Basketball: Caleb Swanigan decommits from Michigan State — let the frenzied speculation begin

Center Caleb Swanigan, who made a recruiting visit to Cal and at one time was said to be conspiring with Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown to attend Berkeley as a “package deal,” is back on the market after decommitting from Michigan State.

Is he Berkeley-bound?

Who knows?

Or, as coach Cuonzo Martin said Wednesday regarding his successful recruitment of Rabb and Brown, why not?

ESPN, which first reported the news, said Purdue may be the frontrunner.

Swanigan surprised most people by committed April 10 to MSU, but had not signed a binding letter-of-intent.

Click here to read the Detroit News’ story.

Here’s more from MLive.com.

Stay tuned.


Basketball: How did Cal land Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb? Cuonzo Martin says, `Why not?’

Ask coach Cuonzo Martin how Cal landed two top-10 national basketball recruits and his answer is simple.

“Why not?” he said. “You’re talking about the No. 1 public institution in the world. Why not? You’ve got great academics as well as great athletics. Why not? That’s what people should say.”

Martin said Jaylen Brown, consensus five-star small forward from Georgia, did not simply drop in the Bears’ lap. Hard work, relationship building and circumstances combined to convince Brown to sign with the Bears over the likes of Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina, giving them a recruiting class that Rivals.com ranks No. 4 nationally.

Martin, in his second season at Berkeley, said he began recruiting Brown when he was head coach at Tennessee and Brown was a freshman at Wheeler High in Marietta.

He recalls seeing a 6-foor-3, 170-pounder who took the game seriously and got high marks from those around him. “His coach was saying he’ll be the next guy when it’s all said and done,” Martin said.

Brown is now 6-7, nearly 220 pounds and led Wheeler to Georgia’s 6A state title. He also played in all of the major all-star games, where his relationship with fellow Cal signee Ivan Rabb of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High began to blossom.

There was talk a month ago of Brown, Rabb and center Caleb Swanigan choosing a school as a “package deal.” Swanigan opted for Michigan State, but Rabb decided to stay close to home.

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Basketball: Rivals ranks Cal’s class No. 4

Topped by Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, Cal’s recruiting class is No. 4 in final 2015 rankings released Wednesday by Rivals.com.

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin — like most coaches — has said he’s not obsessed with rankings. Even so, this is rarified territory for the Golden Bears.

Consider the Rivals top-5: 1. Duke; 2. Arizona; 3. Kentucky; 4. Cal; 5. LSU.

Brown, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is rated No. 3 by Rivals, and Rabb, a 6-10 power forward checks in at No. 7. Shooting guard Tyson Jolly is ranked No. 73. Still-to-be-signed small forward Davon Dillard is No. 147.

The only other school with two signed players ranked in the top-10 is Kentucky, with No. 1 Skal Laissiere and No. 10 Isaiah Briscoe.

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Basketball: Jaylen Brown’s signing is official

Cal officially signed high school All-America forward Jaylen Brown on Monday, adding to perhaps the most impressive basketball recruiting class in school history.

“Jaylen is one of the nation’s elite players and we are thrilled he is a Golden Bear,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said in a statement. “He is a strong, athletic player with a tremendous work ethic. Jaylen has the skill and ability to play four different positions on the floor.”

A 6-foot-7, 220-pounder from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, Brown was rated as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect by Scout.com, and is among the top five, according to every major recruiting service.

He joins fellow consensus top-10 prospect Ivan Rabb, a 6-10 power forward from Oakland, and four-star shooting guard Tyson Jolly of Oklahoma City in the class that will enroll at Berkeley next fall.

Brown averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds this season, leading Wheeler to a 30-3 record and the Georgia 6A state title. His two free throws with 0.6 seconds left were the difference in the state championship game, and helped Wheeler to a final No. 6 national ranking, according to USA Today.

“He’s one of the most talented kids I’ve had here at Wheeler, hands down,” said coach Doug Lipscomb, whose past players over 23 seasons include former Cal star Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who went on to a productive NBA career. “Both were very skilled-oriented kids, both rebound the ball, play defense and, most importantly, both are very good people.”

Lipscomb said Brown is versatile and unselfish on the court.

“He should definitely be a plus for Cal,” Lipscomb said. “He’s only going to get bigger and stronger.”


Basketball: Shocker from Georgia — Bears top Kentucky, UNC and Michigan to land Jaylen Brown


Jaylen Brown, rated the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect by Scout.com, stunned the college basketball world Friday by announcing will play next season at Cal.

“I’m very surprised. He could have literally picked any school in the country and he chose Cal, which obviously is a huge statement for Cuonzo Martin and that program,” said Josh Gershon, a recruiting analyst for Scout.

“It’s one of the biggest surprises in recent recruiting memory.”

