California Week: Players Not ReturningPosted by Connor Pelton on June 20th, 2012
While California will return four different players from its 2011-12 seven-man rotation, there are three players who saw significant time last year that will be departing. The two players that coach Mike Montgomery will miss the most are seniors, but two promising guards will be transferring out of the program as well due to the logjam at the position. Below, we’ll take a look at the four players who have moved on from the program and how big of an impact their losses will have.
- Harper Kamp – The loss of Kamp will do the most damage early on in the 2012-13 season. Throughout stretches of last season’s campaign, Kamp was the only Bear in the low post who could score the ball consistently. Until the Bears are able to find a solid replacement for Kamp, they will struggle balancing out the already guard-heavy offense. Junior forward Richard Solomon will be the best immediate option as he had shown flashes of brilliance before being declared academically ineligible halfway through last season. Highly touted power forward signee Kaileb Rodriguez will also garner a lot of looks early on, where hopefully he’ll be able to hone his game against lesser competition before facing the rigors of a Pac-12 schedule. Kamp will likely go undrafted in the June 28 NBA Draft, but with his style of play, he will certainly end up competing professionally somewhere.
- Jorge Gutierrez – Anytime you lose the conference’s player of the year, it’s tough. Cal has always been deep at the guard position, but when shots weren’t falling, Gutierrez was the man you could rely on to knock down a clutch jumper. Even if his own shots weren’t going down, he still impacted the game through something else (steals, defense, etc.). If it wasn’t through just plain hustle (i.e., getting every lose ball in his general vicinity, choking defense), it was on the glass or finding the open man. The stats, even if they are ridiculous (13.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.1 APG), don’t begin to explain how much the guard will be missed for his hustle and heart.
- Emerson Murray – Murray was a curious case throughout his sophomore season. Some games the sophomore guard would come off the bench and be an integral part of coach Montgomery’s rotation, and in others he would only play garbage minutes. He showed a lot of potential with his best game coming on January 14 against Utah. Murray poured in 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in that game, but he only saw a combined four minutes in Cal’s next four games. His inconsistencies in playing time obviously frustrated the young player, and with the Bears adding two promising guards to this year’s roster, the Northwest native decided to transfer back home and try his hand at Seattle University.
- Alex Rossi – After redshirting in 2010-11 and playing a total of 16 minutes last year, there wasn’t any reason why Rossi was going to receive more minutes at a crowded guard position next season. Instead he has decided to transfer to Valparaiso, which is much closer to his hometown of Winnetka, Illinois. It will be interesting to see what kind of minutes he receives playing for a Horizon League school. When healthy, we have heard that Rossi is a pure shooter and lockdown defender, so he should receive a chance to work his way into the rotation at Valpo after a year of practice with the Crusaders.