team. Really just in the last 18 months he’s really exploded with summer basketball and recruitment.

“I know coach Montgomery likes him for those offensive skills.”

Hilbert said Kravish has an older sister living in San Francisco and that he hopes to make his decision in time to finalize things during the November signing period.

Jeff Faraudo

  • rollonubears

    6-9 isn’t going to cut it as a “big man.” and we all know that really means 6-7, anyway. we need a guy that’s at least 6-11, who wants to stick around and get an education. that shouldn’t be too hard to find.

  • Juancho

    You do a really good job of writing posts that show you understand the psyche of Cal alumni Jeff. Thanks for these posts.

    After reading the post on Powe earlier I started to think back on the big 4 recruiting class. It’d be fun if you could do an update that shows what Powe, Ubaka, Kately and McGuire are doing these days.

  • Bears

    Very interested to see who Cal lands this fall. How many guys are the Bears going to sign this year?
    You would think the group Cal brought in that are on campus now preparing for their first season would help land a couple elite players to join them and help grow the program? Coach needs to identify how ever many players he’s going to bring in and land em!
    Get er done coach! Small class needs to fill needs and be elite.

  • SteveNtexas

    Kately seemed to have a lackluster record with Morgan State – 11 ppg 1.9 assts and .16 from the 3. Nothing since then comes up on him.

    McGuire played 10 games for Sac last year and is now a Charlotte Bobcat, probably just hanging on to the NBA – may be gone soon

    Ayinde Ubaka is playing in Australia

    Leon Powe is with the Cavs – maybe he will get more playing time next season.

  • bilbo

    @rollonubears: Wiltjer is 6’9″ like Kravish is listed, so you did not want him either? The fact of the matter is there are very few legit 6′ 11″+ recruits. A versatile big man with Monty coaching suits me or at least I’ll have to be satisfied. Doesn’t mean Wiltjer wouldn’t have been a great pickup, but you can only play the cards you are dealt. Or is it you dance with the one you brung to the dance?

  • Juancho

    Thanks SteveN!


  • Dead wrong

    @Rollonubears Yeah, bigs that are 6-11 with talent grow on trees. (sarcasm)

  • Bob

    Any of you know anything about Juan Anderson from Castro Valley? He has no rating on Scout, but is no. 69 in the nation on Rivals! Interested in Cal. Another 6’5″ swingman, though. We do need a true big.

  • uh oh.

    Last summer there were reports of Max doing oh so well, albeit against lesser competition. This year? Haven’t heard a lick.

  • uh oh.

    No Larry Legend?
    Then I’m not renewing my season tickets.

  • rollonubears

    maybe he’s added 50 lbs of muscle and they’re hiding him as our secret weapon. that would be nice. with max and kamp playing at a high level net year, we could really make some noise. it looked like he got better as the year progressed, so maybe he’s doing well again. some report said he’s on the china world team but did not play against greece.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Max Zhang is on the Chinese national team, but has not played in any of the first four games. Even so, a good experience for big Max, who made noticeable improvement last season, and figures to be better still this year.

  • uh oh.

    Oh, Thanks.