Bak Bak is back from Kenya, having resolved passport issues, but the junior forward will not join the team when it leaves this weekend for its trip to Northern Europe.
Coach Mike Montgomery said Tuesday that Bak returned to campus on Monday after a lengthy stay at home, where getting his passport renewed was not as easy as everyone anticipated.
“It’s great to get him back in the United States,” Montgomery said. “We were concerned. We weren’t sure he was going to be back at all with all the problems he was having with his passport ”
Because Bak was overseas for much of the summer, he missed the first eight of the 10 practices Cal is allowed prior to its trek to Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Montgomery suggested that Bak’s missed practices are only part of the reason he will remain home frm the trip. He also needs to earn some money, get settled back in Berkeley and spend some time in the weight room, Monty said. And then there’s the passport situation.
“Who knows if we still have passport issues . . . we don’t want to risk that,” Montgomery said.
In other words, Bak isn’t likely to have difficulty traveling to Eugene, Ore., but Copenhagen or Oslo could be a different story.
Every other eligible player on the team will be on the plane Saturday when the Bears lift off. (That excludes recent Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow, who is not eligible under NCAA transfer rules).
Sophomore guard Allen Crabbe, who broke his nose for the second time in six months during tryouts for the USA U19 national team, underwent surgery to repair two breaks but is cleared to do anything. He will wear a protective mask on the Euro trip, but Montgomery said there is no plan for him to do so this season.
It was originally feared Crabbe also suffered a concussion at the USA camp, but Montgomery said that was never determined to be the case.
Sophomore guard Emerson Murray, who had spring surgery to remove a plate from his foot, and redshirt freshman guard Alex Rossi, who sat out all of last season with a lower abdominal injury, both are improving.
“Emerson and Alex are in the process of getting back to 100 percent,” Montgomery said. “They’re stll not there yet. They have good days and bad days. We went six days last week. That was tough on them. They’ve made progress but they’re not anywhere close to 100 percent.”
Still, both will “absolutely” make the trip and Montgomery expects them to play some.