Oct. 15, 2008
BERKELEY - With new head coach Mike Montgomery on board and Cal basketball celebrating its 100th season, the Golden Bears will have their first official workout session of the 2008-09 campaign this Friday, Oct. 17 at Haas Pavilion.
One of the most successful collegiate coaches in the game, Montgomery looks to add to his legacy as director of the Cal program. In a combined 26 seasons leading Montana and Stanford, he has produced a 547-244 record (.691), tying for 12th-most victories among active Division I coaches.
Montgomery inherits a Cal team that returns two starters, junior guards Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle, from a team that posted a 17-16 overall record in 2007-08, reaching the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Last season, Christopher raised his scoring average 10.0 ppg from his freshman year in 2006-07 - the largest increase of any player in the Pac-10 - and he enters his junior campaign as the fourth-leading returning scorer in the league. Randle also has shown the ability to score, having earned MVP honors at the 2007 Golden Bear Classic after tossing in a career-best 26 points vs. North Dakota State.
Junior forward Theo Robertson returns to the fold after sitting out the entire 2007-08 following hip surgery. Montgomery has singled out the 6-6 junior as one of the keys to Cal's fortunes this year with his leadership, both on and off the floor. Robertson has 41 career starts, averaging 7.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg for his career.
Another key player will be junior Jamal Boykin, who started 11 games at forward last season after transferring from Duke, where he spent the first year of his college career. Boykin tossed in 7.8 ppg for the Bears, including a career-best 18 points at UCLA, last season.
Sophomore Harper Kamp earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman notice as a reserve for the Bears in 2007-08 and could see more significant action this year. He contributed 4.4 ppg and provides a solid, fundamentally-sound presence down low.
Junior Nikola Knezevic provides depth at both guard spots, while the Bears welcome a pair of newcomers in guards D.J. Seeley and Jorge Gutierrez. Seeley averaged 21.9 ppg as a senior at Modesto Christian HS, while Gutierrez was the first recruit signed by Montgomery after a stellar senior year at Findlay College Prep where he average 13.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg. In the front court, Cal returns 7-0 junior Jordan Wilkes, with 6-10 Taylor Harrison and 7-3 Max Zhang both looking to contribute after redshirting last season. Redshirt-freshman Omondi Amoke rounds out the roster. An athletic 6-7 forward, he is back at full strength after missing all of his rookie season due to calf surgery.
"These guys are hungry, they want to win," said Montgomery, who was introduced as Cal's 15th head coach on April 5, 2008. "We're going to have to play as one. That's no revelation. Everybody would say that. But it is going to be particularly important for us to all buy into what we need to do to win. Players will sometimes have to make individual sacrifices for the good of the group."
Cal fans will get their first opportunity to see the Bears during Fan Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Oct. 29 from 5-7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Montgomery's squad will hold a scrimmage open to the public from 5-6 p.m. Immediately following the scrimmage, fans will have an autograph session with the player and coaches until 7 p.m.
Cal will then host Seattle Pacific in an exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears officially open their 2008-09 season Nov. 15 when they host Pacific at 5 p.m. at Haas.
Single-game tickets are now available for the general public at $22 for adults and $10 for youth for non-conference games, and $25 for adults and $10 for youth for Pac-10 contests. For the UCLA, Stanford and Arizona conference games, all seats will be $35. Season tickets are available and can be ordered online anytime at CalBears.com or by calling the ticket office at (800) Go Bears Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For any questions or more information, go to Cal Men's Basketball Ticket Page