BERKELEY – The California men's basketball team was selected fifth in the annual Pac-12 Conference preseason media poll, the league announced at its media day at the Pac-12 Networks Studios in San Francisco on Thursday.
Cal, which has tied for second place in the Pac-12 each of the last two seasons, is the only team in the league to finish in the top four and win at least 10 conference games each of the last five seasons. The Golden Bears are coming off their winningest five-year stretch in more than 50 years with 109 total victories over the span.
Cal, which returns four of its five starters from a 21-win team that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, received a total of 194 points to finish two points shy of fourth-place Oregon in the pre-season poll. Arizona (273 points) was picked to win the league, while UCLA (212 points) was picked second and Colorado (211 points) was selected third.
Seniors Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, junior David Kravish, and sophomore Tyrone Wallace lead an experienced squad back for sixth-year Golden Bear head coach Mike Montgomery. Cobbs, a two-time All-Pac-12 selection, enters the season as the conference’s active career leader in assists with 327 in just two seasons at Cal. He was Cal’s second-leading scorer last season with a 15.1 ppg. average. Kravish and Solomon form a solid post combo after leading the Bears in rebounding a year ago with a 6.9 rpg. and 6.8 rpg. average, respectively. The pair blocked 100 shots combined as Kravish broke the school’s single-season record for blocks with 63 last season.
In all, Cal returns 61 percent of its scoring and five of its top seven scorers along with its top-two rebounders and shot blockers from last season.
The Bears also welcome a top-20 recruiting class nationally, including McDonald’s All-American Jabari Bird and fellow former scholastic standouts Jordan Mathews, Sam Singer, Kameron Rooks and Roger Moute a Bidias.
Montgomery enters the 2013-14 season as the NCAA's ninth winningest active Division I head men's basketball coach with 656 career victories in 31 seasons of collegiate coaching. He owns 272 career Pac-12 victories and is just four wins shy of tying Oregon State's Slats Gill as the third-winningest coach in conference history.
Cal will host an open practice at Haas Pavilion from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (PT) this Saturday, Oct. 19. The event, which is open to the public and free of charge, will provide fans with their first opportunity to see the 2013-14 Golden Bears as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Cal will host Humboldt State in an exhibition contest on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. (PT) before opening the regular season against Coppin State on Friday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. (PT) in Berkeley in the second game of a double-header with the women’s basketball team.
For information on season tickets for the 2013-14 campaign, log on to CalBears.com or call 800-GO-BEARS (462-3277).
1. Arizona (21) 273
2. UCLA (1) 212
3. Colorado (1) 211
4. Oregon 196
5. California 194
6. Stanford 166
7. Arizona State 159
8. Washington 121
9. Utah 68
10. Oregon State 67
11. USC 63
12. Washington State 39