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Jabari Bird leads Cal Basketball into the future

Jabari Bird leads Cal Basketball into the future


    By most measures Mike Montgomery's California Golden Bear teams have been successful. Under Montgomery Cal has had 4 out of 5 years with NCAA tournament births, and 4 out of 5 years with 20 wins. Most programs would be thrilled with this type of success. However early tournament exists leave Coach Montgomery and his staff with plenty left to achieve.
    There are fans in Berkeley left wanting more, and for good reason. Early exists in postseason play will do that to a fan base. Coach Montgomery and his staff should be able to compete in an improved Pac 12 because of the talent arriving in Berkeley this season.
    Without question Cal is going to have a difficult time replacing the talent of Allen Crabbe, last years Pac 12 player of the year, as he has moved on to the bright lights of the NBA. Fortunately for the Bears they have a few different players in mind to help fill the enormous void left by Crabbe's departure.
     First there is Jabari Bird, a five star recruit out of nearby Richmond California. Bird is a McDonald's All American and for good reason. The 6'5 Bird reminds of a younger Harrison Barnes, although Bird is a better shooter. Many think Jabari can be the one to replace a significant amount of Crabbe's production from last year. Bird can do it all, and it is hard to find any major flaws in his game. His biggest contribution for the Bears will be his ability to score the basketball. Cal was in the bottom third in points per game in conference last season. Bird is an insane talent and should contribute right away.
    Another significant recruit for the Bears is SG Jordan Mathews. Mathews can flat out shoot the basketball. He shot 42% from three last season for Santa Monica High School. Mathews is not only a spot shooter, he is more than capable of creating his own shot. He has a quick release and will also help with the Bears offensive output.
    Cal is also going to need some front court depth in the coming years in order to handle the plethora of good forwards in conference. In Kameron Rooks they receive a raw yet promising talent that could turn into a very solid player under Coach Montgomery's tutelage. Rooks is a 7 footer out of San Marcos California. Already possessing a solid offensive arsenal, the ceiling is high for him. Rooks probably wont compete for a starting spot right away and it will take him time to adapt to the speed and physicality of the Division 1 game.
    Early predictions have the Bears as a middle of the pack team in the Pacific 12 conference this year. Pre season predicitons rarely hold true, and most of these prognosticators are underestimating the talent and impact of this recruiting class. Cal can be relevant in the Pac 12 this year, and the fans in Berkeley should expect the team to compete for a conference championship.