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14 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: California Golden Bears Preview

The Mark Fox era begins in Berkeley.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

California Golden Bears

  • Head Coach: Mark Fox (1st Season) | Overall: 0-0
  • Last Season: 8-23 (3-15) | Post-Season: None
  • Pac-12 Preseason Poll: 12th (35 Points)

Projected Starters

  • Paris Austin (Guard - Senior)
  • Matt Bradley (Guard - Sophomore)
  • Kareem South (Guard - Graduate)
  • Andre Kelly (Forward - Sophomore)
  • Lars Thiemann (Center - Freshman)

The Skinny

In late February 2017, Cuonzo Martin was the head coach at California, the Golden Bears had won 44 games in the previous two seasons and premier college talents like Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird, Charlie Moore and Jordan Mathews were all regulars in Berkeley.

In just two years, suddenly the Golden Bears are staring at a very different picture.

Martin left the program for Missouri, a number of players departed early for the NBA or transferred, and the successive Wyking Jones era was a shipwreck, seeing California post back-to-back 8 win campaigns as he attempted to spark the same excitement that Martin left behind. But it was to no avail after all, as over the 2019 off-season, Jones and the Golden Bears parted ways under strange circumstances and former Georgia head coach Mark Fox was hired to stabilize the program.

Fox will have to rebuild the Bears literally from the bottom up, as three of the squad’s top five scorers from last year in Justice Sueing (Ohio State), Darius McNeill (SMU) and Connor Vanover (Arkansas) have already left town.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M CC at St. Mary’s
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi transfer Kareem South will need to be crucial for the Golden Bears.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Cal still has two double-digit scorers anchoring their backcourt in Paris Austin (11.6 PPG) and Matt Bradley (10.8 PPG) and they’ll also add Texas A&M-Corpus Christi grad transfer Kareem South (13.8 PPG) to the mix, which should be enough to sure up the guard spots.

However, up-front, the team is a complete mess of unproven options and unheralded pieces being thrust into increased roles.

One bright spot that could emerge is undersized four man Andre Kelly (6.3 PPG), who snagged 3.7 rebounds per contest on the team last season, the best returning mark, while also shooting an efficient 55.1% from the field. Although, Fox will need more from Australian big man Grant Anticevich (2.7 PPG), as well as a pair of towering freshman in fellow Aussie Kuany Kuany and German seven-footer Lars Thiemann.

To add to their uphill fight, the Golden Bears schedule will do them no favors, as their non-conference slate includes games against Boston College, Duke, Fresno State, Harvard, Saint Mary’s, Texas or Georgetown and UNLV.

Four Non-Conference Games To Watch

  • 11/21 v. Duke* (2K Empire Classic)
  • 11/22 v. Texas/Georgetown* (2K Empire Classic)
  • 12/14 v. Saint Mary’s
  • 12/29 v. Harvard

15 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball Countdown