I talked today with Cal’s newest player, sophomore guard Ricky Kreklow, and he’s excited about attending school and playing basketball in Berkeley.
After visiting Gonzaga in June and Cal a couple weeks ago, the Missouri transfer said, “I really saw some promising things. The program is really moving in the right direction and is going to take some big steps. I felt like it would be great to be a part of that.”
Cal’s coaching staff does not perceive Kreklow as an “insurance policy” in the event Allen Crabbe turns pro after his sophomore season or Alex Rossi cannot get healthy. Instead, the coaches expect the 6-foot-6 guard to make a strong run at Jorge Gutierrez’s spot a year from now.
“Obviously, those are pretty big shoes to fill. He’s an all-conference player,” Kreklow said. “But it’s shaping up to be a pretty good backcourt. The team’s going to be pretty good.”
Kreklow must sit out the 2011-12 season, as per NCAA transfer rules, but he anticipates blending in well with the current team. He met most of his future teammates on his visit earlier this month and confirmed impressions about the coaching staff and campus area that he developed when he visited both Stanford and Cal the summer before his senior year at Rock Bridge High in Columbia, Mo.
Asked about coach Mike Montgomery, Kreklow sounded like a young man who has done his homework. “He has a pretty impressive resume. He did well at Montana and also at Stanford (with) a Final Four, No. 1 in the nation for a while. He has a good history.
“Then kind of looking at what he has at Cal now. I feel like they’re going to be a very good team (in 2011-12). They already are, and they’re going to be even better moving forward. They have everything they need to be very good.”
Asked what he will bring to the equation as a player and Kreklow sounded like the son of a former player (his dad starred at Drake and spent one year with the Boston Celtics) and the son of a coach (his dad and mom share the job of coaching the Missouri women’s volleyballl team).
“I try to play smart, minimize mistakes as much as I can. I try to really be a team player,” Kreklow said. “For me, personally, it doesn’t really matter who gets points. It’s about winning games. If you’re in a position where you have to make a play, you make a play. It’s not something you have to force.
“Try to let the game come to you and it’ll treat you right.”
Kreklow, who has lived his whole life in Columbia, acknowledged, “California’s a lot different than Missouri. But Berkeley’s a neat city. I really liked the area. There’s a lot to do, I’m not going to get bored. Obviously, academics speak for themselves at Cal.
“The more I looked, the more I saw Cal — from athletics to academics to socially — was going to be a good fit. I have a lot of family in Columbia and a lot of friends going to Mizzou. In the long run, I needed a place that was going to be a good fit for me. It’s a change of pace.
“It’s time to find a new home.”