Nov. 15, 2012
BERKELEY - California head men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery announced the signing of three scholastic standouts to National Letters of Intent on Thursday.
Salesian High School star Jabari Bird, Santa Monica High School product Jordan Mathews and Ransom Everglades standout Sam Singer will enroll at Cal and compete for the Golden Bears beginning in the 2013-14 season.
The three future Golden Bears form what is regarded as a consensus top-20 recruiting class by the national recruiting services.
"We are really pleased with the three young men that have joined our program at this point for next year," Montgomery said. "We really shored up our perimeter position substantially. We have three really good men from three really good basketball backgrounds that are very skilled. The real positive for me is they are terrific individuals. They have great personalities and are going to be tremendous contributors to the University of California."
Bird, a 6-6 guard who also plays at the small forward position, led Salesian High School to the Division IV state championship as a junior last season where he averaged 18.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. The Richmond, Calif. native is ranked the 15th-best prospect in the nation in the CBSSports.com Top 100 for 2013, the 20th-best prospect in the country by Rivals.com and 23rd in his class on the ESPN Top 100 list. A five-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, the recruiting services rank Bird at different positions, with Rivals.com listing him as the sixth-best shooting guard in the country and Scout.com ranking the Salesian star as the sixth-best small forward in the class of 2013. As a junior last season, Bird scored 24 points in the Pride's Division IV state title victory over Price High School, where fellow Golden Bears Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon graduated from.
Bird plays for the Oakland Soldiers AAU squad where he led his team to the Peach Jam title this past summer, averaging 15.1 points in the eight games of the tournament. He was also selected to compete in the Under Armour Elite 24 game this past summer, scoring 20 points in the all-star contest.
His father, Carl Bird, was a standout with the Golden Bears where he was voted the team's co-MVP after averaging 15.2 points during the 1975-76 season.
"We have watched Jabari grow as a player for a long time," Montgomery said. "He is a legit size guy that can play both wing positions. He is a scorer. He is a winner. When the game is on the line, he makes a play. He is a player that is well recognized nationally. Everyone knew about Jabari and we are very happy to keep him home. He has a very solid family and a great group that he plays for at Salesian. Jabari is one of the top prospects in America and he is coming to Cal, we couldn't be happier."
A four-star recruit, Matthews is rated the 24th-best shooting guard and 85th overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. He is rated No. 77 on the ESPN Top 100 list and No. 33 at his position by the group. The 6-3 guard averaged 22.4 points to lead Santa Monica High School to the Ocean League title and the third round of the CIF state tournament as a junior. Matthews, who scored a career-best 42 points in a game during the Vikings' 18-8 season, was named the Ocean League MVP for 2011-12. Matthews plays for the California Supreme AAU squad where he averaged 15.6 points per game in five contests at the Peach Jam tournament in July.
"Jordan is a great shooter," Montgomery said. "He comes from a great background where he was raised around basketball [father is an assistant basketball coach at UCLA]. Basketball has been his life and that is going to really help him. He knows how the game is played. He is a terrific young man. With Jordan, we are bringing a guy in that can really extend the floor and shoot the ball."
Singer, the 6-4 standout point guard out of Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Fla., is one of the top guard prospects in the Sunshine State. He is rated the No. 45 point guard in the nation by ESPN.com and the 90th overall prospect in the 2013 class by 247Sports.com. Singer averaged 34.1 points per game and 7.7 assists per contest as a junior for Ransom Everglades. He posted a 21.4 points-per-game average as a sophomore to go along with 6.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Singer, who also boasts a 3.4 grade point average, guided the Raiders to the semifinals of the district playoffs in 2011-12. He was an All-State selection by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches, earning a spot on the 13-member 4A squad. Singer is also a standout on the Gold Coast AAU squad as one of the team's top scorers.
"Sam is a combo guard that can play the point," Montgomery said. "He has size and a real good basketball IQ. He can shoot the ball and is a very good passer. Sam is a basketball junkie who really understands the game. He really wants to be a good player and knows how to win. It is not often you go coast-to-coast to get a guy, but he came out to our team camp and we were very impressed with him. We are excited about Sam."
All three will enroll at the University of California in the fall of 2013.