2009-2010 California Golden Bears Basketball Preview
Coach Mike Montgomery looks to have another fine team on the court as his California Golden Bears (22- 11 overall, 11-7 Pac-10) tip off their 2009- 2010 season. Last year the Bears, who had missed the NCAA Tournament for two years running, got to the Big Dance after finishing fourth in the conference. It was one game and California was out as they lost to Maryland 84- 71. This year this club could go deep.
California proved to have solid scoring chops last season as the Golden Bears were third in points (74.9 PPG) and first from downtown (43%). But their defense was suspect as they allowed 68.8 PPG (7th in the Pac-10) and notched a rebound average of plus-2.2 (6th). Improvements in both areas are needed.
The frontcourt will miss the passing and determined play of seven-foot center Jordan Wilkes who left the program with one year of eligibility remaining. It’s expected that junior college transfer Markhuri Sanders-Frison, a six-foot-eight big body, will get the nod. His muscle power will be a welcome addition to the frontcourt. Senior forward Jamal Boykin (9.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.9 APG), a true leader and fine offensive player, offers excellent experience. Junior front man Harper Kamp (3.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.0 APG), whose play has suffered due to injury, is a key factor in the paint. There’s some decent depth off the bench.
Senior Jerome Randle (18.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) had a breakthrough season last year, winning the conference’s most improved player award. He’s a solid three-point guy but needs to get his defense up to standards. Two other essential components of the backcourt, Patrick Christopher (14.5 PPG3.8 RPG, 2.1 APG) and Theo Robertson (13.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.5 APG), both seniors, are back. There’s additional depth in the guard spots.
The California Golden Bears begin the season with some fine starters,
a sound bench and a lot of experience. After making it to the
tournament last season, California would like to stay around a
lot longer. The Sweet 16 is certainly within their grasp, and
with a bit of luck, they could be an Elite Eight club. Last year,
the team led the nation in threes, hitting 42.7% of their shots
from downtown. This season they could be even more accurate. With
an improved defense, these Bears could indeed be golden.