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Basketball: Rockets sign Solomon

Former Cal forward Richard Solomon signed a summer league contract with the Houston Rockets.

The 6-foot-10 Solomon led the Pac-12 in rebounding at 10.2 per game while also averaging 11.0 rebounds. He was among just three players in the six power conferences to average a double-double.

Solomon and the Rockets begin play in the Orlando summer league on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.

Solomon’s signing came one day after former Golden Bears teammate Justin Cobbs was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies. The two will face each other when Houston meets Memphis on July 10.

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Football: Bears add two weekend commits

Cal got a pair of weekend recruiting commitments, including one from 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle Johnny Capra of Placer High. Capra is rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

The Bears also landed two-star tight end Zeandae Johnson, a 6-2, 240-pounder from Fresno’s Central HS East Campus.

Earlier last month, got Cal a commit from three-star center Ryan Gibson, a 6-2, 271-pounder from St. Stanislaus HS in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Gibson is rated by Scout as the 15th-best center prospect in the country.

Cal now has seven oral commitments for the class of 2015.

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Basketball: Cobbs to Memphis summer team

Former Cal point guard Justin Cobbs has signed to play for the Memphis Grizzles in the NBA summer league in Orlando, Fla.

Cobbs, a first-team all-Pac-12 selection as a senior this past season, will debut with the Grizzlies on Saturday against the Miami Heat. The team will play five games, which can be seen on NBA TV.

*****

BTW, I’m back from vacation. You cover college sports and you figure June is a safe month to be away. Go figure.

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Basketball: Ex-Cal star Justin Cobbs makes Warriors his latest stop on pre-NBA draft tour

I visited the Warriors’ practice facility in Oakland on Wednesday to talk with ex-Cal star Justin Cobbs, who was among six NBA draft hopefuls who worked out in front of club officials.

Here’s my story on how Cobbs and former Saint Mary’s College guard Stephen Holt are faring in the leadup to the June 26 NBA draft.

Cobbs also said he and his Cal teammates were completely surprised when coach Mike Montgomery announced his retirement after the season.

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Basketball: Bears unveil nonconference schedule

Cal’s debut under new basketball coach Cuonzo Martin will be Friday, Nov. 14  at Haas Pavilion against an opponent yet-to-be named in the 2K Sports Classic.

A Dec. 22 game against Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin highlights the Bears’ 2014-15 nonconference schedule, announced Tuesday by the school. The Badgers return three double-digit scorers from the team that started 16-0 last season, finishing 30-8 after a Final Four loss to Kentucky.

The Bears will play 13 games prior to the start of the Pac-12 schedule, nine of them at Haas Pavilion.

They open with home games on  Nov. 14 and 16 as part of the 2K Sports Classic. Opponents for those games will be announced next month.

Then, regardless of the results in those games, Cal will play at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Nov. 20 and Friday, Nov. 21 in the final two rounds of the same event. Other teams participating in New York will be Syracuse, Iowa and Texas. Matchups have not been announced.

Cal’s nonconference home schedule resumes Nov. 26 against Cal Poly. Former Bears’ associate head coach Travis DeCuire will return to Haas as head coach of his alma mater, Montana, on Dec. 3. The game will mark the first meeting between Cal and Montana since 1930.

The Bears also play home games against Wyoming (Dec. 10), Princeton (Dec. 13), Eastern Washington (Dec. 19) and Cal State Bakersfield (Dec.28).

Their two remaining road games will be at Fresno State (Nov. 30) and Nevada (Dec. 7).

The 2014-15 nonconference schedule was arranged by previous coach Mike Montgomery’s staff. Martin had no influence on the lineup of opponents his first team will face.

Game times have yet to be determined. The Pac-12 schedule will be announced later this month.

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Basketball: Martin OK that Bears likely to enter season with just 10 available scholarship players

Had breakfast with new basketball coach Cuonzo Martin, who said he’s bought a home in Piedmont but will spend much of the rest of this summer recruiting for the Class of 2015.

He also confirmed the Bears are likely to go into next season with just 10 eligible scholarship players. Martin said he won’t use either of the program’s two open scholarships this summer, unless he’s able to land a senior graduate transfer who is immediately eligible.

That means — although Martin cannot discuss recruits by name — there is nothing to online chatter that Cal might be pursuing former Oregon guard and Bay Area native Dominic Artis.

The situation is complicated because Artis played for the Oakland Soldiers, the powerhouse traveling team that features Bishop O’Dowd HS star Ivan Rabb, rated by some as the top prospect in the Class of 2015.

The Bears, and everyone else, want Rabb, but my sense is they won’t sign Artis to get him. Artis was one of three players booted from Oregon this spring after being the subject of a sexual assault investigation. While no charges were filed, the incident was unseemly enough that the school divorced itself from all three players.

