Jabari Bird


Cal guard Jabari Bird has a stress fracture

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Cal sophomore guard Jabari Bird has missed the last six games with a foot injury.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jeff Faraudo of the Mercury News spoke to Bill Mellis, Bird’s former coach at Salesian High (California), who told him that the 6-foot-6 guard has suffered a stress fracture and the recovery process has taken longer than initially expected.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” Mellis told the San Jose Mercury News. “There’s got to be some level of frustration to it, but he’ll be fine.”

A Cal spokesperson told Faraudo that the injury is day-to-day while head coach Cuonzo Martin has previously said that Bird should be ready to go for conference play, which for the Golden Bears begins on Friday, Jan. 2 against Washington.

Bird was averaging 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but has been sidelined since Nov. 30 following a 64-57 win over Fresno State.

Cal had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Monday by No. 2 Wisconsin.

California takes a step forward in comfortable win over No. 23 Syracuse

Cuonzo Martin, David Kravish
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The Cuonzo Martin era at California got off to a good start, with the Golden Bears picking up comfortable victories over Alcorn State and Kennesaw State. But with all due respect to those two teams, the Golden Bears’ matchup with No. 23 Syracuse in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic in New York was going to reveal a lot more about Cal than either of those prelims have.

Thanks to a stretch late in the first half in which they knocked down four three-pointers, the Golden Bears took control of a game they would eventually win by the final score of 73-59. What’s helped Martin thus far is the amount of talent that remained in Berkeley following the retirement of Mike Montgomery, and against the Orange those players stepped forward to turn a competitive game into a comfortable victory.

The Golden Bears were able to find gaps in the Syracuse zone, shooting 8-for-19 from three and 50 percent from inside of the arc. And of their 26 made field goals 20 were assisted, with reserve guard Sam Singer accounting for eight of the assists. Cal didn’t settle for long jumpers, which is something many teams do when facing Syracuse, and the strategy paid off.

Jabari Bird was responsible for two of the four three-pointers during that decisive first half run, and Jordan Mathews scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half. Add in senior forward David Kravish, who accounted for 12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks, and junior point guard Tyrone Wallace (ten points, five assists), and four of Cal’s five starters finished the game in double figures.

With Wallace being a junior and both Bird and Mathews being sophomores, they can be valuable pieces for Martin not only this season but in the future as well. Cal won’t be the deepest of teams, especially in the front court as a result of the knee injury suffered by Kameron Rooks, but they’ve still got plenty of skill.

Syracuse has a host of issues to address, and Thursday’s result served as a reminder of how much production (and talent) they lost from last year’s team. But that shouldn’t take away from what California accomplished. In front of a pro-Syracuse crowd and against Jim Boeheim’s famed 2-3 zone, Cuonzo Martin’s Golden Bears took an important step forward in their development as a team.

College Basketball Talk’s Top 100 Players: Nos. 100-81 #CBTTop100

Derrick Walton Jr. (AP Photo)
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