Who is Cal's center of the future?

3,428 Views | 49 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by evanluck
concernedparent
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HoopDreams said:

barsad said:

I've been thinking about how Cal is going to succeed in the ACC, a very different landscape from the current one. Without a dominating presence in the middle of the court it seems unlikely that the team will thrive. Then I took a look at the offers we have out and got alarmed:
https://www.espn.com/colleges/basketball/recruiting/school/_/id/25/class/2024/page/offers
No offers to centers, only one PG signed so far. Are we going to grab another transfer? To ensure more than a one-and-done like we had with Daws this year, shouldn't we be finding a frosh that can grow into an elite ACC center?
If others have better knowledge about the recruiting process please correct me on this.
Top 100 Prospects
https://www.espn.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/playerrankings

These top guys all seem wrapped up already.

So a few other questions:
1. Is Gus Larsen the guy? I like his gritty play but he seems too wiry to be dominating.
2. If Gus is not the guy, who should be? By "the guy" I mean a center that regularly gives us the Daws double-doubles without the greasy hands and short range shooting problems… and do it for 3-4 years.
3. Isn't this Madsen's forte as a former big man himself (just found out he's 6' 9", not classic big)?
I think some are over rating Larsen, with one poster saying he's better than Aimaq

He's been a good role player, and not sure where we'd be without him, but if Larsen is our starting center we will have a very tough first year in the acc


That is insanity. Larson is just straight up not a major conference player right now. He is a very good walk-on who can play spot minutes in some matchups. With serious s&c work he could become a rotation piece.

The guy will have to be a transfer. DC is two years away. Okafor is also not ready skillwise but at least his body/athleticism is game ready.
sluggo
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concernedparent said:

HoopDreams said:

barsad said:

I've been thinking about how Cal is going to succeed in the ACC, a very different landscape from the current one. Without a dominating presence in the middle of the court it seems unlikely that the team will thrive. Then I took a look at the offers we have out and got alarmed:
https://www.espn.com/colleges/basketball/recruiting/school/_/id/25/class/2024/page/offers
No offers to centers, only one PG signed so far. Are we going to grab another transfer? To ensure more than a one-and-done like we had with Daws this year, shouldn't we be finding a frosh that can grow into an elite ACC center?
If others have better knowledge about the recruiting process please correct me on this.
Top 100 Prospects
https://www.espn.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/playerrankings

These top guys all seem wrapped up already.

So a few other questions:
1. Is Gus Larsen the guy? I like his gritty play but he seems too wiry to be dominating.
2. If Gus is not the guy, who should be? By "the guy" I mean a center that regularly gives us the Daws double-doubles without the greasy hands and short range shooting problems… and do it for 3-4 years.
3. Isn't this Madsen's forte as a former big man himself (just found out he's 6' 9", not classic big)?
I think some are over rating Larsen, with one poster saying he's better than Aimaq

He's been a good role player, and not sure where we'd be without him, but if Larsen is our starting center we will have a very tough first year in the acc


That is insanity. Larson is just straight up not a major conference player right now. He is a very good walk-on who can play spot minutes in some matchups. With serious s&c work he could become a rotation piece.

The guy will have to be a transfer. DC is two years away. Okafor is also not ready skillwise but at least his body/athleticism is game ready.
This is exactly as I see it. Okafor should be the starter because he has the body to guard people. When other teams see Larson you can tell the scouting report is to go right at him. He is brave and tries hard but he cannot be the solution.
6956bear
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sluggo said:

concernedparent said:

HoopDreams said:

barsad said:

I've been thinking about how Cal is going to succeed in the ACC, a very different landscape from the current one. Without a dominating presence in the middle of the court it seems unlikely that the team will thrive. Then I took a look at the offers we have out and got alarmed:
https://www.espn.com/colleges/basketball/recruiting/school/_/id/25/class/2024/page/offers
No offers to centers, only one PG signed so far. Are we going to grab another transfer? To ensure more than a one-and-done like we had with Daws this year, shouldn't we be finding a frosh that can grow into an elite ACC center?
If others have better knowledge about the recruiting process please correct me on this.
Top 100 Prospects
https://www.espn.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/playerrankings

These top guys all seem wrapped up already.

So a few other questions:
1. Is Gus Larsen the guy? I like his gritty play but he seems too wiry to be dominating.
2. If Gus is not the guy, who should be? By "the guy" I mean a center that regularly gives us the Daws double-doubles without the greasy hands and short range shooting problems… and do it for 3-4 years.
3. Isn't this Madsen's forte as a former big man himself (just found out he's 6' 9", not classic big)?
I think some are over rating Larsen, with one poster saying he's better than Aimaq

He's been a good role player, and not sure where we'd be without him, but if Larsen is our starting center we will have a very tough first year in the acc


That is insanity. Larson is just straight up not a major conference player right now. He is a very good walk-on who can play spot minutes in some matchups. With serious s&c work he could become a rotation piece.

The guy will have to be a transfer. DC is two years away. Okafor is also not ready skillwise but at least his body/athleticism is game ready.
This is exactly as I see it. Okafor should be the starter because he has the body to guard people. When other teams see Larson you can tell the scouting report is to go right at him. He is brave and tries hard but he cannot be the solution.

Okafor should IMO be the top sub. The program needs to find a suitable starter via recruiting. Most likely in the portal or an international recruit.
calumnus
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Johnfox said:

We should really look to get some WSU players. They are going to the WCC and some might want to play high major basketball. Those include, Isaac Jones, Andrej Jakimovski, Myles Rice, Reuben Chinyelu, Jaylen Wells.


