California Week: Several Newcomers Join the Bear Roster, Two of Whom Should Have an Immediate Impact

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 23rd, 2012

After losing not only the Pac-12 Defensive and Player of the Year at guard, but also the leading scorer in the post, California will turn to the newcomers for a spark on both sides of the ball. Ricky Kreklow leads this group, already having experience after playing a year at Missouri before transferring to the Bay Area. Alongside the sharpshooter that sat out last season, Mike Montgomery will turn to incoming freshman Tyrone Wallace to help add depth to a solid but shallow rotation. Below we’ll take a look at these those who will be playing their first seasons in Berkeley, and gauge what type of impact they could have and what type of role they might play in their first year.

  • Ricky Kreklow, Sophomore, Wing, 6’6” 220 lbs, Missouri – If there ever was a guy to fill in for the loss of Jorge Gutierrez, it’s Kreklow. And while those are big words, Kreklow proved he’s the right man for the job all of last season while practicing with the team. The best thing about Kreklow is his scrappiness. Rather than being a lock-down defender, Kreklow specializes in the type of pesky, “come up from behind and knock the ball lose” type of defense. And if that ball does come lose, you can bet that Kreklow will be the first one on the floor to get it. The wing/combo guard averaged 0.6 SPG while at Missouri, which is especially good considering that he only played an average of 9.8 MPG. However, Kreklow’s biggest contributions will come on the offensive end. He will play a similar role to the one that fellow guards Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs played in 2011-12, which kept opposing defenses from solely concentrating on Gutierrez. This season, Crabbe will step in to pick up the points that Jorge left behind, and Kreklow will have to prove himself as a viable threat from three-point range in order to free up Crabbe.

The Missouri Transfer’s Long Arms Should Annoy Pac-12 Guards All Season Long. (credit: Prker Eshelman)

  • Tyrone Wallace, Freshman, Combo Guard, 6’4” 180 lbs, Bakersfield High School, Bakersfield, CA – After losing five guards since January of 2011 (Emerson Murray, Alex Rossi, Nigel Carter, and Gary Franklin transferred, Gutierrez graduated), Wallace will have to play a bigger role than originally thought in his first season with the Golden Bears. A point guard by trade, Wallace will likely see more minutes at wing in 2012-13 due to Rossi’s transfer to Valparaiso. That, and as “LeonPowe” of California Golden Blogs put it, “I think unless you’re Jason Kidd (or Derrick Rose or John Wall), point guard is a difficult place to be as a freshman.” Called by many to be an “opportunistic scorer”, the wing will be a good place for Wallace to gain Pac-12 experience as he comes off the bench. However, don’t rule out Wallace gaining solid minutes at the point, either. As it is with most incoming freshman, a good October of practicing with the team could show the coaching staff that he is ready immediately to leap Brandon Smith on the depth chart and backup Cobbs. Read the rest of this entry »
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California Week: What To Expect In 2012-13

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 22nd, 2012

After a week’s worth of breaking down the Golden Bears, it is time to give a way-too-early preview as to their chances in 2012-13. With five newcomers, three of whom are expected to play very big roles, and five returnees who will carry an even bigger load than they did last season, there are plenty of questions whose answers will remain unknown until we get a chance to see this team in action. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions. Simulating basketball in our minds is the closest we’re going to get to the real thing until late October, so here we go.

Cal’s Leading ScorerAllen Crabbe. The one-two punch of Crabbe and Justin Cobbs will have opposing defenses scrambling all night long. Cobbs can definitely score the ball, but the Bears are better with him distributing. With Cobbs dropping dimes to Crabbe, sharpshooting transfer Ricky Kreklow, and incoming freshman Tyrone Wallace, defenses will eventually be so preoccupied with the trio of shooting guards that they forget about the point guard. That’s when he can make his move. Similar to last season, this will be a team with balanced scoring. Crabbe, Cobbs, Kreklow, Kravish, and Solomon could all be averaging 8+ PPG by season’s end.

