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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.

 

Bookmark the 144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back each day to see which team is previewed next.


  

#69 California Golden Bears
Pac 10
2003-04: 13-15, 9-9, 5th
2003-04 postseason: none

By Joel Welser

 

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.



Leon 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

 

« Team #70 , Team #68   »

 


Email Joel Welser: jwelser_chn@ameritech.net

Chat About CHN's Top #144 Ranking: http://pub14.ezboard.com/fcollegehoopsnetfrm8

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