Basketball: Ivan Rabb hits game-winning FT in state title game at Haas; no immediate announcement on college

Ivan Rabb had 19 points, 20 rebounds, three blocked shots and made the game-winning free throw with 0.8 seconds left, lifting Bishop O’Dowd to a 65-64 win over Mater Dei in the California state open division title game at Haas Pavilion.

But he did not immediately give Cal fans the news they were hoping to hear.

The sense all day was that Rabb would pick Cal over Arizona, and would make the announcement right after the game.

Rabb said afterward he wasn’t ready to make an immediate commitment. Wanted to keep the spotlight on his team and the Dragons’ championship celebration.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about where I’m going to school right now, it’s about putting this ring on our fingers and bring a state title to my school,” Rabb told reporters.

If that’s an insight into his character and what kind of teammate he can be, an encouraging sign for whichever teams get him.

Cal quarterback Jared Goff tweeted his impressions of the young O’Dowd star:

@YoungIvee sounds like a great kid. Hope he comes to Cal, but wish him nothing but the best with whatever he chooses to do #GoBears

The game was close throughout, and the 6-foot-10 Rabb added to the drama when he he nearly airballed his first free throw with 0.8 seconds left. Then he converted the second one to earn O’Dowd its first state title since 1981.

“The way the game ended, you couldn’t’ have written a story better than this,” Rabb said. “It’s not about me, it’s about my teammates. They pushed me to get to this point, we pushed each other and I’m just thankful.”


Caleb Swanigan, the five-star center Cal is pursuing, led Homestead-Fort Wayne to a 91-90 win over Reitz-Evansville for the Indiana state 4A title.

Swanigan, a 6-foot-9, 265-pounder, had 20 points and 14 rebounds.



Basketball: Will Cuonzo Martin’s lofty recruiting deliver big payoff or mighty whiff? Answers to come soon

From the day he arrived on campus until last week when he said no thanks to an invite from the third-tier CBI tournament, first-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin has made it clear he intends to swing for the fences.

Martin wants to compete for a national championship at Cal and his recruiting efforts have been in line with those aspirations: the Bears appear to be among the finalists for three five-star prospects rated by Scout.com as the No. 1 center, power forward and small forward in the country.

Within the next several weeks we will know whether Martin can defy the odds by signing one or more of them, or will be left empty-handed. The spring signing period begins April 15.

Here are the three players at the top of Martin’s recruiting wish list:

* IVAN RABB: The 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward from Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High has been a priority for Martin and his staff since they landed in Berkeley. Rated by Scout as the No. 5 overall prospect and No. 1 power forward, Rabb leads O’Dowd (ranked No. 8 nationally by USA Today) into Saturday’s California open division state title game against No. 10 Mater Dei at Cal’s Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 8 p.m. Rabb, also considering Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA, had 18 points and 18 rebounds last week as the Dragons improved to 27-4 with a win over Modesto Christian in the NorCal title game.

* CALEB SWANIGAN: A 6-9, 265-pounder from Homestead High (28-2) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Swanigan was named Mr. Basketball in Indiana and rated by Scout as the nation’s top center prospect. He made an official visit to Cal on Feb. 27, but has a long list of suitors, including Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Purdue. Swanigan had 40 points and 17 rebounds in Homestead’s state 4A semifinal win over South Bend Riley and goes for the state title Saturday against 29-1 Evansville Reitz, rated No. 23 nationally by USA Today.

* JAYLEN BROWN: Rated by Scout as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, the 6-7, 215-pound small forward made a quiet, unofficial visit to Cal last Sunday and Monday, further muddling his recruiting picture. Everyone wants Brown, who used his five official recruiting visits to check out Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina and Michigan. He averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds at Wheeler-Marietta, Georgia, the same high school that produced one-time Cal star Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Wheeler is rated No. 5 in the country by USA Today after finishing 30-2 as Georgia’s 6A state champion.

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Basketball: Ivan Rabb leads O’Dowd into state final

Ivan Rabb, Cal’s No. 1 recruiting target, had 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots, leading Bishop O’Dowd High to a 56-47 win over Modesto Christian in the CIF NorCal open division title game at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

The top-seeded Dragons earned a rematch in the state championship game against Southern California winner Mater Dei, which beat O’Dowd 71-61 in the 2014 state title game.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward, is rated a consensus top-10 national prospect by recruiting services. He lists Cal among his five final schools, also including Arizona and Kentucky.


Basketball: More on Cal commit Davon Dillard

Here’s more on Cal commit Davon Dillard, the 6-foot-5 wing from Gary, Indiana, currently playing at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y.

Dillard is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, but ESPN gives him four stars, identifying him as the No. 20 small forward prospect in the country.

Dillard gave Cal a verbal commitment Sunday during his official campus visit.

Rivals’ Eric Bossi describes Dillard as  ”physical, tough and can be a very athletic finisher driving to the rim.”

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Football: Cal gets commitment from 2016 safety

Cal football landed its second significant 2016 recruiting prospect in a week when four-star safety Marquel Dismuke of Compton announced via twitter he has picked the Bears over Michigan and Arizona State, among others.

