Basketball: Gary Franklin is transferring


Freshman guard Gary Franklin, part of a highly touted Cal freshman recruiting class, is transferring.

Franklin, who came to Berkeley from Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana, informed the coaching staff of his decision on Tuesday morning and coach Mike Montgomery made the announcement today, just as the team was leaving for Arizona.

Franklin was not part of the travel party.

“We wish Gary well. We’re disappointed, but we wish him well,” Montgomery said in a statement released by the athletic department.

Through 13 games this season, 11 of which that he started, Franklin was fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.2 ppg. He had converted 24 of his 82 three-point attempts. He was shooting just 29.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the FT line.

Franklin was coming off one of his best games of the season, a 15-point, four-assist effort in the Bears’ conference-opening loss at Stanford. Prior to that, he went through a six-game stretch where he made just 9 of 41 shots.

In fact, Franklin had attempted more field goals and more 3-pointers than any player on the Cal roster and was producing just 0.90 points per shot, a very inefficient number.

I haven’t had the chance to talk with Franklin yet, or anyone close to him, but it’s my guess his departure comes out of frustration not only with how he has played, but also because he views himself as a point guard and he has played only sporadically at that spot.

The defection leaves an already depth-challenged roster even thinner. Sophomore Brandon Smith had moved into the starting lineup in place of Franklin the past two games, and now walkon Nigel Carter (2.7 ppg, 10.5 minutes) figures to take on a bigger role.

Montgomery may also have to draft into action freshman Emerson Murray (0.5 ppg,6.6 minutes), who has potential but is very raw. Murray, from British Columbia, is shooting 1 for 11 and that basket came in the Nov. 16 opener against Cal State Northridge.

Freshman Alex Rossi, a sharpshooting wing, has yet to play this season because of a nagging groin injury. There has been no timetable for his return or any real expectation he could play this season.

The Bears (7-6, 0-1 Pac-10) play Thursday at Arizona (12-3, 1-1), one of the deepest teams in the Pac-10. The Wildcats have 10 players averaging double-digit minutes.

Franklin was rated the nation’s No. 78 overall prospect by Rivals.com a year ago. Scout.com had him as the No. 18 point guard and part of a five-man Cal class it ranked 21st nationally.

As a high school senior, playing alongside Keala King (Arizona State) and Tyler Lamb (UCLA), Franklin helped Mater Dei to a 32-2 record and the CIF state title. The Monarchs were 63-4 his final two seasons.

Jeff Faraudo

  • David

    I’m REALLY interested in finding out the story behind this one…

  • David

    Maybe they can recruit someone from the RSF to add some backcourt depth 😉

  • Picard

    This is shocking. What’s going on???

    Jeff, would love to hear your take on this.

  • BadBill

    Believe me, this is addition by subtraction….Another spoiled brat from Mater Dei…..

  • Kevin

    That’s too bad, I think Gary had a rough start but a ton of potential. I would have liked to see him play PG a bit more as well. Anyway, very disappointing news and a huge hit to our depth moving forward this season.

  • southseasbear

    Do we know where he is transferring or is that destination yet to be determined?

  • Esquire Joe

    Agree that this is a huge hit, especially to this year’s depth, but you have to wonder about a player who would make this kind of decision at this time. Either he’s just a young kid who realized (probably a while ago) that he made a mistake by coming to Cal, or he’s a selfish and irresponsible player who didn’t want to suffer through a tough learning process, a season or two of losing, and take personal responsibility for building this team back into a winner. Or maybe a little of both. Either way, him leaving is the right thing to do.

    I wonder if Monty has another Jorge or MSF waiting in the wings to take that scholarship.

  • milo

    Either the guy is a bit homesick and/or he didn’t think he would get ahead at Cal or fit into Monty’s system. Sounds to me he lacks maturity or character. Better if he’s gone. My guess, he’ll end up at $C or UNLV.

  • SteveNTexas

    I’m not impressed with Monty’s ability to recruit.

  • charlie

    Gary Franklin was overrated.

  • Rocko

    I guess winning the PAC-10 last year doesn’t mean much in recruiting. The best recruiter we had was Todd Bozeman! Maybe Monty would hire him back.

