With Allen Crabbe making the decision this past spring to enter the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cal Golden Bears needed to figure out how they’d account for the 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game the Pac-12 Player of the Year provided. However despite this key personnel loss the Golden Bears are one of the teams expected to factor into the Pac-12 race this season, with the combination of senior point guard Justin Cobbs and McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Jabari Bird being two of the most prominent reasons.
In his second season at Cal since transferring in from Minnesota, Cobbs posted averages of 15.1 points and 4.8 assists per game in 2012-13, and amongst players who factored into at least 24% of their team’s possessions the Los Angeles native ranked seventh in the conference in offensive efficiency. As for Bird, the Salesian High School (Richmond, Calif.) native averaged 17.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for a school that went 100-8 in his three seasons at the varsity level.
Accounting for Crabbe’s production will be difficult despite the fact that Mike Montgomery’s team has plenty of talent, with sophomore Tyrone Wallace and big men David Kravish and Richard Solomon also factoring into the rotation. And with Cobbs and Bird at the two guard spots, Cal should be in good shape.
Earlier this week Yay Area’s Finest put together some highlights of the two playing in the San Francisco Pro-Am this summer, and the video certainly doesn’t lack entertainment-wise.
Does Cal have the Pac-12’s most exciting backcourt? An argument can be made but the same can be said for a number of schools in the league, including Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. If anything, the fact that Pac-12 fans can have such arguments should be seen as a positive, especially when considering where the conference’s basketball product was two years ago.