June 5, 2007
BERKELEY - Three Golden Bear men's basketball players - center Jordan Wilkes, guard Nikola Knezevic and forward Jamal Boykin - have all been granted medical hardship waivers by the Pacific-10 Conference and will be classified as sophomores for the 2007-08 season, California head coach Ben Braun announced Tuesday.
Wilkes and Knezevic both missed the entire 2006-07 campaign with knee injuries, while Boykin suffered a severe case of mononucleosis that restricted his ability to practice with the squad after transferring from Duke mid-year.
Wilkes, a 7-0, 230-pound center from Los Angles, was expected to become a significant contributor in the post last year. However, he suffered a partially torn tendon in his left knee during practice Nov. 7 and underwent season-ending surgery two weeks later. Wilkes averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.1 rpg in 21 games as a freshman in 2005-06, scoring a high of 11 points at Eastern Michigan in the season opener.
Knezevic injured his right knee during the summer of 2006 and did not return to the active lineup following surgery to repair loose cartilage. The 6-2 guard from Belgrade, Serbia, was able to practice on a limited basis during the year, but did not attain full clearance. Knezevic saw action in 21 games during his freshman campaign in 2005-06 after joining the squad in December '05. He averaged 1.0 ppg and 0.7 apg, setting his career best with five points vs. UCLA.
Boykin, who stands 6-7, 230 pounds, joined Cal from Duke in time for the 2007 spring semester and will become eligible to play for the Bears after the fall term ends on Dec. 21. He played in 26 games for the Blue Devils as a freshman in 2005-06, helping the team to a 32-4 record. Boykin then saw action in three contests this past November before being diagnosed with mono. He was the 2005 Gatorade Player of the Year for California when he averaged 22 ppg and 12 rpg as a senior at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.
With the medical hardship rulings, Cal will feature a seven-player sophomore class for the upcoming season. In addition to Wilkes, Knezevic and Boykin, the other sophomores will be forward Ryan Anderson, center Taylor Harrison, wing Patrick Christopher and guard Jerome Randle.