It may not be a very telling result, but at the very least it was a positive one. The Golden Bears began their trip around Europe today with a beat down of the professional team Solna Vikings by the score of 89-71.
While it’s obviously hard to gauge too much from the game, it’s clear that the Bears outclassed a team that is a professional team with players that are older and much more mature than our Golden Bears. That’s an encouraging sign, and there’s no negatives coming out of this game, no real big injuries and no disappointing performances. While I can’t really ‘recap’ the game, Cal apparently jumped out in front and there was never really a struggle.
The more established players did their job well, although Harper Kamp only played in two rotations and Jorge Gutierrez didn’t play at all. Both were hampered by injuries, but I’d guess this was more of a precautionary measure than anything. I know Jorge sprained his ankle, but I am unsure what injury Harper Kamp has. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what those who did play did. Allen Crabbe has been said to be quicker with offseason work, and it showed with him scoring 25 points and leading the team. Brandon Smith had 8 points and 6 assists, which sounds disappointing but in reality is a typical night from the steady but unspectacular point guard. Richard Solomon started and scored 9 points; he was (in all likelihood) going against former Butler big Avery Jukes, who was a solid defender in college. That’s not an awful effort, without looking at field goal percentage.
As for the more unproven players, the players that hold the key to the season in all likelihood, it looked like they had some very good results. Justin Cobbs, whose challenge for a starting job is getting stronger by the day, scored 12 points and had 6 assists, impressive numbers from him. Robert Thurman was the biggest surprise, scoring 14 points and coming down 8 rebounds. He’s been widely acclaimed as the best dunker on the team, and if he can challenge that athletic ability Mike Montgomery may have another option on the low post. David Kravish, Christian Behrens, and Alex Rossi all saw the court, with Kravish scoring 6 points, and Rossi grabbing some key rebounds. Emerson Murray also saw some court time and played better than the freshman that seemed scared at times.
What does it all mean? Not much, but it does provide some nice nuggets of information in the dog days of August. Kravish seemed to be more NCAA ready than previously thought, which would be a big aid to the squad now and in the future. Rossi, Murray, and Crabbe all seemed to recover from offseason surgeries just fine, which alleviate some minor worries. Cobbs seems poised to force his way into the starting line-up somehow, and Thurman may be better than your average walk-on. These are all assumptions that may or may not come to fruition, but it’s interesting food for thought.
The Golden Bears started out their tour of Europe in fine fashion in Sweden, and we all hope that it can continue in the coming days of the tour and in the season to progress. There’s no real negative news coming out of what is reported from Sweden, and there’s plenty of positive information coming up. Go Bears!