2005 California Golden Bears Basketball Preview
2005 California Golden Bears Team Preview
Leon Powe—who just needs an “r” on the end of his name to describe his play on the court—is back from a knee injury that kept him away from basketball last season. Powe had an amazing freshman year in 2003-04 averaging 15.1 PPG and a conference leading 9.5 RPG. That, plus his hustle, determination, and basketball smarts, earned him PAC-10 Freshman of the Year honors. He’s back and ready for his delayed sophomore year and everyone’s anticipating more of the same but better.
Although Powe is definitely the Golden Bears’ superstar, the constantly improving Rod Benson (13.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG) could also be a major factor. Benson, who is entering his senior year, will start at center again and with Powe at power forward they could be a lethal combination.
Other starters who will be important in the mix will be guard Ayinde Ubaka, guard Richard Midgley, and forward Marquise Kately, all of whom performed below expectations in 2004-05. Each of these players needs to come to the forefront and offer consistent contributions on offense and defense.
What makes the success of these underachievers even more crucial is the observation that the Golden Bears are very thin on the bench. If Powe goes down again or Benson falters or Ubaka, Midgley, and Kately don’t produce, there won’t be a lot for coach Ben Braun to call on.
Braun (499-345 overall in 28 years of coaching) will get his 500th win and more this season. Just how many more will be determined by all five starters and not just Powe and Benson. California has the potential to go way beyond it’s six conference wins of last season. But they’ll have to do it as a team with everyone involved.
For more info on the 2005 Golden Bears check out the official California athletic site.