Saw my first Cal basketball practice with Cuonzo Martin as coach on Thursday afternoon.
It was fast-paced, organized, intense and upbeat.
In fairness, I’m not sure how this compares to the way things were under Mike Montgomery because, frankly, we were never allowed to observe his practices.
“It’s more business-like,” sophomore guard Jabari Bird said. “Guys aren’t playing around as much. It’s more focused in there. It’s a really good approach because we approach our practice like it’s a game.”
Asked what Martin is like as a practice coach, Bird said, “Really focused. He pays attention to all the details. You can’t hide from anything. He’s going to see everything you do on the court, whether it’s good or bad. It’s good for us.”
Martin, who came to Cal last spring from Tennessee, said he’s pleased with the way his new team has adjusted.
“It’s been smooth,” he said. “The guys have done a great working and competing and picking up what we’re trying to do. They have been very receptive. The guys want to be great.”
Martin is particularly happy with senior forward David Kravish, who appears to have added 10 or 15 pounds of upper-body muscle to his frame, now listed as 6-foot-10.
“David Kravish has been such a tremendous leader. He’s made our job a lot easier,” Martin said.
The Bears open their exhibition schedule on Friday, Oct. 31 – three weeks from today – against Cal State East Bay. They make their regular-season debut on Nov. 14 against Alcorn State at Haas Pavilion as part of the 2K Classic.