A senior-to-be at Calabasas High, Dismuke is rated as the No. 11 safety in the country by Scout and No. 12 by Rivals. Both recruiting sites list him as a four-star prospect.

Dismuke, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, is the nation’s No. 190 overall prospect, according to Scout.

He joins dual-threat quarterback Armani Rogers, a three-star prospect from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, in Cal’s 2016 recruiting class. Commitments do not become binding until signing day in February 2016.


Football: Bears get 2016 QB commitment

Cal football got its first 2016 recruiting commitment from Armani Rogers, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, according to multiple recruiting websites.

Rogers, rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, picked Cal over offers from Utah and Colorado State and also had recent interest from UCLA.

“New #Cal commit Armani Rogers is intriguing with his size, mobility and effortless release/arm strength, reminds of a young Cam Newton,” tweeted Scout analyst Greg Biggins.

Rogers led the Hamilton Yankees to a 12-4 record and the Los Angeles City Division II championship as a junior last season. According to Rivals, he threw 28 touchdown passes with just three interceptions and ran for seven TDs.

Rogers began his high school career at Crespi High, spent his sophomore year at Culver High, then transferred to Hamilton, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Football: Dykes praises new assistant Peeler

While talking up Cal’s 2015 recruiting class, coach Sonny Dykes gave credit to Jacob Peeler, the Bears’ newest fulltime assistant, for his good work.

Dykes confirmed that Peeler had a key hand in the recruitment of defensive end Russell Ude, wide receiver Brandon Singleton and defensive back DePriest “Trey” Turner.

“I was really impressed with Jacob,” Dykes said. “Kids really like him, kids trust him. He does a great job communicating and really enjoys it. I thought he did a great job. He knocked it out of the park. And I think he’s just getting started.”

Peeler spent his first two seasons at Cal as a graduate assistant working with Cal’s inside receivers. Now he has the primary assistant with that position group.

Promoted just weeks ago, after Rob Likens and Zach Yenser left for positions at Kansas, Peeler first gave Dykes a glimpse of his potential as a recruiter through his work as a GA. In that role, Peeler was able to communicate with potential recruits via phone and social media and meet with them on campus visits. A GA is not permitted to recruit off campus.

“Young people have a pretty good understanding of social media – certainly a better understanding than I do – and that’s the way these young people communicate with each other these days,” Dykes said. “He was able to make those connections and start to build those relationships even though he wasn’t allowed to be in their homes.

“He was talking to them every day. Before long, it became pretty apparent to me he was driving the bus on a lot of these recruits. It became apparent to me not only was he going to be an adequate recruiter had a chance to be a very good recruiter.”


Football: The class rankings — who do you believe?

Where does Cal’s recruiting class rank in the Pac-12 or nationally?

Well, that depends whose rankings you believe. Cal is rated 29th, 37th and 53rd in the three rankings below.

Our inclination is to believe none of them. They are educated guesses, nothing more. We’ll know for sure in two or three years.


1. USC
2. Alabama
3. Florida State
4. Clemson
5. Tennessee
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. LSU
9. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
Elsewhere in Pac-12: 13. UCLA; 17. Oregon; 18. Stanford; 20. Arizona State; 29. Cal; 30. Washington; 41. Arizona; 42. Utah; 56. Washington State; 70t. Colorado; 70t. Oregon State.

1. USC
2. Alabama
3. Auburn
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Notre Dame
8. Texas
9. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
Elsewhere in the Pac-12: 21. Oregon; 23. Washington; 25. Stanford; 37. Cal; 41. Arizona; 45. Washington State; 51. Utah; 64. Oregon State; 75. Colorado.

1. Alabama
2. Florida State
3. USC
4. Clemson
5. Tennessee
6. Ohio State
7. Auburn
8. Georgia
9. Texas
10. LSU
Elsewhere in the Pac-12: 11. UCLA; 15. Oregon; 26. Arizona State; 27. Stanford; 28. Washington; 39. Arizona; 53. Cal; 54. Washington State; 56. Utah; 67. Colorado; 68. Oregon State.


Football: Jaylinn Hawkins — the last signee

An hour after Cal coach Sonny Dykes completed his news conference Wednesday, introducing the Bears’ recruiting class of 2015, that class officially grew from 23 players to 24.

Jaylinn Hawkins of Buena Park High came on board, giving the Bears another player with the potential to play multiple positions.

Hawkins is rated among the nation’s top-25 wide receiver prospects by both Scout and Rivals, but it’s also possible he might end up playing defensive back.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder totaled 152 catches for 2,443 yards and 21 touchdowns. A two-way starter, he also had 11 career interceptions, 21 pass breakups, and 223 tackles for a program that was 25-9 over his three varsity seasons.

Scout and Rivals rated Hawkins as a four-star prospect, 247Sports and ESPN list him as a three-star player.