  • southseasbear

    I understand the timing: he will be required to sit out the entire 2011 year but will be eligible for his new team in 2012 in time for conference play. If I recall correctly, we were in similar situation a few years ago, waiting until January for him to be eligible. (Perhaps Boykin?)

  • Robert

    He and his father will be tough for any coach to deal with!!!!

    He is NOT going to be a point guard for any major school! It will have to be at Fullerton, Cal Poly, etc… The problem is that he and his father don’t see it that way.

  • supernovic

    I didn’t really like his game anyway. Jacked up some terrible shots and made pretty bad decisions. I hope Brandon Smith or Emerson Murray can take this chance to improve alot.

  • uh oh

    I could see on his face a couple games ago that he didn’t look right.
    After the game I heard he was ill, and figured that’s the reason for the subdued face. but now that appears to not be the case.

    I think he just didn’t get off to a good start on the court. Was jacking up a lot of misses and driving the lane (always to the right) which ended up in turnovers.

    Monty was coaching him to mellow out, limit his shots and game. I imagine he had a hard time with that. Then when Smith, clearly an inferior basketball athlete, took over his starting spot for the 2nd game, he couldn’t take it any longer. Goes to show, head wins out over athleticism.

    There’s got to be more to it than that, don’t ya think? He’s got to be mature enough to know that the basketball gig is a 4-5 year deal, and if he didn’t adjust to D1 right away, he’s got 3 more years? He would have been able to steady his shot and learned when and how to be more effective with his drives. He easily could have won his starting role back from Smith, and there are no recruits threatening his spot for next year. He couldn’t have thrown it all out the window just because of, what, 12 games? I say, talk to the professors and examine the rest of the transition to being a student-athlete.

    Good luck, Gary!

  • manus

    The guy quit everyone, including himself. Good riddance.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Maybe he flunked Fall semester and realizes he can’t hack Cal’s academics, I dropped out my first semester too, damn chem 1A. Anyway, I didn’t see dude play defense or really do much of anything except chuck it up from deep or drive the lane and turn it over/get rejected. Regardless, this is gonna be a long season. Are the Giants playing yet? hmmpph…

  • milo

    Blake St…I will stay, unless you’ve experience academic probation at Cal, you haven’t experience the full UCB fun ride. I too almost flunked out the first semester. It was humbling and scary. It wasn’t so much the course work but the adjustment in living and everything else piled on (psycho roommate anyone?).

    Even as scholarship athletes get some help, it can’t be an easy ride at Cal.

  • LR

    Some say Franklin has good “handles”, but I think his ball handling is awkward and he’s fairly slow. I don’t see him as a PG at all. Apparently, he and has dad have a mutual delusion about his game.

    One more for Frez No or CSU Bakersfield.

  • bottom line is gary is a great kid, ive seen him play a whole lot. the kid is at his best with the ball in his hands. no to just catch and shoot, its hard for him to get in groove that way. delusional father? his father coaches great kids and has sent many of them to great colleges so i think he knows a little something. all in all gary is humble and very caring but also has a chp on his shoulder so you will be eating your words when he does his thing. best of luck G. do you man and keep God first as usual.

  • BTF

    I totally agree with LR above. Franklin didn’t have good instincts whenever he was able to penetrate and was rarely able to even penetrate in the first place. He might have had some potential as a shooting guard but he didn’t want to play that position AND his shot selection was questionable. I think Emerson Murray is far quicker and a better ball handler and has got far more potential than Franklin (and Smith for that matter) and if he gets more playing time now may start to produce more consistently by the end of the year and the next few years.

  • Can you say, “inflated ego”? Actually, two words also came to mind at one point… Jelani Gardner. Another kid who was average at best who’s father was a pushy know-it-all living vicariously through their son. Big Gary probably thinks his shot at sucking off his son’s NBA riches was gonna be compromised if he stayed in Berkeley. I also believe that he must have struggled academically with the curious timing of the announcement.

    I think Monty is privately breathing a sigh of relief that he’ll be able to recoup that wasted scholarship sooner rather than later. And one interesting statement Monty made about him “not wanting to be in school for four years” kind of hints at some grade issues.