Basketball: Colorado scouting report

A year ago, Harper Kamp averaged 14.2 points per game and scored 33 points in the Bears’ triple-overtime loss to Arizona.

Entering Thursday night’s home game against Colorado, Kamp is averaging 8.8 points. He has totaled 33 points the past four games.

The difference is primarily a role change, a position change this season, coach Mike Montgomery explained. As a junior, Kamp played facing the basket and had the luxury of 6-foot-7, 265-pound Markhuri Sanders-Frison as a low-post, back-to-the-basket complement. Now Kamp is needed to play MSF’s old spot.

Is he happy in the different role?

“Probably not,” Montgomery said, “but he’s such a team guy, such a quality guy. Everybody wants to be the leading scorer.”

The team’s No. 2 scorer a year ago, Kamp is the fourth option this season, with point guard Justin Cobbs providing more of an offensive threat than Brandon Smith did a year ago.

“But,” Montgomery stressed, “his value to our team can’t be measured in anything statistically.”

So what does he give the team?

“Leadership — he takes two charges late (at Oregon),” Montgomery said. “Defensively, I can count him him . . . I don’t really have to explain anything to Harper in terms of, `OK, you’ve got this guy and he does this,’ and he nods his head and that’s pretty much that.

“That’s invaluable to have guys who can do that. To have the kind of the guy who understands what’s going on and what needs to be done is really, really important.”

No one appreciates Kamp’s value more than the guy currently playing his old spot — freshman David Kravish.

“Harper is probably the smartest player I’ve ever played with. He’s always there to pick up one of my mistakes,” Kravish said. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten beat and Harper will come up and there will be a charge. Or Harper will come over and the guy will have to pass it out. Little things like that.

“He’s just always doing the right thing, always helping out the rest of the team. He just keeps it flowing. Coach says he’s like the brains of the operation. It’s really valuable having him on the court.”

Scoring aside, Montgomery said the Bears need Kamp to do other things.

“He was upset after the Oregon game, feeling like he didn’t play very well,” Montgomery said, referring to Kamp’s four-point, zero-rebound performance on Sunday. “It’s probably our responsibility to get him more involved (in the offense). At the same time, rebounding-wise, that’s something he can do on his own. He knows that.”

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Montgomery said he’s not surprised by the success Colorado has had, despite losing four starters and most of its scoring from last year’s team. “No reason to be surprised. Tad’s done a very nice job. He’s got a veteran job. He’s got three senior starters that have been around,” Montgomery said. “They’re very solid. They probably have spread their scoring out a little bit more. They’re running the same stuff basically, they’re tough, they know what they’re trying to do, they’ve got point guard leadership.”  Defensively, the Buffaloes play primarily man-to-man. “Good help-side defense. and they’re pretty physical,” Montgomery said. “Again, they’re veteran so they know what they’re doing.”

Senior Carlon Brown,who began his career at Utah, is the second-leading scorer in conference play at 18.7 points per game. Sophomore Andre Roberson has nine double-doubles, 14 for his career. And guard Spencer Dinwiddie is the third-highest scoring freshman in the Pac-12 at 11.1 ppg and is shooting 48.8 percent from 3-point range.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 9-8. Colorado has won the past three meetings, including a 89-72 last season in the second round of the NIT in Boulder. Cal returns every player who scored in that game; Colorado lost 66 of 89 points to graduation or departure to the NBA.

MISCELLANY: Allen Crabbe ranks 11th in the NCAA in 3-point accuracy at 47.6 percent . . . Cal is sixth nationally from beyond the arc at 42.8 percent . . . Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in 3-point FG defense at 32.5 percent . . . Colorado freshman guard Askia Booker attended Price HS in Los Angeles, the same school that produced Crabbe and Richard Solomon . . . Colorado’s Brown is the Pac-12’s active career scoring leader with 1,066 points. Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez is third with 1,041 points, and now 36th on Cal’s career list.

TIPOFF: 8 p.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 910-AM.

