Women’s basketball: Gray, Boyd await WNBA draft

Cal’s Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd are projected as possible top-10 picks in Thursday’s WNBA draft.

Click here to read staff writer Elliott Almond’s story.


Basketball: `I haven’t been this happy for a long time’ — Ivan Rabb, after announcing he will attend Cal

Ivan Rabb walked through the back door of the Old Yeller Café N Market, where his mother works, and could barely digest the scene in front of him. More than 100 people — twice what the fire marshal would allow — crammed the room, waiting for one of the nation’s elite high school basketball players to announce his college decision.

“I’m going to the University of Cal Berkeley,” Rabb said, triggering a wave of cheers.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward from Bishop O’Dowd High, actually made the announcement four minutes before his scheduled 7 p.m. news conference Monday.

“I lost track of time. I didn’t prepare anything because I wanted to speak from the heart,” he said. The reception included a contingent of Cal students, hoping they’d have reason to celebrate. “I didn’t realize there would be that many actual students from Cal here. It was crazy.

“I haven’t been this happy for a long time, to be honest.”

The second-happiest person in the Bay Area quite likely is second-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin, who scored a major recruiting coup by beating Arizona for the consensus top-10 national prospect. Rabb also had been courted by the likes of Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, and said Kentucky continued to call his mother daily.

Rabb’s commitment cannot become official until the spring signing period begins Wednesday.

Rabb said Martin called him for the first time within two or three days of getting the Cal job at this time last year and impressed him with honesty and determination.

“Everything he said sounded so sincere. I’m a person who gets vibes from people,” Rabb said. “Coach Martin brought so much energy, so much hunger to the campus.”

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Basketball: Ivan Rabb picks Cal

The Cal basketball program hit the recruiting jackpot Monday night when Bishop O’Dowd High forward Ivan Rabb, a consensus top-10 national prospect, announced he will play next season for the Golden Bears.

“I’m going to the University of Cal Berkeley,” he told an overflow crowd of media and fans at the Old Yeller Café N Market, where his mother works, across the street from O’Dowd.

“I felt the most at home there,” he said. “It felt like family.”

Rabb also had been courted by the likes of Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina.

It’s a huge recruiting coup for second-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin, who had gone hard but missed earlier on two other five-star recruits. In Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward, he has a player who should elevate the Bears to contender status in the Pac-12 next season and spark interest in the program.

“I got to know him off the court as well. That was very important,” Rabb said of Martin, who has been on the job barely a year.

Scout.com recruiting analyst Josh Gershon recently said Rabb would be a significant signee for Martin and the Bears.

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Basketball: Cal’s most impactful homegrown players

While Cal fans eagerly await Monday night’s announcement from five-star basketball recruit Ivan Rabb about whether he will play his college basketball in Berkeley or at Arizona, here is a look back at the best homegrown players to play for the Golden Bears:

* Andy Wolfe, Berkeley: Cal’s first 1,000-point scorer, Wolfe earned All-America honors as a senior in 1948.

* Bob McKeen, Piedmont: An All-American center as a senior in 1955, McKeen retired as Cal’s career leader in points and rebounds. Still owns the record in the latter, 60 years later.

* Charlie Johnson, Redwood City: A three-time team captain and all-conference guard in 1969, Johnson went on to contribute to the Warriors’ 1975 NBA championship team.

* Phil Chenier, Berkeley: An all-Pac-8 selection as a junior in 1971, when he averaged 18.3 points in conference play, Chenier later enjoyed a productive nine-year career.

* Gene Ransom, Berkeley: At 5-foot-8, Ransom averaged 14.8 points over three seasons and played 63½ minutes in a five-overtime win over Oregon in 1977.

* Lamond Murray, Kennedy: Scored 28 points as a sophomore in Cal’s upset of Duke in the 1993 NCAA tournament, then averaged 24.3 points as a junior before leaving for the NBA as Cal’s career scoring leader.

* Jason Kidd, Oakland: The greatest player in Cal history, Kidd led the Bears to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament as a freshman in 1993 and earned consensus All-America at point guard the following season.

* Leon Powe, Oakland: A two-time all-Pac-10 power forward, Powe posted 20 rebounds and 41 points on consecutive nights in the 2006 Pac-10 tournament.


Basketball: Ivan Rabb to name college Monday night

Bishop O’Dowd High five-star forward Ivan Rabb will announce his college choice Monday night at 7 p.m., according to his coach.

O’Dowd coach Lou Richie said the 6-foot-10 senior has not told him what his decision will be.

Rabb announced a couple weeks ago that he had trimmed his list of suitors to Cal and Arizona.

Rated a consensus top-10 prospect, Rabb would be Cal’s highest-rated recruit in years and the centerpiece in second-year coach Cuonzo Martin’s second recruiting class. Already, the Bears have commitments from three-star wing players Davon Dillard and Tyson Jolly.

Caleb Swanigan, a five-star center from Fort Wayne, Indiana, was expected to pick Cal but surprised everyone Friday by announcing he will sign with Michigan State.

The official spring signing period begins Wednesday.

Rabb led O’Dowd to the California state open-division title and has played in two prestigious postseason all-star games, the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Hoop Summit. He is scheduled to participate Friday in the Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Rabb’s resume includes winning gold medals the past two summers with USA national age-group teams. He helped win the FIBA Americas U16 Championships in 2013 and the FIBA U17 World Championships in 2014.


Track and field: Bears split in Big Meet

Cal’s men routed Stanford 101-62 in the 121st Big Meet on the Cardinal’s Cobb Track and Angell Field on Saturday. The Bears, who have won the past three Big Meets, own an all-time series edge of 69-50-2.

Stanford won the women’s meet 111-40, boosting its Big Meet series edge to 24-12.

Cal junior Thomas Joyce set school and Big Meet records in the 1,500 meters at 3 minutes, 39.43 seconds. He also won the 3,000 in a personal-best time of 8:00.50.

Cal sophomore Khalfani Muhammad, a running back on the football team, was second in both the 100 meters (10.62) and 200 (21.53), and anchored the 4×100 relay to victory in 41.45.


Basketball: Bears get commit from 3-star Tyson Jolly

Tyson Jolly, a three-star shooting guard from the Oklahoma City area, gave Cal an oral commitment Friday night after an official campus visit.

“I really already had my mind set. Nobody knew, but I had my mind set,” Jolly said in a phone interview Saturday morning. “Getting there and seeing everybody . . . everybody looked happy. Playing with the team, they were talking up the coaches.

“It just felt like a home environment.”

Jolly picked Cal over Gonzaga and Minnesota, both of whom also had made scholarship offers.

Jolly said Cal fans should be optimistic that five-star power forward Ivan Rabb of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High will choose the Bears.

“I think we are going to get him,” Jolly said.

A 6-foot-4 senior at Putnam City West in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany, Jolly averaged 20 points and nine rebounds this season, leading his team to a 24-3 record and into the state semifinals.

Jolly is rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals.

Jolly’s road to Berkeley was at times a frightening one. He overcame a health ordeal a year ago when pulmonary embolism blood clots in his legs and lungs threatened more than his basketball career.

“Doctors told me I could have been dead seven times,” Jolly said.

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Recruiting: A win for football, a big loss for hoops

The news on two recruiting fronts came back-to-back Friday:

– Five-star basketball center Caleb Swanigan of Fort Wayne, Indiana, announced a day ahead of his own schedule that he will attend Michigan State. The news apparently was a surprise to coach Tom Izzo’s staff, as it likely was to Cal coach Cuonzo Martin.

Swanigan originally said he would announce Saturday at the Hoop Summit all-star game in Portland. Swanigan and Bishop O’Dowd High’s Ivan Rabb were thought to be plotting a joint commitment somewhere – possibly to Cal.

Cal has been considered the favorite for Rabb, a 6-foot-11 five-star power forward. But he didn’t announce two weeks ago after winning the state title — at Haas Pavilion, no less — and still hasn’t shared his decision.

It’s just speculation, but you have to wonder if Rabb delayed his announcement because he was trying to close the deal with Swanigan.

I am hearing Rabb is unlikely to announce Saturday. Perhaps he is planning something when he returns to the Bay Area.

– The news was better for football, where the Bears nabbed their second quarterback in the class of 2016. Max Gilliam, a 6-3, 192-pounder from Thousand Oaks High, was on campus Friday for an unofficial visit. Cal offered and he accepted, then tweeted his decision.

Gilliam is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Gilliam passed for 2,920 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last fall and rushed for 625 yards and 12 TDs.

He joins Armani Rogers, a 6-5 dual-threat quarterback from Hamilton High in Los Angeles in the Bears’ 2016 class. Cal also got a commitment earlier this week from offensive lineman Daniel Juarez, a 6-5, 292-pounder from Corona-Centennial.