Here’s what is being said about him:

► Sonny Dykes: “Jaylinn is one of the best players in Southern California. He can do a lot of different things. I really love the way he plays the game. He’s very physical for his size. He can play a variety of positions. He’s a rangy fast athlete that’s very tough, very physical, and has a chance to really be a good football player.”

► ESPN: “Hawkins is an explosive, space player that is quicker than fast and likely going to see more upside if moved to the inside. He possesses some natural playmaking instincts as a pass catcher and knows what to do with the ball in his hands.”

► Scout: “He can make a corner look silly because of his smooth route running and then shows the speed to blow by him.”


Football: Bears’ class has Southeastern feel

Cal coach Sonny Dykes unveiled a 24-player recruiting class Wednesday with a distinct Southeastern flavor.

Despite losing two potential signees from the Southeast quadrant of the country in the past three days, the Bears landed seven players from states where Southeastern Conference recruiters generally have their way.

“I was really pleased to see we were getting some guys from the South. Obviously, the South is where the best football is played — that’s a fact,” said defensive end Russell Ude, a defensive end from Atlanta who had offers from three SEC schools, including Georgia. “It shows that Cal can come into SEC territory and snatch up SEC talent.”

The Bears also signed players from Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas, where Carlos Strickland was a consensus four-star wide receiver in Dallas. Strickland said no to SEC powerhouse Alabama to come to Cal.

“I kind of want to go somewhere where we can rebuild and be a part of the come-up,” said Strickland, who became a Cal fan growing up when he followed the likes of Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson.

The geographical slant to Cal’s recruiting seemingly netted a positive result this year. Rivals rated the Bears’ class in the top 30 nationally, and Scout has the Bears in the top 40.

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Austin Aaron: WR Napa 6-5, 210
Third-generation Cal athlete had 115 career catches, 2,082 yards, 23 TDs

Antoine Albert: CB Oakland 6-2, 220
Oakland Tech grad expected to join team in fall after 2 years at Diablo Valley College

Greyson Bankhead: WR Corona 5-10, 160
Excellent route-runner caught 137 passes for 2,061 yards and 22 TDs in prep career

Luc Bequette: DT Little Rock, Ark 6-2, 285
Mother Debi Thomas is a Stanford grad and 1988 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist

Ross Bowers: QB Bothell, WA 6-1, 175
Four-star ESPN recruit passed for 37 TDs for unbeaten state championship team

Derron Williams-Brown: Saf Laveen, AZ 6-2, 195
Mid-year JC signee arrives with three years’ eligibility and chance to find place in spring ball

Ryan Gibson: C Bay St. Louis, MS 6-3, 265
Started four years in high school, father played defensive back at Navy

Jaylinn Hawkins: ATH Buena Park 6-1, 180
Rated a four-star prospect by Scout and Rivals, could end up at WR or DB

Trevor Howard: DL Westlake Village 6-4, 235
Injured most of senior year; father played at Kansas, uncle at UCLA, grandfather at Wisconsin

Zeandae Johnson: DL Fresno 6-5, 250
Primarly a high school tight end, Johnson will play on the defensive side for Cal

Dylan Klumph: P Encino 6-3, 230
Golden West CC punter arrives with three years to play; could also do kickoffs

Billy McCrary III: Ath Leander, TX 5-10, 195
Dual-threat prep QB accounted for 72 career TDs, but will get first look as DB

Patrick Mekari: OL Westlake Village 6-5, 300
He is the younger brother of current Cal defensive tackle Tony Mekari

Kanawai Noa: WR Honolulu 6-0, 170
Prolific prep receiver had 146 career catches for 3.195 yards, 34 touchdowns

Lonny Powell: RB Sacramento 6-1, 205
Mid-year enrollee averaged 11.5 yards per rush or catch, with 38 career TDs in 38 games

Malik Psalms: CB Chino Hills 6-3, 175
Rated as a 4-star prospect and nation’s No. 27 cornerback by Rivals

Evan Rambo: Saf Pasadena 6-3, 190
Played exclusively on defense as a senior; could play several DB spots for Cal

Cameron Saffle: DL Sammamish,WA 6-3, 225
Played on two state title teams; expected to play defensive end for the Bears

Brandon Singleton: WR Bouttee, LA 6-0, 175
Speed receiver owns state high school 300 hurdles record; father Nate played for 49ers

Carlos Strickland: WR Dallas, TX 6-5, 200
Four-star prospect, who caught 25 TDs past two seasons, picked Cal over Texas, UCLA

DePriest Turner: Saf Mobile, Ala 6-1, 180
Passed and ran for more than 6,000 yards and 61 TDs as prep QB, will play DB for Bears

Russell Ude: DE Atlanta, GA 6-4, 250
Four-star prospect expected to play as freshman and provide boost to sagging pass rush

Semisi Uluave: OG Honolulu 6-5, 320
Rated by Scout as a 4-star and top prospect in Hawaii; does LDS mission factor in future?

DeVante Wilson: DE Corona 6-5, 245
December signee began career at USC in 2011 before knee injury sent him to Riverside CC