Bears Host Two Exhibition Opponents

Nov. 11, 2002

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Exhibition #1
California Golden Bears vs. California All-Stars
Friday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion

Exhibition #2
California Golden Bears vs. EA Sports
Monday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion

Cal takes to the Haas Pavilion court for the first time this season when the Golden Bears host the California All-Stars in an exhibition game Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Cal will also play EA Sports at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 in Haas Pavilion before officially getting the year underway at New Mexico Nov. 23.

This season, the Bears return eight lettermen, including two starters, from their 2001-02 squad that finished 23-9 overall, tied for second place in the Pac-10 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Seniors Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers, Cal's top two scorers a year ago, lead the group. Shipp, a 6-5 forward who averaged a team-high 14.8 ppg, is also the Bears' leading returning rebounder (4.7 rpg), shot blocker (18) and assist man (53).

At the opposite wing, the 6-5 Wethers is back for his final campaign after pouring in 10.3 ppg last season. He has increased his scoring rate every season with the Bears, after contributing 5.5 ppg as a freshman and 8.5 ppg as a sophomore.

Amit Tamir, a 6-11 sophomore forward, has bulked up to 260 pounds for this year and is Cal's most experienced big man. Tamir, who averaged 9.9 ppg as a rookie, scorched the nets for 39 points in a double overtime win over Oregon last Feb. 9 - the fifth-highest single-game total in school history.

At point guard, junior A.J. Diggs has the inside track for starting duties after leading the Bears with 47 steals last season. Voted the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-10 by Athlon magazine, Diggs worked on improving his offensive production during the off-season.

Other returning players to watch include 6-6 junior forward Conor Famulener and 6-7 redshirt-freshman wing Erik Bond. Famulener attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp of the summer, while Bond is anxious to return to the court after undergoing ankle surgery last fall.

The Bears also hope to get senior guard Donte Smith and junior center Gabriel Hughes into the rotation soon. Smith is rehabilitating from surgery on his quadriceps and is out until the start of Pac-10 play in January, while Hughes expects to return to practice later this week after missing a couple of weeks with a herniated disk in his back.

With nine newcomers - four scholarship players and five walk-ons - fans should expect to see a number of new faces in the lineup, especially during the exhibition games. Point guard Richard Midgley is progressing from a strained quadriceps tendon and is close to 100 percent, while his Modesto Christian High School teammate, David Paris, gives Cal a physical presence inside with his 6-9, 260-pound frame.

Center Rod Benson and forward Jordi Geli Vilardell will also get an opportunity to display their skills this week.

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