By Jeff Faraudo
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at 10:34 am in Basketball.
Reserve guards Emerson Murray and Alex Rossi — part of the five-man 2010 recruiting class that featured Allen Crabbe — are leaving the Bears’ program.
Murray, who averaged 1.4 points in 57 games over two seasons, will transfer to Seattle U, according to assistant coach Jay John.
Rossi, plagued by a bothersome lower-abdominal injury most of his two seasons, has returned home to the Chicago area to help with family issues, John said. Rossi redshirted in 2010-11 and played in just three games this past season.
Neither player ever started a game for the Bears.
The departures leave Cal with two vacant scholarships, although rising senior center Robert Thurman, originally a walk-on, could wind up with one of them.
The Bears’ backcourt depth actually should be better a year from now, even with the exit of Murray and Rossi and the graduation of senior Pac-12 Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez.
Three newcomers — Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow, and high school signees Tyrone Wallace and Kahlil Johnson — will add to the choices on the perimeter.
The Bears’ likely starting lineup next season: PG Justin Cobbs, SG Allen Crabbe, SG Ricky Kreklow, PF David Kravish, PF/C Richard Solomon.
Off the bench: PF Brandon Smith, C Robert Thurman, F Bak Bak, F Christian Behrens and the freshmen — Wallace, Johnson and PF Kaileb Rodriguez. Also back is walk-on SG Jeff Powers.
Kreklow, who practiced all season with the team, already has the confidence of the coaching staff. Wallace, the most highly rated of the three freshmen, can play either PG or SG, but may not be needed immediately at the point, with Cobbs and Smith available.
Johnson, signed just last week out of Price HS in Los Angeles, is a 3-4 combo player with face-the-basket skills.
Murray, who came to Cal from Vancouver, B.C., never developed the raw potential the coaches saw in him. He shot 13 for 47 (27.7 percent) from the 3-point arc and did not handle the ball well enough to play point.
Rossi never could get healthy enough to find his way onto the court. Hernia and groin issues shelved him all of his freshman season, and he played just 16 minutes this past season. He left the team late this season to be with his family.
Regarded as an excellent catch-and-shoot perimeter threat, Rossi made one 3-point basket for the Bears.
Murray and Rossi were part of the recruiting class that arrived with great fanfare in the fall of 2010. G Gary Franklin Jr., transferred to Baylor midway through the 2010-11 season. Solomon was academically ineligible for the second semester this past season after earning a spot in the starting lineup, although he is expected to be OK moving forward.
Crabbe has delivered as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2010-11 and an all-Pac-12 selection this past season.