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Basketball: Cobbs gets on the floor

Former Cal star Justin Cobbs got off the bench and into the game for the first time Tuesday during NBA summer league play in Orlando, Florida.

Cobbs played nine minutes and contributed two points and an assist to the Memphis Grizzlies’ 80-73 win over Orlando. Cobbs, who did not play in the Grizzlies’ first two games, shot 1 for 3 and also had a steal and a turnover.

For the third straight game, Richard Solomon did not play for the Houston Rockets in their 92-71 loss to Philadelphia.

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Basketball/baseball: Earl Robinson dies

Earl Robinson, one of Cal’s greatest two-sport athletes, died Friday at the age of 77 after a long illness.

Robinson, who starred in basketball and baseball in the late 1950s, was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. He was voted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2010 and a year later received the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award, which is presented to the Cal men’s basketball alumnus who upholds the highest ideals of Coach Newell and the University of California.

Robinson was modest in his acceptance of the Newell award.

“When they talk about an achievement award, you must remember that you never do this by yourself,” Robinson said. “It’s because of so many people. It is you that I share this award with. I am humbled by this award. You, the fans, supported us – I don’t care whether Wilt Chamberlain came in here, the great Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Elgin Baylor or whoever it might be. It was your support that made us feel that we could always compete. And so I accept this award in your honor.”

A graduate of Berkeley High, Robinson was a 6-foot-1 guard on the basketball team, helping Cal to conference titles in 1956, ’57 and ’58. He was twice an All-Coast selection and three times was named to the All-Pacific Coast Conference team.
 
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Basketball: Cobbs, Solomon sit in summer debuts

Former Cal stars Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon never got off the bench Saturday as their NBA teams made their season debuts in the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Cobbs was signed this week to a summer-league contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, who beat Oklahoma City 84-63.

Solomon is with the Houston Rockets, who lost 95-89 to Detroit.

Jorge Gutierrez, who won Pac-12 Player of the Year honors for Cal in 2012, had eight points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal in Brooklyn’s 101-81 win over Indiana. Gutierrez played the latter portion of the 2014-14 NBA regular season with the Nets.

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Basketball: Kameron Rooks suffers torn ACL

UPDATED

Cal is likely to play the 2014-15 basketball season without sophomore center Kameron Rooks, who has undergone surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the school reported.

Rooks, a 7-foot, 270-pounder, was on the mend from a late-season stress fracture in his left foot but was expected to be healthy and challenge for a starting job on new coach Cuonzo Martin’s team.

“Kameron has worked hard this off season to return from a previous foot injury and it is very unfortunate to have a setback like this,” Martin said. “Kameron’s surgery went well and now he can continue to work diligently through his rehabilitation program to gain strength back in his leg.
 
“It is difficult to predict when we can expect him back, but we know he will put in the effort and his coaches and teammates are here to support him every step of the way.”
 
The son of one-time Arizona star Sean Rooks averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 28 games last season as a freshman. With the graduation of Richard Solomon, Rooks figured to challenge for significant playing time in 2014-15.
 
The Bears feature 6-9 senior power forward David Kravish, who averaged 11.4 points and 7.7 rebounds last season. Otherwise, Cal is shorthanded up front, and now will either play a small lineup or rely on seldom-used junior forward Christian Behrens and incoming 7-1 freshman Kingsley Okoroh.
 
Here are some early possible lineup options:
 
* Going small: 6-9 F David Kravish, 6-5 G Tyrone Wallace, 6-6 G Jabari Bird, 6-4 G Jordan Mathews and 6-4 PG Sam Singer.
 
* Bigger: 6-9 F David Kravish, 6-9 F Christian Behrens, 6-6 G Jabari Bird, 6-4 G Jordan Mathews, 6-5 PG Tyrone Wallace.
 
* Biggest:  6-9 F David Kravish, 7-1 C Kingsley Okoroh, 6-6 G Jabari Bird, 6-4 G Jordan Mathews, 6-5 PG Tyrone Wallace.
 
The loss of Rooks also worsens the team’s overall depth issue. Unless they add another player, the Bears figure to enter the season with just nine healthy scholarship players, only four of whom averaged more than 2 points per game last season.
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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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