Basketball: Big recruiting weekend approaches — Bird, Lee and Gordon to visit Berkeley on Sept. 1

Sept. 1 is huge for Cal football, but a big day also for basketball.

While the Golden Bears make their football return to renovated Memorial Stadium that day, three elite local basketball recruits — Jabari Bird, Marcus Lee and Aaron Gordon — will make campus visits.

Bird, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Richmond-Salesian High plans his official campus visit that weekend — the first of four trips he will take to Pac-12 schools during the month of September.

Bird will be accompanied by two high-profile Bay Area buddies making unofficial (self-funded) visits — 6-9 center Lee of Antioch-Deer Valley High and 6-8 forward Gordon of San Jose-Archbishop Mitty High.

In a nutshell, coach Mike Montgomery and his staff will be hosting three of the nation’s top 33 prospects .

Bird and Lee have the Bears on their list of finalists, but Gordon’s decision to join them is a bit of a surprise. Cal remains very much a longshot to get him, but the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect is close enough to Bird to want to hear what the Bears have to say.

Basically, Bird may be trying to lure Gordon away from either Washington or Arizona to Berkeley while Gordon figures to try tempting Bird to pick the Huskies over the Bears.

The weekend in Berkeley is sure to include a stop at Memorial Stadium for what should be a frenzied atmosphere for the football opener vs. Nevada.

Bird, rated the nation’s No. 15 overall prospect by Scout.com, has said the Bears and Washington are his two favorites.

Bird gave little hint as to which school has the edge during a Saturday radio interview on Seattle’s KJR-AM. He confirmed Cal and UW are 1-2 for him, said he likes both coaches, enjoys the style each team utilizes and sees opportunity to play.

There are close connections at both schools for Bird. His father, Carl Bird, starred for the Bears in the mid-1970s, averaging 15.2 points per game as a senior in 1975-76. He described ex-Salesian star Desmond Simmons, now at UW, as “a big brother.”

If Cal has an edge it may be that Lee — one of Bird’s teammates on the Oakland Soldiers AAU summer team — also is considering the Bears. Lee, rated No. 33 overall by Rivals, reportedly has crossed UW off his list, but also has interest from the likes of Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and UCLA.

Bird told KJR if he could choose any to attend college with any prospects of his choice they would include Lee, Gordon and shooting guard Isaac Hamilton of St. John Bosco HS. Hamilton, rated as the nation’s No. 12 prospect, is considering Cal but iffy to show up the weekend of Sept. 1. He may be planning to sign next spring.

After visiting Cal, Bird has scheduled trips to Colorado (Sept. 8), Oregon (Sept. 22) and Washington (Sept. 28).


Jeff Faraudo

  • Juancho

    I think it’s my dear friend Steve, N, Texas that I disagreed with about this last time. But Gordon is not considering Cal. The only time I’ve ever seen anything about him and Cal, is that Bird believes that if Bird commits to Cal, there’s a chance Gordon commits to Cal.

    Similar to how the top local football recruits (Shaq Thompson, et al) were going to commit to Cal to play together, Bird is trying to get these other two compadres to commit with him if he so chooses.

    Don’t forget Bird’s dad went to Cal also. It may surprise you, but he is not the son of Larry Bird.

  • steveNTexas

    Well now you are disagreeing with your dear friend Jeff. At any rate I had no personal knowledge of where he was going- I was probably just going by a couple of recruiting sites.

    Lee is also fairly high on the list of Indiana University but IU has enough talent – Hope Cal gets him.

    We have to create an atmosphere to attract all the best Northern Cal kids and not let them get away -then we can become a national force.

  • Juancho

    Ive seen gordon play a few times in the san francisco proam league. If cal gets him well make the final 4.

  • Juancho

    This quote is from jabari bird via the seattle times blog. Talking about playing with Gordon. Im more worried gordon will be visiting to push washington on sept 1.

    “Yeah, we definitely mentioned it to each other all the time,” Bird said. “We hopefully plan on going to the same school on the college level, which is one of the reasons why Washington is one of my favorites.”

  • Juancho

    After eating dinner i disagree with myself. Why not dream and think that maybe these three all end up at Cal. Why the heck not. Great school great facilities. Gordon if you read this think to yourself how you and kline can bring all the spotlight to cal.

  • Crawford

    If John Calipari were the coach at Cal we’d land all three….

  • steveNTexas

    Well Crawford now you’ve pushed me to the other side. Calipari is sort of like a minor league coach. He likes the “one and done” kid and to Calipari education is of little value. I wouldn’t want that for us.

    There is a large middle ground however between the Kentucky model and Montgomery’s results the past few years.

    Crean at IU is big on education- he probably won’t be able to keep Zeller another year after this however.

  • steveNTexas

    Juancho -considering your diet you probably disagree with everyone after a meal.

    Que prefieres? Jalapeno,. Habanero o Cayennes?

    Anyway we do have the facilities, we do have a great campus, conference and media market.

    The reason the North Carolinas,Kansas’ Indianas, Dukes are better programs is because they attracted coaches that made basketball important. It may be a chicken and the egg argument Was Indiana naturally a basketball state or did Branch McCracken then Knight then Crean make it such?

  • Yoda

    Steve, you’re still full of it. Cal’s facilities for basketball are okay, not particularly good. Cal needs a practice facility, something most Pac-12 schools have or are building. But hey, any chance to blame the coach you don’t like and to tout Indiana, where there is nothing else at all to do. I get that.

  • Eric

    By the way, I think this is the most “buzz” for basketball recruiting I have seen in years. That counts for something, right?

  • SteveNTexas

    Yoda – weren’t you one of the posters saying Cal had a better program than IU a couple of years ago?

    I may have been wrong about the practice facilities if so I’m sorry but Cal has alot to attract players- that’s the major point.
    I mention IU because I like them also and there is a wealth of info on the team and its recruiting.
    Sorry you’re so angry… but you probably won’t get help for that here.

  • Juancho

    Steve jalapenos. Agree with eric.

  • Rey from Napa

    Why dont we convert the upstairs hoop floors in the RSF into practice only facilities?