Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
California Golden Bears
2003-04: 13-15, 9-9, 5th
2003-04 postseason: none
Note (9/12/04): At
the time this article was written, the status of Leon Powe was unclear.
It is possible that Powe may be out the entire season.
Powe underwent knee surgery and is expected to be back in late December for
the start of the Pac 10 conference schedule. The question around Powe’s
return doesn’t help the Bears. They will be hurting without him and who
knows how long it will take Powe to get back into the swing of the things.
Cal didn’t even manage to get into the post season with Powe having an
incredible freshman campaign.
Who’s Out: Amit Tamir provided a nice one-two combo under the basket
along with Powe. Tamir scored 12.6 points and grabbed 5.3 boards per game.
A.J. Diggs is the only other significant loss for Cal. The former walk-on
averaged a consistent two points, two rebounds and two assists in 28
outings. Sparingly used Cyrus Goode, Eric Bond, Conor Famulener and Gabriel
Hughes have all run out of eligibility or are leaving the program.
Who’s In: Head coach Ben Braun consistently brings in great
recruiting classes and this year is no different. All four are big guys who
should get some priceless experience early in the year while Leon Powe is on
the sidelines. DeVon Hardin will be asked to fill in on the boards and
defensive end. He is 6-10, 225 pounds and has a long wing span, making the
California native a major shot blocking threat. Kevin Langford, brother of
Kansas’ Keith Langford, is another lanky player with a solid frame that will
see some playing time in Berkeley. Center Sam Rayburn is the biggest of the
bunch standing 6-11 and weighing in at 260 pounds. Small forward Eric
Vierneisel rounds out Braun’s 2004-2005 recruiting class.
Who to Watch: With all the newcomers in the front court, not to
mention returnees Dominic McGuire and David Paris, the key for Cal will be
the backcourt. Along with Marquise Kately and Ayinde Ubaka, Richard Midgley
tops off a formidable backcourt. Midgely averaged 10.6 points last year as
a sophomore. He is a tough guard who can play either the point or the two
guard. He isn’t very good at creating opportunities for his teammates, but
with Ubaka running the point, Midgley can concentrate on his shooting. The
6-2 England native is a brilliant player on the floor. He rarely takes a
bad shot or makes a bad pass.
Projected Conference Rank: This is a team that is talented enough to
win the Pac 10, but missing Leon Powe for half the season could have them
off balance all year. With no seniors on the roster, these guys have two
years to learn to play together. It won’t happen again this year and a
disappointing 7th place in the conference is in store for the Bears. A more
friendly non-conference schedule will give Cal enough wins not to be shut
out of the post season for two consecutive seasons. By the time the post
season gets here, the squad should be playing as a team and could easily
make a deep run in whatever tournament they get into.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
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