Martin landed the 6-foot-7, 210-pound small forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, in competition with Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina. Brown attends the high school alma mater of former Cal star Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Rivals and 247Sports both rank Brown as the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect and ESPN rates him at No. 4. The website DraftExpress.com projects Brown to be the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Brown will be paired with top-10 signee Ivan Rabb, a 6-10 power forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, to give the Bears an elite recruiting class. Continue Reading


Basketball: Why hasn’t Davon Dillard signed?

Three-star small forward Davon Dillard was the first player to commit to Cal’s recruiting Class of 2015. He was on board with the Bears a full month before five-star power forward Ivan Rabb made his announcement.

But on April 15, when Rabb and shooting guard Tyson Jolly made things official by signing their letters of intent, there was no news on Dillard.

Dillard’s coach at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y., was vague about reasons that have delayed the 6-foot-5 wing from signing with Cal, but said he remains confident Dillard will play for the Bears next season.

Asked whether Dillard or the school is being scrutinized by the NCAA Clearinghouse, coach Ron Stelzer said, “I’m aware of it. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say much. We’re in the process of dealing with the situation right now . . . it’s being worked out.”

Stelzer, who also serves as pastor at Our Savior, was not more specific about the reasons for the delay, and said he does not know the timetable for its resolution.

Because Dillard is unsigned, Cal coach Cuonzo Martin is not permitted to talk about him. Likewise, the NCAA does not discuss matters involving player eligibility.

A native of Gary, Indiana, Dillard played only his senior season at Our Savior.

“He’s a good student, a good person,” Stelzer said. “There’s no reason that I can see that he shouldn’t be cleared.”

Stelzer described Dillard as “a good all-around player.” He said his strengths include perimeter shooting and his ability to take the ball “hard” to the basket. “Defensively, I would say he’s at least adequate,” Stelzer said. “He’s not amazing, but he can keep growing there.”


Football: Four-star safety Thompson picks Cal

Cal got an oral commitment from 2016 safety Shurod Thompson of Liberty High in Brentwood, who is rated as a four-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, USC and Washington State, among others. But Scout reported that it was Cal who gave Thompson his first scholarship offer.

Rivals ranks him as the No. 7 safety prospect in the country, the No. 1o overall player in the Class of 2016 from California.

Scout ranks Thompson as the nation’s No. 8 overall prosect, and has him No. 11 among safeties and No. 2 at his position in California.

Thompson is Cal’s sixth oral commitment and the second elite defensive back the Bears expect to sign. Also committed is four-star DB Marquel Dismuke, a 6-2, 170-pounder from Calabasas.


Basketball: With Ivan Rabb in the fold, Cuonzo Martin expects Bears to compete for Pac-12 title

With top-10 prospect Ivan Rabb now on board, Cal basketball coach Cuonzo Martin said fans should have high expectations for the Golden Bears in the Pac-12 next season.

“I think we’ll fight for the top spot,” said Martin, whose team finished in a tie for eighth in the Pac-12 this season and did not participate in the postseason.

Pac-12 champ Arizona has landed a superb recruiting class, but is expected to lose four starters, and Utah, Oregon, UCLA and Stanford also must rebuild.

Cal, with potentially four starters back, should be positioned to make a move.

“It’s exciting times,” Martin said.

Martin, beginning his second season in Berkeley, said Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward from Bishop O’Dowd, won’t be expected to shoulder the entire load.

“The biggest key is having great guys around him,” Martin said. “He’s coming in as a highly touted player, a very talented young man. He has a lot of skills – a guy who plays inside, outside, handles the ball, plays well on the defensive side.

“He’ll be able to come in and play the way he knows how to play. He won’t be pressing, because he has experienced guards around him.”

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Basketball: Bears get signed letter from Ivan Rabb

Five-star prospect Ivan Rabb’s signed letter-of-intent arrived at the Cal basketball office Wednesday evening — all the way from New York, where the Bishop O’Dowd forward is preparing to play in the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game on Friday.

“From day one, Ivan Rabb was a priority for our program,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said in a statement. “He is important to us not only for our basketball team, but for our program for years to come. When you have a guy of this magnitude and caliber of talent in your backyard, you want to do everything in your power to make it work for him.

“He made it a priority to give us every opportunity to show him what we are about. It is very important to keep your local guys home. We built a great relationship with Ivan and landed one of the best in the country.”

The Bears also announced the official signing of shooting guard Tyson Jolly of Oklahoma City.

“The thing we saw in Tyson Jolly, he is a great young man who we love to be around,” Martin said. “He has great passion and wants to be a part of what we are trying to do.

“Tyson’s athleticism and level of toughness is exactly what we want. He has a will to win basketball games, whether it is blocking a shot, getting a big rebound, scoring a big basket or making a big free throw. He does all those things to help his team win and does it with a tremendous level of passion.”

The Bears also have landed small forward Davon Dillard of Gary, Indiana. Cal made no official announcement about Dillard on Wednesday, but he reported via his Twitter account that he has signed.