Basketball: Montgomery says recruiting class and 2011-12 roster may be complete

The Bears will keep looking, but Mike Montgomery said Tuesday their roster for next season may be set.

Cal got verbal commitments in the past week from two players — guard De’End Parker and forward Christian Behrens — to go with forward David Kravish, signed in November.

The Bears have one scholarship remaining, but may not use it.

“Not unless we could find somebody who would really make a difference,” Montgomery said.

Asked if the team’s greatest area of need is a big man with some bulk, some muscle, some girth (in other words, a replacement for senior Markhuri Sanders-Frison), Montgomery said, “Exactly. But everybody is begging for bigs out there and there just (aren’t) very many.

“We’re not just going to take somebody to take somebody. We want to give our young guys a chance to develop. But if there were somebody who could really, really make a difference in there (at center), we would probably go ahead and do that.”

(As you probably know, coaches are not allowed to talk specifically about recruits until they have signed their letter-of-intent).

The Bears actually will add five newcomers to their roster next season, including freshman shooting guard Alex Rossi, who is red-shirting after undergoing hernia surgery, and point guard Justin Cobbs, a sophomore transfer from the University of Minnesota, who also sat out this season.

Sanders-Frison is the club’s only departing player.

So a year after the club fought depth issues, Cal ought to have more flexibility in its roster in 2011-12.

Brandon Smith returns as the point, but will get competition from Cobbs. Gutierrez obviously also can play there, and the versatile Parker plays point guard at City College of San Francisco.

Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe are set at the two wing spots, with Emerson Murray, Parker and Rossi in reserve. Behrens, at 6-8, said the coaching staff indicated they want him playing small forward, although he could also play the 4 if Cal went smaller. Plus there are walk-ons Jeff Powers and Nigel Carter.

That’s 10 bodies on on the perimeter — almost too many.

Harper Kamp is the lone returning starter up front, with Richard Solomon expected to make a serious bid for the other spot. Bak Bak will be a junior and Kravish arrives. There’s also walk-on Robert Thurman, who has had some encouraging moments in practice recently, according to Montgomery.

There’s no bruiser to replace MSF, but five options for two positions.

But enough about next year . . .

Jeff Faraudo