Asked how concerned he is about his scholarship numbers for next season, Martin said, “Not at all. We’ve been in situations like this before. The strength and conditioning part is important, but also being smart in practice.”

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Football: Which high-level prospects from the Class of 2015 the Golden Bears are chasing

Below is a rundown of the 48 high school players Cal is recruiting off Scout.com’s list of top-300 national prospects. These include five-star and four-star prospects, according to Scout’s evaluations.

The Bears have four commitments so far for the class of 2015 — all of them three-star prospects.

Among the group shown here, there are several trends worth noting:

– Twelve of the 48 are wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin just can’t have enough of them on his roster.

– Only one is a quarterback — No. 99 prospect Travis Waller of Servite-Anaheim.

– Two are tight ends, a position the Bears hardly utilize.

– Eight are from the state of Texas, a recruiting hotbed and backyard to Louisiana Tech, where coach Sonny Dykes and his staff still have recruiting ties.

– Six of the seven five-star prospects the Bears are pursuing are defensive players. In all, 27 of the 48 listed play defense.

We’ll keep an eye on this list to see how many Dykes and his staff are able to land.

Scout.com 5-star prospects recruited by Cal

2. OLB Malik Jefferson, Ralph H. Poteet HS, Mesquite, Texas, 6-3, 220
10. DT Kahlil McKenzie, De La Salle HS, 6-4, 330
11. CB Iman Marshall, Long Beach Poly HS, 6-1.5, 190
16. WR DeMarkus Lodge, Cedar Hill HS, Cedar Hill, Texas, 6-2, 188
22. DE Keisean Lucier-South, Lutheran Orange HS, Orange, 6-4.5, 220
27. OLB John Houston, Serra HS, Gardena, 6-3, 218
28. DE Canton Kaumatule, Punahoa School, Honolulu, 6-6, 259

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Basketball: Montana excited to introduce ex-Cal aide and Grizzly alum Travis DeCuire as coach

Years before he spent six seasons as an assistant for Mike Montgomery at Cal, Travis DeCuire was a standout point guard for Montana.

So Grizzlies athletic director Kent Haslam had no qualms about introducing DeCuire on Monday as the program’s newest head coach.

 “I can say this without a shadow of  a doubt: We got our guy,” Haslam said of DeCuire, 43, who becomes the fourth Griz coach in the last 23 years to have played at Montana.

According to the Missoulian, DeCuire signed a three-year contract with a base salary of $140,000 to succeed Wayne Tinkle, who left after eight seasons to become head coach at Oregon State.

Meanwhile, Tinkle has hired Gregg Gottlieb, another former Montgomery assistanst at Cal, to be part of his staff at Corvallis, Ore., according to Jeff Gooodman of ESPN.com.

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Basketball: PG Chauca officially signs

Cal announced the official signing of point guard prospect Brandon Chauca to a national letter of intent.

“We are excited for the opportunity to have Brandon join the Cal Family,” new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “He has the ability to distribute and score the basketball. In high school, he displayed excellent range with his shot. Brandon also has the foot speed to be a good on-ball defender.”

Chauca averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals this season for 22 Feet Academy at Shannon Forest Christian Schhool in Greenville, S.C. The 5-foot-9 native of Alexandria, Virginia, had a pair of 40-point games.

Chauca played his freshman year at Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas, Va. where he was an all-district selection in his first scholastic season. Chauca also played one season at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., and at Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C., before enrolling at 22 Feet Academy.

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Basketball: Bears get point guard commit

New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin has secured a verbal commitment from a 5-foot-9 point guard to go with the 7-foot-1 center he landed several weeks ago.

Brandon Chauca, a left-hander from Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, S.C., announced Friday he will join the Bears next fall. Earlier, center Kinglsey Okoroh signed with the Bears.

Because the spring signing period is over, Chauca signed a financial aid agreement but not a letter-of-intent.

A native of Alexandria, Va., Chauca averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals last season.

The left-hander will provide depth at point guard, where Justin Cobbs departs and Sam Singer and Tyrone Wallace are expected to duel for the starting job.

Chauca picked Cal over Washington State, and also drew interest from Missouri and Virginia Tech.

Cal now has 11 scholarship players committed for next season. Here’s the breakdown:

Seniors (1): F David Kravish

Juniors (3): G Tyrone Wallace, F Christian Behens, G/F Stephen Domingo*

Sophomores (5): G Jabari Bird, G Sam Singer, G Jordan Mathews, C Kameron Rooks, F Roger Moute a Bidias

Freshmen (2): C Kingsley Okoroh, G Brandon Chauca 

* Must sit out 2014-15 season as transfer from Georgetown.