Cal (13-4, 3-1 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SF Allen Crabbe 6-6 So. 16.5 6.1
PF Harper Kamp 6-8 Sr. 8.8 4.9
PF David Kravish 6-9 Fr. 5.9 5.8
SG Jorge Gutierrez 6-3 Sr. 14.9 5.1
PG Justin Cobbs 6-2 So. 12.9 4.7*
Key reserves
G Brandon Smith 5-11 Jr. 4.1 3.2*
F Richard Solomon 6-10 So. 6.4 6.6
C Robert Thurman 6-10 Jr. 2.3 1.2


Colorado (11-4, 3-0 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
PF Austin Dufault 6-9 Sr. 10.9 4.7
SF Andre Roberson 6-7 So. 11.3 11.7
SG Spencer Dinwiddie 6-5 Fr. 11.1 3.7
SG Carlon Brown 6-5 Sr. 14.1 3.3
PG Nate Tomlinson 6-3 Sr. 6.3 3.4*
Key reserves
G Askia Booker 6-1 Fr. 8.8 3.0
C Shane Harris-Tunks 6-11 So. 2.9 2.6
G Sabatino Chen 6-4 Jr. 2.5 1.2


Jeff Faraudo

  • ken1w

    If Thurman can become even half as effective as Sanders-Frison was last year, Cal could have a “going big” look where Kamp has more opportunities to score.

    When he’s done playing, Harper is going to be a GREAT coach…

  • rollonubears

    Coach Kamp! That’s a great idea. If he doesn’t make it to the next level, or decide to go to Europe or whatever, they should sign him up now, and groom him to take over the reigns. I’m not sure if that’s the idea with Monty’s son, though, anyhow, I love the kid’s heart and intensity, and it would be great if he kept that in-house.

  • jim crow

    Who does not love Kamp and appreciate his intelligent, selfless, and skilled efforts to make any Cal team he is part of as good as he can?

    The fact remains that projecting players, however smart, as coaches is rash and risky. Usually it is doomed to failure.

    When–shudder!–the day comes to replace a retiring Monty, Cal should intelligently scour the nation for coaches who have shown outstanding success, perhaps at a smaller school, and hire accordingly. Loyalty to former players with no track record as successful head coaches should not be part of the calculus that leads to the hiring of a new coach.

  • Esquire Joe

    I think it’s a pretty safe bet that, when Mike Montgomery leaves Cal, the head coach of this team will still be named Montgomery. I think it’s commonly understood that one of the reasons Monty took the job was because he wanted to groom John as a head coach. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t part of his agreement with Cal that they’d hire John as his replacement, or at least give him as much of an advantage in the hiring process as they’re allowed, given the NCAA and university rules.

    But I do love the idea of Harper staying in the family and coming back soon to learn coaching in the Montgomery system. Unfortunately, though, as Jim implies above, it’s no fun being a fan of a team giving someone their first head coaching job. That’s a learning process I wouldn’t want to put up with. Better that a guy like Harper spends a few years as a Montgomery assistant and then goes off to Azusa Pacific or Sonoma State for a while to endure his growing pains.

    How about we calendar the 2020-21 season for Harper’s triumphant return to the Golden Bears’ sidelines?

  • Sean

    Dream coaching staff (post Monty): Dennis Gates as head coach, Kamp as assistant coach.

  • David

    Don’t forget Kidd.

  • gobears49

    Two points:

    1. I think there is a mistake in the positions shown above. I believe Jorge plays point guard and Justin is the shooting guard. Jeff should check.

    2. The article says that Kamp is playing back to the basket more this year. I have only seen him play in a couple of games this year, so I could be wrong, but I have NEVER SEEN HIM PLAY WITH HIS BACK TO THE BASKET THIS YEAR, as he did last year. He is fabulous at doing so, so I hope to see more of that type of play for the remainder of the season.

    Kamp is the smartest basketball player I have seen at Cal, and I’ve watched Cal play for four decades. Too bad he isn’t about two inches taller or he could play in the NBA.

  • rollonubears

    I’m gonna go with Ryan Anderson as smartest, or at least a tie there. That guy never made a mistake, and never had a down year or even an off night, it seemed. The guy did everything and quietly led by example.

  • ken1w

    Who said anything about Kamp becoming a coach at Cal? IF coaching is what he wants to do after he’s done playing basketball, he should “go through the ranks” as a coach. Learn to be a coach where the spotlight is not so bright.

    As for John Montgomery, I doubt that there is an existing agreement for him to take over after Mike Montgomery retires. I think he is there now to learn from his father, and then he will want to gain more experience elsewhere, working with other people.

  • milo

    Kamp will coach a D1 team in the future…if he decides that’s his path.