Basketball: Montgomery feeling better every day

Cal held its local media day Thursday and while there weren’t any earth-shaking announcements, coach Mike Montgomery answered questions about his health status. He looked good, seemed very much on his game and was in a good mood.

“I should get better every day,” he said. “I conducted practice Monday, I was fine. On Tuesday (at the exhibition game), I got up (from the bench) and a couple coaches said, `Be careful.’ I didn’t even think about it.

“I’ve just got to make sure I get my rest. I probably won’t be getting up at 6, getting to the office at quarter-to-7. Probably do a little bit more work at home. I should get stronger as times goes on. I feel pretty good today.”

A TV reporter asked Monty if he’s confident he can handle the grind of back-to-back games on the road. Montgomery chuckled.

“I’m not in the NBA anymore, so we don’t have any of that stuff,” the one-time Warriors coach said. “You have a lot of time on the road. I’m pretty good at getting my rest. By then (the start of Pac-12 play), I’ll be fine, shouldn’t be a factor.”

Here are a few other highlights from Montgomery’s time on the podium:

— He said his two biggest concerns, other than the potential for injury, are backcourt depth and consistency from his young frontcourt players. He feels comfortable with Jorge Gutierrez, Brandon Smith and Justin Cobbs sharing the two guard spots, but wants to see more from Emerson Murray off the bench. Up front, he’s curious to see if Richard Solomon, Robert Thurman, Bak Bak and freshman David Kravish can provide game-in and game-out contributions.

— Montgomery said his preference would be to become proficient at both man-to-man and zone defense, and be able to utilize both. The Bears are not where he needs them to be in man defense on a regular basis.

— He confirmed that Bak, who spent well over a month last summer at home in Kenya sorting out passport issues, lost weight and strength during his absence. He rarely had the opportunity to work out and struggled to scrape together enough money to eat well. To be on the floor more, Monty said, Bak needs to be more aggressive.

— Solomon plans to wear goggles on the court after having his eye scratched during tryouts for the USA U19 national team last summer. Montgomery said he doesn’t think the eyewear will have any negative effect on Solomon’s play.

— Monty said the Bears will miss departed senior Markhuri Sanders-Frison. His bulk and physical presence inside was a given and was particularly beneficial to Harper Kamp, allowing him the freedom to play off MSF and move freely. The Bears don’t have a player who automatically replaces that.

— There remains no timetable for redshirt freshman Alex Rossi’s return to action. Rossi missed all of last season with a lower-abdominal injury and he continues to struggle with it. Monty said Rossi has the best doctors available and is working hard to get better. The coaching staff has told him his only concern should be to get healthy.

Jeff Faraudo