Welcome to Part III (last part) of the three part Cal Men’s Basketball preview of Golden Bear Lair.
The outline of the preview: Part I includes the intro and two points (Intro: Why the Hype?, 1. Cal Returns Pac-12’s Strongest Core, 2. Cal Has Conference’s Best Coach). Part II includes one huge point (3. Cal’s Team Will Be Deeper, a look at the team position by position). Finally, Part III includes the last two points and the conclusion (4. Cal Will Be Better Defensively 5. Cal’s Team Is More Defined, More Experienced 6. Cal Will Benefit from August Trip to Scandinavia, Conclusion: Cal’s Best Season Since 1960?). What does that all add up to? The most in-depth and thorough preview of Cal Men’s Basketball that you will find anywhere.
Part III of Cal Men’s Basketball Preview for Golden Bear Lair
Fourth, Cal should be better defensively. The core group should benefit from its experience and defend better. If the hoped-for greater depth materializes, all starters should not be taxed by having to play so many minutes. This should enable Cal to play more aggressive man defense and less zone. Monty and staff also will have had more time with most of the players and that should translate into better defending.
Fifth, Cal starts the year with a more defined, veteran team. Crabbe, for example, will not be the hesitant, reluctant shooter that he was at the start of last year. We can expect that the selfless rhythm of the team toward the end of last year will be resumed, the team that was referred to by Arizona coach Miller as “offensive machine.” Given the return of an outstanding core, it should be easier for this team and coaching staff to integrate the minutes that either other returners or newcomers will play. We should not see a repeat of the tentative play of early on last year, when the team was just finding itself.
Sixth, this year’s team has the benefit of the Scandinavian trip/games in August. I have read where there is statistical data showing that teams do benefit from the summer trips and games that they are permitted to take only once every four years. Not only does a trip give a team extra games and practices, it also provides a time together away from the normal demands of day to day living, where the players can get closer with each other, know each other better. This can strengthen the cohesion of the group before formal practice and games begin. I am sure the coaches benefitted from the working vacation, also, as a group and as evaluators of the players with whom they are now working.
Does all this mean that the high expectations for this year’s team will be met? Of course, it is impossible to know. Projections about a basketball season are probably about as reliable as long range weather reports. There are simply too many variables and unknowns to be confident about any forecast.
Soon, however, intercollegiate games will be played and reality will intrude. Assuming Montgomery’s good health, we can at least predict that Cal will be a well-coached, deeper team, and that the team will once again be a real pleasure to watch. With the players’ staying largely injury free and with some solid development, from the core through the returners and the newcomers, there is potential for this to be the best Cal season in years, better than two years ago, possibly the best since 1960.
That concludes the most in-depth and best Cal Men’s Basketball 2011-2012 Preview to be assembled.
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