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Alajiki definitely has some skill, but I can't imagine the Bears win too many games when Anticevich doesn't register a point.

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Anticevich can shoot when not bothered, but can't create his own shots. and has trouble getting open against higher caliber athletes. Last night he appeared statuesque.

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yeah, Pac12 coaches know a key to beating Cal is to not let Grant go off, and since he can't create his own shot against Pac12 defenders, that is not difficult to do. He still has been playing solid fundamental defense and rebounding, but his scoring is way down... and that's bad news for Cal

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Grant's still getting some open looks...he's just missing them. Shooting slumps are magnified for a guy that struggles to create his own shot...

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agree, including wide open shots. I think he doesn't know how open he is sometimes and rushes those shots

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Maybe, maybe not, AK...Grant has kind of played himself into a slightly lesser role with the past 3 weeks of struggles, especially on the offensive end....not coincidentally, as the schedule has gotten more challenging. But he's really having trouble guarding wings, and the bigs are giving him trouble as well.

It's not hard to see that Alajiki brings a lot to the table and probably needs to be on the court more...those minutes are going to come at someone's expense. You'd love to see the young guys get plenty of minutes.

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And that comes back to the point on recruiting.

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I'm wrestling with something. It is just me or is the difference between the top, mid and lower teams greater than before? I don't recall feeling so helpless against the top teams. I remember going to the game when Oregon State beat top 10 Arizona in Corvallis, and though it was an upset, it wasn't such a huge deal. Right now, it feels like why bother playing the games. And this is not a criticism of Cal, but a reflection on the NCAA. I think recruiting has gone National and the top talent is concentrated more densely in a few places. The result is a less interesting league and sport.

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Cal routinely beat UCLA (thanks, Steve Lavin!) when I first attended so it is frustrating to feel like the Bears are now powerless against them.

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yeah, the game where Jorge single-handedly took UCLA apart scoring 25 points in everyday possible, and the game that Crabbe & Co ran them off the court in a rout

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Yeah, we're getting into such a long period of incompetence that you're gonna start seeing some of those "Cal hasn't beat UCLA in x tries"; "Cal hasn't beat AZ since X"; "Cal hasn't been to tourney since?" It reminds me of when my folks started dragging me to Cal games in 79/80. Felt like we were a Pac-10 program in name only. We were outclassed, but at least we had Harmon, which made even a thrashing entertaining.

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You don't recall feeling so helpless because our program is really THAT bad now, so feel free to criticize us. When you add it up, we've probably been the worst P5 program over the last five years. That's hard to do. I don't think this is going to change under the current administration. Though I also agree there's less parity in the conference this year between the top, middle and bottom. Maybe the regional talent is not sticking around as much or UCLA, AZ and USC are just that good? Personally I think the top has kept pace while the non-premier conference programs have just gotten worse.

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RemovedJan 28, 2022·edited Jan 28, 2022
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In the Sam Alajiki fan club, I'm at the "bring in the giant cutout" membership level.

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Jan 28, 2022·edited Jan 28, 2022

I think a lot of people have been on the Alajiki train, at least the ones that have actually been watching the games. Every time he hit the court, he would do something good...hit a 3, play solid D, grab a board. He has a nose for the ball.

One look at his size and athleticism shows you the kid belongs. If his buddy Okafor can make an impact next year as a FR, they'll have some ballplayers.

Opening day lineup next year.....Joel, Celestine, Kuany, Alajiki, Thiemann...but Fox is right - they've got to defend better. And for a team that doesn't force turnovers, they can't afford to lose track of their assignments as often as they do.

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I predict they'll get a starting big man through the portal in the offseason. I'm a Lars hype-man, but even I think his ultimate form is coming off the bench for a productive 15 minutes a game.

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Jan 28, 2022·edited Jan 28, 2022

Not sure they have a free scholarship. They may have to get back to 13 schollie's next year, so even if they lose 4, they only have 2 available, which they've used.

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Someone's transferring out. We joke about Hyder, but it would not surprise me. Bowser/Thorpe/Klonaras may all choose to reset themselves in a different environment.

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And I don't imply any of this as a "sky is falling" scenario. That's a different discussion. I think the environment now lends itself to players moving between programs until something sticks.

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Jan 29, 2022·edited Jan 29, 2022

I'm not 100% certain, as it was news to me as well, but we know that the NCAA gave everyone an extra year of eligibility from COVID, which allowed Grant and Makale to come back for another year, and to get Shepherd. Does this mean Kelly has another year of eligibility...will he stay at Cal another year??? Dunno.

This does not appear to be the case next year, tho, so even as Cal loses Grant, Makale, AK and Shepherd, they really only have 2 spots to fill, which they've used to sign Okafor and Grant Newell.

I would love it if Andre Kelly returned, but if he doesn't, I don't believe that is an available scholarship to give someone else.

And there will be transfers....there always are.

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I also think Lars is a solid recruit who's improved each year. We have an undersized front court, so his size is needed... but yeah, he will continue to be a 15 minute/game role player

As for the two 'bigs' coming in ... they looks like 3s to me, with one of them perhaps a undersized 4

Both look similar in size and athleticism to the two freshmen who also are 3s

Plus it's tough to sign a good transfer impact big unless you're one of the power teams

We also lose Sheperd and 2 shooters (Grant and Foreman) so we will be light on front court scoring, shooters, and a player who can make their own shots

I'm not optimistic about next year unless something big changes in the offseason

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Jan 29, 2022·edited Jan 29, 2022

Newell is a wing...6'7" with some length, tho he doesn't really shoot it very well from outside, unfortunately. He figures to be a back end of rotation guy initially, probably slotting in behind Obinna...he figures to have plenty of DNP-Coach's Decision.

ND Okafor is definitely more of a back to the basket player, down low on the block...he's not a wing like the A & A boys from this year - the more PT ND gets next year, the better things will be, IMHO, because it means he's ready to bang. His film from the FIBA <16 showed decent size, which he's added to in 2+ years.

As for Lars...he seems one of the softer 7'-ers you'll find, and he's still not skilled enough to be an impact P12-caliber big man, but I gotta hand it to him: he DID improve between his SO and JR year...with similar improvement going into his SR year (i.e. converting more jump hooks near the tin & actually securing more boards that he gets his hands on), there's NO reason he can't give you 5 ppg/4 rpg in about 15 mins, especially with the improved FT stroke. But will he ever be good enough to be a rotation guy on a quality team...who knows.

A few big questions for next year's team:

1. Will Andre Kelly be back for his COVID 5th year or will he grad-transfer to a better team to get a taste of March? (very likely transfer)...I doubt he returns....why would he if he's graduated with the Cal degree already....go play at Oklahoma or something and get some Tournament action.

2. Will Thorpe & Bowser return, and if so, will they give you anything after sitting out a year? Along with Klonaras and Hyder, too much of the roster does not give you anything other than garbage time minutes.

This is the worst stretch of Cal basketball of my lifetime, and unfortunately, there's too many holes on this roster, with too suspect of a coaching staff, to expect anything other than another 10th-12th place Conference finish.

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