2016-2017 Season Review
The third (and final) year of the Cuonzo Martin era at Cal saw the Golden Bears just miss the NCAA Tournament, as they were one of the first four teams out of the field. The Bears went 21-13 (10-8) and just didn’t have the marquee wins to get them into the field. Their best win was a one point victory at USC in January. They fell in the semi-finals of the Pac-12 Tournament to Oregon and then were upset in the first round of the NIT by Cal State Bakersfield, 73-66. After the season, Cuonzo Martin left to take the Missouri job and Wyking Jones was hired to be the new head coach at Cal.
It was an off-season of departures for Cal and it started with head coach Cuonzo Martin. After just three seasons, Martin resigned the day after the loss to Bakersfield and took the Missouir head job the same day. In three seasons at Cal, Martin lead the team to a 62-39 record and one NCAA Tournament. It was the losses on the court that are going to greatly felt this season. The Golden Bears lost 86.0% of their scoring from last season, whether it be to graduation, the NBA or the transfer market. Jabari Bird graduated after a senior season in which he led the team in scoring with 14.3 PPG. Bird also grabbed 4.7 RPG and hit 65 threes. 6’11 Ivan Rabb declared for the NBA Draft after a sophomore campaign that saw him earn First Team All Pac-12 honors. Rabb averaged a double-double, putting up 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG. After just one year at Cal, guard Charlie Moore decided to transfer to Kansas. Moore put up 12.2/2.0/3.5 during his freshman season. 7’1 big man Kameron Rooks also transferred, as he heads to San Diego State as a graduate transfer. In 17.1 MPG last season Rooks averaged 4.9 PPG and 4.5 RPG. Grant Mullins graduated after hitting 71 threes at a 43.0% clip to go along with a 10.3/3.2/2.0 line, while Sam Singer also graduated after the guard put up 4.5 PPG during his senior season. Stephen Domingo and Roger Moute a Bidias were also lost to graduation. The 6’7 Domingo played 13.5 MPG, while Moute a Bidias played 11.9 MPG.
Kingsley Okoroh played the most minutes of any returner, seeing 21.2 MPG last season. The 7’1 senior scored 4.6 PPG and grabbed 5.5 RPG for the Golden Bears. 6’2 junior guard Don Coleman averaged 4.6 PPG in 11.4 MPG. Senior forward Cole Welle, sophomore forward Roman Davis, senior guard Nick Hamilton and sophomore guard Kodo Kurdoghlian played just 13 MPG combined last season. The Golden Bears also bring back 5’8 RS junior Brandon Chauca, who missed last season with a broken wrist and played in 9 games as a sophomore in 2015-2016.
The Golden Bears have a new head coach in Wyking Jones, who will be a head coach for the first time in his career. Jones has been an assistant at Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, New Mexico, Louisville and was an assistant at Cal the past two seasons. As for incoming freshman, Juhwan Harris-Dyson leads the way for the 2017 recuriting class. The #32 SG according to 247Sports, JHD is an athletic, versatile guard that has good finishing ability. Justice Sueing is the #40 PF in the 2017 class. Sueing is a smart player with a nice 6’7 frame that has the ability to knock down perimeter shots. Former Iowa State commit Darius McNeill flipped his commitment to Cal. McNeill is a three star gaurd that is athletic and handles the ball well. Austin McCullough is also a three star guard that is a versatile shooter. Grant Anticevich is a 6’8, three star forward from Australia that has a seven foot wingspan. Rounding out the recruiting class is Deschon Winston, a three star guard. The Golden Bears will also have Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee eligible to play this season. The 6’9 senior sat out last season after playing 21.8 MPG for Kentucky in 2015-2016. Lee started 20 games and averaged 6.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG. He’ll help fill the void the departure of Ivan Rabb leaves.
Cal hasn’t had a losing season since 2006-2007, but that will most likely change this season. There’s just way too much roster turnover and inexperience on the team to be a player in the Pac-12 this season. Wyking Jones definitely has a bit of a rebuild on his hands. Expect the Bears to finish at or near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings.