Cal Hosts LA Stars in Exhibition Opener

Oct. 30, 2000


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California gets its first test of the 2000-01 season when the Golden Bears play the first of two exhibition games Thursday night against the Los Angeles Stars. Cal will later host a team representing EA Sports Nov. 9 before getting the regular season underway Nov. 13 vs. Mississippi State in the opening round of the Preseason NIT.

Despite sporting another roster dominated by underclassmen, the Bears return each of their Top 9 scorers from last year's team, which finished 18-15 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10, advancing to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.

Leading the way is senior forward Sean Lampley, who averaged 16.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg in 1999-2000 on his way to earning first team All-Pac-10 honors. Lampley also shot better than 50 percent from the field (50.8%) and ranked second on the squad with 3.1 assists per game. With 1,171 career points, he has a chance to become Cal's all-time leading scorer by the end of the year, needing 518 points to pass Lamond Murray's total of 1,688.

The Bears next five leading returning scorers are sophomores. Point guard Shantay Legans averaged 9.4 ppg as a freshman last year and ranked among the Pac-10 leaders in three-point shooting (42.7%), free throw shooting (85.7%), assists (3.7 apg) and steals (1.5 apg).

The remainder of the sophomore class includes forward Joe Shipp (9.1 ppg), center Nick Vander Laan (8.5 ppg), guard Donte Smith (6.2 ppg) and guard/forward Brian Wethers (5.5 ppg).

Cal's junior class features center Solomon Hughes, who blocked 36 shots a year ago, and guard Dennis Gates, a defensive stalwart who had 48 steals in his career. In addition, Ryan Forehan-Kelly is a former walk-on who emerged as a key performer in '99-00 with 11 starts to his credit.

Cal also added four players to the roster for 2000-01: 6-10 Gabriel Hughes, younger brother of Solomon Hughes, 6-11 Saulius Kuzminskas from Lithuania and walk-ons A.J. Diggs and Conor Famulener.

Rounding out the roster is senior guard Morgan Lingle. Like Forehan-Kelly, he is a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship for the 2000-01 season.

As a team, the Bears have been picked to finish in the middle of the Pac-10 race by most preseason publications. However, the majority of those also predict Cal to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997 after NIT appearances in both 1999 and 2000.

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