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Football: Bears land 3-star athlete

Zion Echols, a three-star “athlete” prospect from Charter Oaks High in West Covina, had offers from seven Pac-12 schools and announced Saturday he will attend Cal.

A 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, Echols also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State in the Pac-12, along with Boise State, BYU, LSU and San Jose State.

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Football: Bears land another DB prospect

Cal got its third oral commitment from a defensive back Wednesday when cornerback Traveon Bell of St. John Bosco-Bellflower chose the Bears.

Bell announced his commitment on Twitter: “Well it’s official ! … I’m so happy and blessed to say I have committed to being a Cal Bear !! !!!”

Bell is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder chose Cal over Arizona State, Washington, Wisconsin and San Jose State, among others, according to Rivals.com.

He is Cal’s eighth 2016 commitment, joining safeties Marquel Dismuke and Shurod Thompson.

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Basketball: Caleb Swanigan picks Purdue

The long wait is over, presumably.

On the day before the spring signing period ends, five-star center Caleb Swanigan committed to Purdue, alma mater of his legal guardian and former Boilermaker football player Roosevelt Barnes.

Cal went hard after the 6-foot-9, 265-pounder from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who last month de-committed from Michigan State. Top-10 recruits and Cal signees Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown — Swanigan’s teammates on the postseason high school all-star circuit — tried to get him to Berkeley.

Instead, he stayed home and, in the process, likely kept peace in his family.

Commitments are not binding until a letter-of-intent is signed.

Here’s the story posted by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, who first reported the news Tuesday morning. Here’s more, from ESPN.com.

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Football: Bears get commit from huge O-lineman

Cal got an oral commitment Friday from offensive tackle Jake Curhan, a 6-foot-7, 315-pounder from Redwood High in Larkspur.

Rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Curhan has a 3.97 grade-point average, according to the recruiting website.

He chose Cal after also getting offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Washington State, among others.

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Basketball: Sporting News pegs Bears at No. 13

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, who knows his stuff, has projected the Bears as the nation’s No. 13 team entering next season.

Heady stuff for a program that finished in a three-way tie for eighth place in the Pac-12 last season and did not participate in the postseason.

DeCourcy notes that Cal has three double-figure scorers returning in the backcourt — Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird. “Elite recruit Jaylen Brown is better than all of them,” he writes. “McDonald’s All-American Ivan Rabb was one of the most coveted frontcourt recruits.”

But DeCourcy also points out, “What’s worrisome about the Bears is how truly mediocre with a fairly solid roster last season. We’re supposed to be excited about Jordan, Mathews and Bird returning, but they’re returning from a team that lost six of its final eight games and barely competed in two losses to Arizona.”

Here’s The Sporting News’ entire top-25:

1. Kansas; 2. Maryland; 3. North Carolina; 4. Kentucky; 5. Duke; 6. Virginia; 7. Iowa State; 8. Arizona; 9. Wichita State; 10. Gonzaga; 11. Oklahoma; 12. Villanova; 13. Cal; 14. North Carolina State; 15. Indiana; 16. West Virginia; 17. Cincinnati; 18. Michigan; 19. Oregon; 20. Wisconsin; 21. Florida State; 22. Butler; 23. Michigan State; 24. LSU; 25. Xavier.

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Basketball: Bears open 2015-16 vs. Rice on Nov. 13

Cal’s 2015-16 basketball schedule is not yet finalized, but we do know some key dates:

Nov. 13 — The season opener will be at Haas Pavilion against Rice. The Owls were 12-20 last season.

Nov. 26-27 — The Bears will play in the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena in a four-team event also featuring San Diego State (27-9 in 2014-15), West Virginia (25-10) and Richmond (21-14). Matchups for the Thanksgiving week event have not been set.

Dec. 2 — Cal visits Wyoming (25-10), completing the home-and-home that began last season with a 45-42 Bears’ win in Berkeley.

Dec. 22 — The Bears travel to Virginia (30-4) to face a Cavaliers’ squad which began last season with 19 straight wins and finished with a third-round NCAA tournament loss to Michigan State.

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Basketball: Caleb Swanigan decommits from Michigan State — let the frenzied speculation begin

Center Caleb Swanigan, who made a recruiting visit to Cal and at one time was said to be conspiring with Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown to attend Berkeley as a “package deal,” is back on the market after decommitting from Michigan State.

Is he Berkeley-bound?

Who knows?

Or, as coach Cuonzo Martin said Wednesday regarding his successful recruitment of Rabb and Brown, why not?

ESPN, which first reported the news, said Purdue may be the frontrunner.

Swanigan surprised most people by committed April 10 to MSU, but had not signed a binding letter-of-intent.

Click here to read the Detroit News’ story.

Here’s more from MLive.com.

Stay tuned.

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Basketball: How did Cal land Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb? Cuonzo Martin says, `Why not?’

Ask coach Cuonzo Martin how Cal landed two top-10 national basketball recruits and his answer is simple.

“Why not?” he said. “You’re talking about the No. 1 public institution in the world. Why not? You’ve got great academics as well as great athletics. Why not? That’s what people should say.”

Martin said Jaylen Brown, consensus five-star small forward from Georgia, did not simply drop in the Bears’ lap. Hard work, relationship building and circumstances combined to convince Brown to sign with the Bears over the likes of Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina, giving them a recruiting class that Rivals.com ranks No. 4 nationally.

Martin, in his second season at Berkeley, said he began recruiting Brown when he was head coach at Tennessee and Brown was a freshman at Wheeler High in Marietta.

He recalls seeing a 6-foor-3, 170-pounder who took the game seriously and got high marks from those around him. “His coach was saying he’ll be the next guy when it’s all said and done,” Martin said.

Brown is now 6-7, nearly 220 pounds and led Wheeler to Georgia’s 6A state title. He also played in all of the major all-star games, where his relationship with fellow Cal signee Ivan Rabb of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High began to blossom.

There was talk a month ago of Brown, Rabb and center Caleb Swanigan choosing a school as a “package deal.” Swanigan opted for Michigan State, but Rabb decided to stay close to home.

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