The Potential On This Year’s Roster Should Have Cal Fans Packing Haas Pavilion On A Regular Basis, Like On This Unknown Night When Jordan Farmar Is Attempting To Convert A Jumper Into The Teeth Of The Straw Hat Band. (credit: Arun Nevader)

Cal’s MVPJustin Cobbs. Just as Cobbs could very well win the scoring title, Crabbe could very well be the team MVP. But we already named Crabbe as the leading scorer, and taking two titles is just plain selfish. If Cobbs can find that balance we were talking about above of taking only good shots and always looking to pass first, he will be by far the most important part of coach Mike Montgomery’ s offense. And as we all know, defense may win championships, but good offense wins MVP awards.

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Big 12 Team Previews: Missouri Tigers

Posted by dnspewak on November 9th, 2011

Predicted finish: 5th

2010-11 Record: 23-11, 8-8 (5th, Big 12)

Head coach: Frank Haith, first season

Key losses: Justin Safford (6.4 PPG), Ricky Kreklow (2.1 PPG), Laurence Bowers- (11.6 PPG, injury)

It’s amazing the Missouri Tigers are still standing. After experiencing one of the roughest offseasons in recent memory, it’s a wonder MU didn’t simply fold its basketball program up and leave it for dead. First, in March, head coach Mike Anderson left for Arkansas, just weeks after telling a local sportswriter he planned to retire in Columbia (Firestorm #1). Then, several reporters erroneously reported this spring that athletic director Mike Alden had hired Purdue’s Matt Painter (Firestorm #2); when that didn’t materialize, Alden announced the hiring of Frank Haith, a coach who had gone 43-69 in ACC play at Miami (Firestorm #3). Later in the summer, a Yahoo! Sports investigation of the Hurricanes’ athletic programs accused Haith’s staff of paying $10,000 to a recruit (Firestorm #4), and there’s still no closure on that case. And, last but not least, starting forward Laurence Bowers tore his ACL this fall (Firestorm #5). He’s out for the season. After all that, Missouri is still ranked #25 in the preseason polls. That’s because the Tigers bring back a veteran group, headlined by terrific guard play and Big 12 Player of the Year candidate Marcus Denmon.

Marcus Denmon Is an Unselfish Star. (AP/M. Schiefelbein)

The Stars: It’s rare to find a star like Denmon. He’s one of the nation’s top three-point shooters and can score almost at will, but he’s sometimes criticized for playing too unselfishly. That’s part of his game, though. Denmon rarely forces a bad shot, but when he does, it usually goes in. He scores within the flow of the offense, he passes well, he plays tough defense, he rebounds in traffic, and he hustles his tail off. It’s almost as if Denmon is a star with a role player’s attitude, and that’s exactly the way Frank Haith would prefer it. This team feeds off Denmon’s work ethic and leadership, and his 16.9 PPG and 44.8% from three-point land doesn’t hurt, either.

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Around The Blogosphere: July 26, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 26th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • The Death of Desmond Allison: The former Kentucky Wildcat, who was a high school star in Tampa before his two controversial seasons in Lexington, was shot yesterday in Columbus, Ohio. (Kentucky Sports Radio: News and Retrospective)
  • KFC Yum Center named one of world’s top arenas: “In its first year of existence, the KFC Yum Center (you forgot the exclamation point, bro) is already being honored as one of the world’s top arenas. Pollstar, a trade publication covering the worldwide concert industry, tabbed the Yum Center as the 24th-best arena in the world and 10th best in the United States in its 2011 mid-year rankings.” (Card Chronicle)
  • Ricky Kreklow reportedly chooses Cal: “For the past few weeks, rumors have been swirling that Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow would be the newest addition to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He visited campus a few weeks ago and most fans were simply waiting for confirmation he would join the team. Well, we can cancel all that.  Kreklow has decided to transfer to Mike Montgomery and Cal.” (The Slipper Still Fits)
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