I watched the Bears practice for about an hour Wednesday as they prepare for their Aug. 13-24 tour of Australia. Freshman Jaylen Brown got the day off — not injured, just a breather, according to coach Cuonzo Martin — but Cal looked good.
The Bears are bigger, deeper and competitive. Freshman Ivan Rabb is going to be something special, transfer Stephen Domingo is long and active, and center Kameron Rooks, leaner than I’d seen before, aggressively engaged fellow 7-footer Kingsley Okoroh in their private duels.
So how good will Cal be?
ESPN on Wednesday released its “Way Too Early” top-25, and placed the Bears at No. 12. Not bad for a team that didn’t play in the postseason a year ago.
Here are the full rankings: 1. Maryland; 2. North Carolina; 3. Kentucky; 4. Virginia; 5. Kansas; 6. Duke; 7. Iowa State; 8. Oklahoma; 9. Wichita State; 10. Villanova; 11. Gonzaga; 12. Cal.
13. Utah; 14. Indiana; 15. Arizona; 16. Notre Dame; 17. Baylor; 18. Vanderbilt; 19. Michigan State; 20. West Virginia; 21. SMU; 22. LSU; 23. Butler; 24. Wisconsin; 25. Texas A&M.