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12 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: Can Cal Escape the Cellar?

Cal heads into yet another “rebuilding” year with a talent deprived roster that could lead to a long season....

California v Stanford Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The California Golden Bears are a hard team to find any positives for heading into the Men’s Basketball season. That sounds brutal and I’m terribly sorry to our friends at California Golden Blogs (because they’re pretty cool dudes, which makes this even worse), but I think even they might admit this as well.

Cal won 8 games last season. Total. They won a quarter of all of their games in 2018, and only 2 conference games. That isn’t great. And to make matters worse, Cal lost 2 of their top 3 players last season. The only meaningful addition during the offseason came in the form of transfer Paris Austin from Boise State.

The positive for Cal is that they will boast 3 very talented sophomores in Darius McNeall, Juhwan Harris-Dyson, and Justice Sueing. Cal will lean heavily on these 3 players to get the team going and turn their fortunes around. In addition, Cal usually boasts a strong defense year in and year out, and that should be no different this season. The best case for this team is that all these young players take big steps forward, and Cal manages to finish in the top 6 of the rankings.

California v Stanford Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Now, remember how I mentioned how Cal has been a solid defensive team over the years? Well, it’s the exact opposite for the offense. Cal has a weak and inefficient offense, and scoring will most likely be an issue again for them this season. Wyking Jones and his staff focus heavily on internal development for their young players, and that means scoring can dry up quickly when their young sophomores aren’t getting the job done. In addition, Cal will have one of the smaller rosters in the entire Pac-12, as the tallest player on the team comes in at 6’8”. The lack of size is a problem that could (and most likely will) affect their rebounding efficiency as the season progresses.

Cal has some talent, but the problem is that they are poorly coached and the talent isn’t deep enough to survive the tumultuous season in the Pac-12. Cal will most likely finish up the season in the bottom 4 for the conference this season. It is hard to see them overcoming their youth, size, and scoring deficiency to make any serious noise in the conference.

Player To Know: Justice Sueing (Forward)

Justice Sueing emerged as one of the most consistent players on the Cal squad in his freshman campaign. During his first season in the NCAA, Sueing averaged 13.8 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. In 5 separate games last season, Sueing eclipsed 20 points for Cal, so he has a knack for finding the bucket

The kid is a gifted finesse player with a mentality to take over any game. He has a gift for making plays, and Cal turned to him often down the stretch, as he was tied for most minutes played on the Cal roster.

Even though Cal’s horrendous record may hold him back from winning any major awards as well as receiving national attention, Justice Sueing is a tremendous player. His freshman campaign may just be a teaser of what may become a star player in the Pac-12 conference

NCAA Basketball: Washington at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

3 Key Non-Conference Games

  • 11/9 v. Yale* (Pac-12 China Game)
  • 12/1 at Saint Mary’s
  • 12/8 v San Diego State