Basketball: Jaylen Brown says Bears ‘can win it all’

Jaylen Brown realizes not everyone understood his decision to play basketball at Cal, but he is happy after six weeks of summer school and has big plans for this season.

“I have very high expectations. I think we can win it all,” Brown said Thursday in his first interaction with Bay Area media. “We have a lot of work to do, but we have very good pieces.”

A 6-foot-7 small forward and consensus top-five national recruit from Marietta, Georgia, Brown could have attended any school in the country. By picking Cal, he raised eyebrows in the college basketball community and even among some of those close to him.

“Some were very supportive and happy, and others were very . . . I wouldn’t say non-supportive, but they weren’t the happiest with my decision,” Brown explained.

“It wasn’t as typical as how a highly recruited athlete usually goes to a much bigger basketball university. I had to make the decision for me and I felt like this was clearly my best choice.”

Brown, attending Cal’s summer bridge program for incoming freshmen and preparing for the Bears’ Aug. 13-24 exhibition trip to Australia, said he “fell in love with the campus” when he made an unofficial visit to Berkeley before making his decision after the season last spring.

Academics, weather and location all played a role in his decision to pick Cal, Brown said.

His relationship with Cal coach Cuonzo Martin began when he was a freshman and Martin was coaching at Tennessee, and fellow prep star Ivan Rabb’s decision to attend Cal also influenced his thinking.

Former Cal and NBA star Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who attended Wheeler High in Marietta two decades before Brown arrived on the same campus, shared his experience at Berkeley with Brown.

“He said to dive into being here, focus on the now. He said it will be some of the best times you’ll ever have,” Brown said. “He was a mentor of mine, but my decision was my own.”

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Basketball: Roman Davis signs with Bears

Small forward Roman Davis, who gave Cal an oral commitment late last week, has signed with the Bears and will enroll in summer bridge classes, coach Cuonzo Martin announced.

“I want to welcome Roman to the family,” Martin said. “His athleticism and toughness will allow him to do a lot of things in our program. Defensively, I think he has the capability to guard all five positions. He comes from one of the finest academic high schools in California. We are excited he chose to be a Golden Bear.”

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound Davis played at the Windward School in Los Angeles, where he averaged 9.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game as a senior this past year for the Wildcats. Davis helped Windward to a 22-11 overall record.

Davis record the game-winning bucket in the final seconds in back-to-back games for the Wildcats this past January. He posted seven blocks in a game during Windward’s Division 5AA playoff run in February.

Davis was selected to the 2015 Division 5AA All-California Interscholastic Federation Boys Basketball Team, as voted by the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.



Football: Bears add three recruits

So I take a little vacation, and Cal responds with a busy recruiting week.

The Bears got their third oral commitment of the week on Friday when Chris Yaghi, a defensive tackle from Foothill-Santa Ana, made his announcement on Twitter.

Rivals reports that Yaghi picked Cal over the likes of Oregon, Boise State and Utah, among others, in part because of the school’s strong engineer program. The 6-foot-3 1/2, 265-pounder is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.

Earlier, Cal got commitments from cornerback Camryn Bynum of Centennial-Corona and offensive lineman Francisco Perez of Baldwin Park.

Bynum, at 5-11, 160, is rated three stars by Rivals and Scout. His other offers included Boston College, San Diego State, Boise State and Washington State.

Perez, a 6-5, 301-pounder, is projected as a guard Rivals, which gives him three stars. Scout also rates Perez as a three-star prospect. Perez had offers from four other Pac-12 schools, including Arizona State and Oregon State.

Cal’s 2016 recruiting class now numbers 16 prospects. Scout and Rivals both rank the Bears’ class at No. 28 nationally, fifth-best in the Pac-12. Cal is




Football: Bears nab another wideout

The Bears got a commitment from their third wide receiver in a week on Friday, landing three-star Matt Laris of East Catholic High in Sammamish, Washington.

Laris, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder, also had offers from Air Force, Boise State and Wyoming, among others, according to Rivals.com, and had drawn interest from Stanford and Washington.

Scout, which also rates Laris as a three-star prospect, reports that he caught 72 passes for 1,394 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior last fall.

Cal now has 11 prospects from the Class of 2016 orally committed.


Football: Bears nab wideout from Hawaii

Cal added its third football commitment of the week, landing 6-foot-2 wide receiver Drew Kobayashi of Honolulu powerhouse St. Louis High, according to multiple recruiting websites.

Kobayashi, who also had offers from San Diego State, Washington and Washington State, is rated as a three-star prospect in the class of 2016 by Rivals and Scout.

He is the 10th player to commit to Cal, the third this week, joining cornerback Josh Drayden of Dallas and wide receiver Logan Gamble of Long Beach.


Football: Bears land WR, CB — both 3 stars

Greetings from Cleveland . . .

Cal has picked up a pair of 3-star prospects, according to both Rivals and Scout:

Josh Drayden, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback from Bishop Dunne High in Dallas comes on board after the Bears lost a pair of 4-star safeties in the past couple weeks. Drayden, who reportedly runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, also had offers from Boise State, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, among others.

Logan Gamble, a 6-5, 200-pound wide receiver/athlete from St. Anthony High in Long Beach. Gamble also had offers from Arizona, San Diego State, Virginia and Washington State.


Football: Bears’ DB recruiting takes 2 hits

Cal’s strong early recruiting efforts for the Class of 2016 have taken a couple substantial hits with recent decommitments from two four-star safety prospects.

First, local prospect Shurod Thompson of Liberty High in Brentwood withdrew his April commitment. Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, is rated by Rivals.com as the nation’s No. 7 safety prospect.

“It has been a great pleasure getting to know the entire Cal football staff, you have welcomed me into your family and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Thompson wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, I have decided to take a different path, I will always appreciate your staffing and the great memories I have made with you. I am officially de-commiting as a Cal bear.”

Then, three days ago (while I was in Cleveland, no less, covering the NBA Finals), safety Marquel Dismuke, a 6-2, 170-pounder from Calabasas High. Dismuke is ranked No. 19 among the nation’s elite safeties by Rivals.

Dismuke also said his goodbyes on Twitter: “Thank you to the Golden Bears family and Coaches on everything they done for me but at this point of time I want to reopen my recruitment.”


Basketball: Nick Kerr has coaching ambitions

Steve Kerr isn’t surprised oldest son Nick has designs on perhaps becoming a basketball coach someday.

Nick Kerr has transferred from the University of San Diego to Cal, where he will pursue a masters degree in public health, play one season as a walk-on with the basketball team and re-unite with younger sister Maddy, who plays volleyball for the Bears.

“They’re going to live together, which could be a complete disaster,” Kerr joked during the Warriors’ Tuesday morning shoot-around session prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Nick Kerr’s fascination with basketball began early, when dad was playing for the Chicago Bulls.

“He was a year old sitting in my wife’s lap in the old Chicago Stadium, just mesmerized by the game,” Steve Kerr said. “At halftime he would cry because he didn’t want the players to leave. He wanted the game to keep going.”

And still does. “The guy loves the game,” Kerr said of his son’s career plans. “We’ve been sitting on the couch together watching games for 20 years. We’ll see what happens.”