The California Golden Bears are building a more-than-solid basketball program out west. It is easy for east coast folk (which I am one) to overlook a program whose games are on way past their bedtime. Still, that does not mean that Cal hasn’t been building a program that is becoming increasingly steady in the Pac 12 as well as one who brings in top-tier recruits in each offseason.
One of the recruits that Mike Montgomery has joining the team for next season is Jabari Bird. Cal is going to ask a lot form Bird next season since the team will be losing some key players — most notably Allen Crabbe.
For those of you who are unaware of Bird’s exploits: he is an explosive shooting guard whose athleticism helps him put the ball in the basket. Most recruiting websites have him listed as the eighth-best player at his position as well as having unlimited potential.
I guess what they are trying to say is that Bird has a chance to be really special.
Bird is going to have the chance to play right away for the Golden Bears. Heck, Montgomery will need Bird to live up to his hype with the absence of Crabbe. The question going forward will be if Bird will be able to have an immediate enough impact to help Cal duplicate or surpass last season’s success.
I am not like the many who want to anoint players I have never seen as the next big thing. Sure, it is really fun to pin a program’s hopes and dreams on a guy we have never seen before but have been told is special. However, if anything about Bird that I learned through recruiting websites is true, Cal will be more than alright next season.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone