Cal opens its season Tuesday night with an exhibition game against San Francisco State. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
The Bears figure to start David Kravish and Richard Solomon up front, with Allen Crabbe, Justin Cobbs and Brandon Smith in the backcourt.
It will be intriguing to watch how the Bears’ freshmen fare in their first games against college opposition. Tyrone Wallace is expected to be the first guard off the bench — at least until Ricky Kreklow recovers from foot surgery in a few weeks.
Forward Kaileb Rodriguez is a work in progress, not expected to contribute too heavily this season. Garrett Galvin and Geoffrey Frid are walk-ons, although Frid is 7-foot-1 and may turn himself into a player in a couple years.
The X-factor among the freshmen is 6-7 forward Kahlil Johnson, who comes to Cal from Price HS in Los Angeles, the alma mater of Crabbe and Solomon. Johnson transferred in to Price as a senior, so he never played alongside his two new Cal teammates.
The Bears are hoping Johnson gives them something at either the small or power forward spot. Coach Mike Montgomery said Johnson has potential, but lots to learn to learn.
“He’s got a long ways to go from the standpoint that it’s just so different, all the things that are being thrown at him right now,” Montgomery said. “He’s trying to figure out when he has to make a cut, where he’s going, why he’s going there.
“Like a lot of high school kids, he’s never had to do all that stuff. He’s shown some signs of being able to do some things that are very encouraging. But he has a ways to go to put it all together.
“I hope he can get more aggressive and not get discouraged like most freshmen do. They kind of hit a wall, go to the bottom of the barrel before they start climbing their way out. He’s got some ability.”
Johnson showed a nice 3-point stroke during the team’s intra-squad scrimmage last week.
“He’ll shoot it. He’s not afraid to do that,” Montgomery said. “It’s just a question of does he recognize what a good shot is, what a bad shot is? `What do I do from there? How do I make the next guy a good player?’
“And that’s hard for these guys because we run a lot of stuff and takes a lot of execution.”
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