California coach Mike Montgomery got perhaps the biggest commitment of his tenure this month when highly rated 2013 prospect Jabari Bird pledged his name to the Golden Bears.
Bird was following in the footsteps of his father, who also played basketball for Cal, and it was widely expected that he, too, would be a Golden Bear.
But the biggest question for Montgomery and Cal is whether Bird’s commitment will attract other top-25 players from the class that have played with or been associated with Cal’s first 2013 commit.
The first name mentioned is Marcus Lee, a 6-9, 200-pound forward from Antioch, Calif., who, according to Sports Illustrated, is down to California and Kentucky. He cut Louisville from his list after the Cardinals scored a commitment from Akoy Agau.
Lee is a top-30 player in the class.
And the other major name for Montgomery and California is Aaron Gordon, a top-5 national player and another in-state prospect.
Montgomery knows that he has to keep up in the Pac-12 arms race, considering the recent high-level classes hauled in by schools like UCLA and Arizona, and scoring Gordon and Lee would certainly help.
“We’re after a monster class,” Bird told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t think Marcus had shown a lot of interest in Cal, but they’re definitely on his radar now. Aaron will make his own decision, but I know he was impressed.”