Men's Basketball Practice Begins Saturday

Oct. 17, 2003

BERKELEY - The Cal men's basketball team beings preparation for the 2003-04 season when the Golden Bears take to the court Saturday, Oct. 18 for the first day practice.

Head coach Ben Braun will welcome back 11 lettermen from last year - including three starters - plus four outstanding freshmen.

The Bears, who were 22-9 last season, will be seeking a fourth straight 20-win campaign and a school record-tying fourth consecutive berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Already, several publications have tabbed Cal for their preseason Top 25, including Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, which lists the Bears 25th.

The Bears will play two exhibition games - Monday, Nov. 10 vs. Athletes in Action and Friday, Nov. 14 vs. EA Sports - before opening the regular season against Cal Poly on Friday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. in Haas Pavilion.

Leading the returning group is senior forward Amit Tamir, an All-Pac-10 and first team Pac-10 All-Academic choice in 2003. The 6-10 Tamir averaged 14.9 ppg and a team-high 6.5 rpg last year. He also paced the squad with 61 three-pointers, shooting 39.4 percent from behind the arc.

The other two starters back are senior center Gabriel Hughes and sophomore guard Richard Midgley. Hughes paced the Bears with 32 blocks a year ago, and he was at his best in the NCAA Tournament when he scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Cal's first-round victory over North Carolina State.

Midgley was a Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection after averaging 9.2 ppg. He set a school freshman record by shooting 44.9 percent from three-point range (44-for-98), a figure that ranked second in the conference overall.

Forward Conor Famulener and guard A.J. Diggs join Tamir and Hughes to complete the senior class, while the remaining returning players are all sophomores: Erik Bond, David Paris, Rod Benson, Jordi Geli, Martin Smith and Joe Abrahams.

Cal's incoming freshman class of forwards Leon Powe and Dominic McGuire, guard/forward Marquise Kately and guard Ayinde Ubaka has been ranked in the Top 10 by almost every recruiting service. Powe (first team) and Ubaka (second team) were both Parade All-Americans last season, while Kately is a former California state Player of the Year out of San Francisco's Riordan High School, and McGuire is a 6-7 wing who once had 18 blocks in a game.

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