Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I know other sites are doing this, but I decided to breakdown the top 50 college basketball teams for this coming season. Today:
#49 CALIFORNIA BEARS
Last Season: 16-17 (6-12 in conference), No Postseason
Key Losses: G Ayinde Ubaka (13.7 ppg, 4.3 apg), G Omar Wilkes (9.9 ppg)
Key Adds: F Jamal Boykin (transfer), F Omondi Amoke (top 300), G Nikola Knezevic
It won't be easy to replace team-leader Ubaka, as well as Wilkes, and this is the area that will make or break the season for the Bears.
Lightning quick guard Jerome Randle (6.5ppg/2.8 apg) is first in line to replace Ubaka as the point man for coach Ben Braun, although he will have competition from Serbian Nikola Knezevic, who returns after a medical redshirt season.
Shooting guard will likely be a battle between sophomore Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson, although Robertson spent a lot of time in the post last season, and could also slide to small forward.
The strength of the Bears got stonger when center DeVon Hardin pulled out of the NBA draft, despite being a likely first rounder. Although Hardin's stats aren't mind-numbingly great (10.7ppg/8.4 rpg), his defense (1.9 blocks) and overall affect on the team can't be overstated. Before he got hurt last season, the Bears were 11-3, after they were 8-14.
Joining the 6-11 Hardin downlow will be last year's leading scorer, 6-10 Ryan Anderson (16.3 ppg). Anderson had no problems scoring last year, with or without Hardin, so expect that one-two punch to give teams fits this year. Depth will come from top 300 freshman Omondi Amoke, an explosive 6-7 wing player, and former Duke transfer Jamal Boykin, who was a four-star recruit and 20th ranked PF in 2005.
The Bears are talented and have some star power. In a conference like the Big Ten, they might be able to do some damage. However, the Pac Ten is loaded this year, and it's likely the Bears will struggle in conference. A weak non-conference schedule won't help, and it looks like the NIT for Cal.