Basketball: Bears get commit from 3-star Tyson Jolly

Tyson Jolly, a three-star shooting guard from the Oklahoma City area, gave Cal an oral commitment Friday night after an official campus visit.

“I really already had my mind set. Nobody knew, but I had my mind set,” Jolly said in a phone interview Saturday morning. “Getting there and seeing everybody . . . everybody looked happy. Playing with the team, they were talking up the coaches.

“It just felt like a home environment.”

Jolly picked Cal over Gonzaga and Minnesota, both of whom also had made scholarship offers.

Jolly said Cal fans should be optimistic that five-star power forward Ivan Rabb of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High will choose the Bears.

“I think we are going to get him,” Jolly said.

A 6-foot-4 senior at Putnam City West in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany, Jolly averaged 20 points and nine rebounds this season, leading his team to a 24-3 record and into the state semifinals.

Jolly is rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals.

Jolly’s road to Berkeley was at times a frightening one. He overcame a health ordeal a year ago when pulmonary embolism blood clots in his legs and lungs threatened more than his basketball career.

“Doctors told me I could have been dead seven times,” Jolly said.

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Recruiting: A win for football, a big loss for hoops

The news on two recruiting fronts came back-to-back Friday:

— Five-star basketball center Caleb Swanigan of Fort Wayne, Indiana, announced a day ahead of his own schedule that he will attend Michigan State. The news apparently was a surprise to coach Tom Izzo’s staff, as it likely was to Cal coach Cuonzo Martin.

Swanigan originally said he would announce Saturday at the Hoop Summit all-star game in Portland. Swanigan and Bishop O’Dowd High’s Ivan Rabb were thought to be plotting a joint commitment somewhere — possibly to Cal.

Cal has been considered the favorite for Rabb, a 6-foot-11 five-star power forward. But he didn’t announce two weeks ago after winning the state title — at Haas Pavilion, no less — and still hasn’t shared his decision.

It’s just speculation, but you have to wonder if Rabb delayed his announcement because he was trying to close the deal with Swanigan.

I am hearing Rabb is unlikely to announce Saturday. Perhaps he is planning something when he returns to the Bay Area.

— The news was better for football, where the Bears nabbed their second quarterback in the class of 2016. Max Gilliam, a 6-3, 192-pounder from Thousand Oaks High, was on campus Friday for an unofficial visit. Cal offered and he accepted, then tweeted his decision.

Gilliam is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Gilliam passed for 2,920 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last fall and rushed for 625 yards and 12 TDs.

He joins Armani Rogers, a 6-5 dual-threat quarterback from Hamilton High in Los Angeles in the Bears’ 2016 class. Cal also got a commitment earlier this week from offensive lineman Daniel Juarez, a 6-5, 292-pounder from Corona-Centennial.


Basketball: Cal recruiting target Ivan Rabb scores 10 points in McDonald’s game, but does not pick a school

Bishop O’Dowd High’s Ivan Rabb scored 10 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday night, but did not announce his college destination.

The 6-foot-11 forward, a consensus top-10 national prospect, confirmed in an ESPN interview that he has narrowed his choices to Cal and Arizona.

“Arizona’s already established,” Rabb said. “Cal’s got a new coaching staff and they’re very hungry. They’re looking for someone like me to come in.

“Everybody wants me to stay home. I know if I stay, there will be a lot of support,” he continued. “If I was to go there, I possibly would be able to get people to come with me.”

Cal also is recruiting two other non-committed top-10 players who participated in the McDonald’s game — center Caleb Swanigan of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and small forward Jaylen Brown of Marietta, Georgia. Swanigan tweeted that he intends to announce his college decision April 11 at the Hoop Summit international all-star game in Portland.

Rabb scored the game’s first basket on a fastbreak dunk and finished 5 for 6 from the field in the game featuring the top high school players in the country. He had six rebounds for the West team.

The East won 111-91 behind 18 points and 10 rebounds from Chieck Diallo.


Basketball: Will Ivan Rabb join this list?


Bishop O’Dowd High forward Ivan Rabb is rated No. 5 nationally by Scout.com. Here are Cal’s top-rated recruits of the past 25 years:

No. 1: Jason Kidd, 1992 (Naismith Award)
No. 4: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, 1995 (Blue Chip Illustrated)
No. 6: Leon Powe, 2003 (Prep Stars)
No. 11: Jelani Gardner, 1994 (Sporting News)
No. 13: Jabari Bird, 2013 (Scout)
No. 26: Tony Gonzalez, 1994 (Sporting News)
No. 27: Al Grigsby, 1991 (Bob Gibbons)
No. 32: Tremaine Fowlkes, 1994 (Sporting News)
No. 42: Lamond Murray, 1991
No. 44: Patrick Christopher, 2006 (Rivals)
No. 46: Marquise Kately, 2003 (Rivals)

Note: Lamond Murray’s ranking from non-specific source, per Cal media guide.


Basketball: Recruiting expert expects Rabb to pick Cal; will forward announce decision after McDonald’s game?


Cal is the favorite to land Bishop O’Dowd High School basketball star Ivan Rabb, says a Scout.com recruiting expert, but those close to the five-star recruit aren’t sure when he will announce his choice.

“I think he wants to go to Cal. I don’t think it’s a secret,” said Josh Gershon, recruiting analyst for Scout.com, who talked with the 6-foot-11 forward on Tuesday at media day for the McDonald’s All-American Game, to be played Wednesday in Chicago.

“I’m sure Kentucky’s still trying, but I think Cal’s the team to beat,” Gershon said. “If he were to not go to Cal, I would be shocked if it was anywhere but Arizona. I think it’s far more likely than not at this point Ivan chooses Cal.”

Both of Rabb’s coaches – Lou Richie of Bishop O’Dowd High and Mark Olivier of the Oakland Soldiers summer travel team – said they don’t know whether he will announce Wednesday night.

Olivier doesn’t believe Rabb’s mother, Tami Rabb, will have a major voice in her son’s decision. “She wants Ivan to be happy, that’s it. It’s up to him.”

Rabb closed out his O’Dowd career in dramatic fashion Saturday night, scoring the winning free throw with less than one second remaining in overtime in a state championship victory over Mater Dei at Cal’s Haas Pavilion.

The spring letter-of-intent signing period begins April 15, and Rabb would be a huge recruiting coup for second-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin. Rabb is rated anywhere from No. 5 to No. 8 among the nation’s prospects, and Cal has not landed a top-10 recruit since Leon Powe in 2003.

O’Dowd’s Richie said Rabb will have an impact as a freshman wherever he plays.

“He’s a competitor, he’s a sponge, and he’s a great kid,” Richie said.

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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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