Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com
A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.
Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.
Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.
The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.
One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.
Cal will be without big man Kameron Rooks for the next 4-to-6 weeks as he will have knee surgery, according to multiple reports.
The 7-foot-2 junior was a key rotation player for the Golden Bears last year and has appeared in four games this season before the injury. Rooks was putting up 6.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 21.8 minutes, so he was productive playing only about half of every game.
Rooks left Friday’s win over Wyoming and didn’t return. He previously had a torn ACL that cost Rooks the 2014-15 season. Cal is also missing senior wing Jabari Bird right now as he’s been dealing with back spasms.
The Golden Bears are dealing with injuries early in the season but freshman point guard Charlie Moore is playing well and sophomore Ivan Rabb has looked like one of the Pac 12’s best players by averaging over 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Cal opened its season with a win over South Dakota State on Friday night as the victory came without preseason All-American big man Ivan Rabb.
Rabb, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, sat out the game to rest a sprained toe that happened two weeks ago during a closed scrimmage with Saint Mary’s. According to a report from Jeff Faraudo of The Mercury News, Rabb was not cleared to play on Friday as the team is listing him as day-to-day.
“Hard to say when we expect him back. I don’t think he’ll be out long,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said to reporters after the win. “He’s been in practice but not contact.”
Without Rabb, Cal cruised to an 82-55 victory as they jumped out to an early 21-5 lead and never looked back. South Dakota State made it an eight-point game in the second half but the Golden Bears made another 30-3 run to close out strong.
It’s obvious to say that Cal is going to need Rabb to compete for the Pac-12 title this season but they have to be encouraged by how well their defense played without him. Holding any team to 11 minutes without a field goal is impressive and it looks like the Golden Bears might be a better defensive team than I thought.
When you also factor that freshman point guard Charlie Moore — who started on Friday — didn’t shoot very well, this Cal team can still make a lot of improvements going forward.
One of the top prospects in the Class of 2017 announced on Monday that he’s trimmed his list down to eight schools. 6-foot-10 power forward Wendell Carter Jr., a native of Atlanta, revealed his final list Monday afternoon on Twitter with some of the nation’s best programs making the cut.
The final eight schools in the running for Carter’s commitment are Arizona, California, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The power forward position in the Class of 2017 is loaded, with Carter joining the likes of DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba at the head of the class. Seeing perennial powers on Carter’s list comes as no surprise given his skill level, with both in-state power conference programs still in the mix as well. The inclusion of Harvard may surprise some, but Carter’s performance in the classroom has opened that door for him should he choose to go that route.
Something else to keep in mind when it comes to Carter’s recruitment: how guard Gary Trent Jr. approaches his recruitment. It’s been reported in the past that the two friends are hoping to attend the same school. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, as recruiting tends to be a fluid situation, but it is something to consider as Carter, Trent and the rest of this class makes its decisions as to where they’ll attend college.
On the heels of the first open evaluation period of the month of July, California received some good news regarding its 2017 recruiting class. Monday it was reported by Scout.com that 6-foot-4 guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson verbally committed to Cal, becoming the third member of the the Golden Bears’ 2017 recruiting class.
Harris-Dyson, who attends Heritage Christian School in Northridge, California and plays his grassroots basketball for the Earl Watson Elite program, joins grassroots teammate Jemarl Baker and Alec Hickman in the 2017 recruiting class for Cal. Also playing with Harris-Dyson and Baker on that Earl Watson Elite team is highly regarded power forward Ira Lee, who is another of Cal’s recruiting targets in the 2017 class.
With Cal due to lose multiple key contributors on the perimeter at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, including Jabari Bird and Sam Singer, adding options was a point of emphasis for Cuonzo Martin and his staff when it came to the 2017 recruiting class.
Harris-Dyson, who has the ability to play either wing position, will help in that regard. This past weekend Harris-Dyson received high praise for his play at the Elite 100 Camp in Claremont, California, with Martin and associate head coach Tracy Webster both in attendance for his games. California still has room for more additions, especially in the front court with their pursuit of Ira Lee, and they’ll also have Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee available for the 2017-18 campaign.
Back in April 2014 California hired Cuonzo Martin to be lead its men’s basketball program following the retirement of Mike Montgomery. While the two sides clearly had an agreement, Martin never signed an official contract and they simply worked off of the terms of the offer sheet. That “technicality” gained more attention this spring with the investigation into former assistant Yann Hufnagel (who’s now at Nevada) due to allegations of sexual harassment made by a female reporter.
As part of the investigation the school looked into Martin’s actions to ensure that he acted properly once made aware of the allegations. And with a contract having yet to be signed, there were questions as to whether or not the investigation could lead to Martin losing his job.
In the end Martin was found to have acted properly, and shortly after releasing its findings on the investigation the school announced that its head coach has finally signed an official contract.
While it’s understandable why there would be a delay in Martin’s signing a contract this spring given the ongoing investigation, what’s the reason for it taking more than two years?
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the reason given by current athletic director Mike Williams was the lack of a full-time athletic director. Sandy Barbour, who’s now at Penn State, hired Martin before being relieved of her duties two months later. Williams would serve as interim AD for ten months before having the tag removed.
With this all cleared up, it should help Martin and his staff on the recruiting front as they look to not only build on last season’s NCAA tournament appearance but stick around a bit longer than they did (first round loss to Hawai’i).