Men's Basketball Opens Practice Friday
Oct. 14, 2009
BERKELEY - Head coach Mike Montgomery leads California into the 2009-10 season, as the Golden Bears will have their first official workout session of the campaign on Friday, Oct. 16, at Haas Pavilion.
One of the most successful collegiate coaches in the game, Montgomery has turned the Cal program around in just one year, helping the Bears return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. He has produced a 569-255 record (.691), which is the 10th-most victories among active Division I coaches. Montgomery has four starters returning from last season.
Led by All-Pac-10 senior guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, Cal finished the 2008-09 season with an overall record of 22-11 (11-7, Pac-10) and tied for third in the conference with Arizona State.
Last season, both Randle and Christopher reached the 1,000-point plateau in the same game. Randle, who was named the team's MVP last season, shattered the single-season record for three-pointers, swishing 82. He knocked down eight of those treys at Arizona. Christopher finished second on the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) after Randle, and turned in four consecutive 20-point performances. He also tallied a career-high 29 points vs. USC.
Senior forward Theo Robertson returns to the court after spending most of last season as the nation's best three-point shooter. His efforts helped Cal lead the NCAA in three-point shooting for the entire year. Robertson shot .487 from beyond the arc and averaged 13.1 points overall.
Another key player is senior Jamal Boykin, who led the way for the Bears in rebounding all season, averaging 6.4 rpg. Boykin was also a key component in Cal's offense, as the transfer from Duke recorded five of the squad's seven double-doubles last year. His career shooting percentage of .521 ranks sixth all-time in school history.
Junior Harper Kamp earned his first career start last year and became a significant bench player for the Bears. He contributed 3.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg and provides a solid, fundamentally sound presence down low.
Returning to the mix are sophomore guards Jorge Gutierrez and D.J. Seeley. Gutierrez was a strong defender for Cal a season ago, leading the squad with 27 steals. Senior guard Nikola Knezevic brings veteran leadership to the backcourt.
The Bears welcome a trio of newcomers in freshmen Bak Bak and Brandon Smith, and junior-college transfer Markhuri Sanders-Frison. At Village Christian High School, Bak amassed 18.2 ppg and 11.7 rpg. Smith led his De La Salle squad in scoring, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while being named the MVP of the East Bay Athletic League. Sanders-Frison, who is listed at 6-8, 265 lbs and has two years of experience under his belt, will try to give the Bears a boost on the boards
In the front court, Cal returns 7-3 Max Zhang, who looks to contribute after a tremendous run with China in the World University Games this past summer, averaging 18.0 ppg and 17.3 rpg. Sophomore Omondi Amoke rounds out the roster, as the 6-7 forward will provide depth off the bench and help in the rebounding department.
Cal fans will get their first opportunity to see the Bears during an open scrimmage on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Montgomery's squad will hold a scrimmage open to the public approximately from 5-6 p.m. Immediately following the scrimmage, fans will have an autograph session with the players and coaches until 6:30 p.m.
Cal will then host Chico State in an exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears officially open their 2009-10 season Nov. 9 when they host Murray State at 8 p.m. at Haas as part of the regional portion of the 2009 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
Cal fans can purchase specially-priced ticket packs for the 2009-10 men's basketball season before single-game tickets become available to the general public. Fans can choose between a 7-Game Flex Pack for $161, which allows you to pick three nonconference and four conference games of your choice, or the Cal Fan 4-Pack for $110, which includes UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and one nonconference game of your choice. Other 7-Game Flex Pack and Cal Fan 4-Pack benefits include flexibility and savings over single-ticket prices.
To purchase your 7-Game Flex Pack or Cal Fan 4-Pack, click here.