Possibly, though Gonzaga seems to do OK in the WCC.
Big C
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barsad said:

What would a dishonest question look like from you Big C? Thanks for the correction, no, just an honest mistake not looking at a roster in a while.
What exactly is your beef with Larson?

The partial honesty in my question stems from my observation that you are overly harsh in your assessment of Aimaq -- almost ridiculously so -- and you seem quite enamored with Gus Larson, who, as a walk-on, is a pleasant surprise. I have seen these sorts of posts from players' relatives before (recently on one of the football boards).

I have no beef whatsoever with Larson. In fact, his play this season has been a mild delight and I enjoy cheering for him: He came here without taking up a scholarship and has shown scrappiness and a pretty good outside shot, for a big man. Let's face it though, he's not much of a defender or a rebounder and if Okafor were healthy, Larson would probably play far fewer minutes.

If Gus Larson were to earn a scholarship and continue to improve, that would be wonderful. However, I would guess he's a longshot to ever be that solid 5 that you are looking for. If he proves me wrong though, that would be great! And I would love to sit here two years from now and post, "barsad was right and I was wrong about that stud, Gus Larson!"
01Bear
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Big C said:

barsad said:

What would a dishonest question look like from you Big C? Thanks for the correction, no, just an honest mistake not looking at a roster in a while.
What exactly is your beef with Larson?

The partial honesty in my question stems from my observation that you are overly harsh in your assessment of Aimaq -- almost ridiculously so -- and you seem quite enamored with Gus Larson, who, as a walk-on, is a pleasant surprise. I have seen these sorts of posts from players' relatives before (recently on one of the football boards).

I have no beef whatsoever with Larson. In fact, his play this season has been a mild delight and I enjoy cheering for him: He came here without taking up a scholarship and has shown scrappiness and a pretty good outside shot, for a big man. Let's face it though, he's not much of a defender or a rebounder and if Okafor were healthy, Larson would probably play far fewer minutes.

If Gus Larson were to earn a scholarship and continue to improve, that would be wonderful. However, I would guess he's a longshot to ever be that solid 5 that you are looking for. If he proves me wrong though, that would be great! And I would love to sit here two years from now and post, "barsad was right and I was wrong about that stud, Gus Larson!"

Agreed. Larson's a decent find for an end of the rotation player. At present, as a big, his greatest value is that he provides five fouls. On defense, his feet are too slow (to be able to keep up with wing players in the switch) and he's too slender to bang with the big boys in the post. On offense, he lacks a reliable go-to move, let alone a second move to counter defenders who figure out how to defend his primary move.

I will say this for him, he's been game every time he's been called into action this year. I've not seen him shrink away from an assignment. I very much respect his willingness to step up, even when he's been unquestionably outmatched. If only his physical skills matched his mental fortitude, Cal would be set at center.
RedlessWardrobe
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Not here to neccessarily defend Gus, but I gotta believe that some of the evaluations on him are a bit incomplete due to the fact that it's hard to critique a player when he's only getting minimal minutes such as Gus is. I think like many others, that by next year with some weight training, added to the normal age maturity, Gus will be a better player than we see now.

I don't think he's really the answer to the question of who should be our primary center next year, but at the very least I still think we're fortunate for him to remain onboard.
concernedparent
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RedlessWardrobe said:

Not here to neccessarily defend Gus, but I gotta believe that some of the evaluations on him are a bit incomplete due to the fact that it's hard to critique a player when he's only getting minimal minutes such as Gus is.
You ever wonder why he's getting minimal minutes even though Daws clearly needs someone to spell him?
RedlessWardrobe
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concernedparent said:

RedlessWardrobe said:

Not here to neccessarily defend Gus, but I gotta believe that some of the evaluations on him are a bit incomplete due to the fact that it's hard to critique a player when he's only getting minimal minutes such as Gus is.
You ever wonder why he's getting minimal minutes even though Daws clearly needs someone to spell him?
Again, I never said he was the ultimate answer. But by college basketball standards, Daws is a very good center, sometimes regardless of fatigue. And CP, I know you watch the games. By now we know that MM runs a very tight rotation. I mean with Rodney struggling a little bit, there has still been no minutes for Monty Bowser. Honestly, in the last two games against the SoCal schools, I don't think it would have been awful if Gus played a few extra minutes. I still think that it's a positive that he will be coming back, that's all.
HearstMining
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A related question is: what's the plan for Curtis? He's played in 10 games this year (8 in conference) so I assume he has burned his redshirt. Yes, he's obviously green now, but does Madsen view him as a real future contributor? It continues to surprise me that these kids come out of these high school basketball factories and yet don't seem to know much about setting screens, rotating on defense, rebounding position, etc. I'm not dumping on Curtis, here. Kuany Kuany and Conner Vanover were other examples.
sluggo
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HearstMining said:

A related question is: what's the plan for Curtis? He's played in 10 games this year (8 in conference) so I assume he has burned his redshirt. Yes, he's obviously green now, but does Madsen view him as a real future contributor? It continues to surprise me that these kids come out of these high school basketball factories and yet don't seem to know much about setting screens, rotating on defense, rebounding position, etc. I'm not dumping on Curtis, here. Kuany Kuany and Conner Vanover were other examples.
Curtis was hurt a lot in high school. And at one of his schools, or maybe more, he was not good enough to play much. He is inexperienced. When he was recruited I thought he was too green to offer. But he is tall, fairly athletic, and can shoot a little. So who knows. I think MM would only talk about him positively, and whatever his true feelings, he would probably not share them.


BeachedBear
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I think with the style of Madsen (and what this team projects to look like next season), the starting center for Cal does not need to be a star of the team - and might be by committee. A rebounder/rim protector. The offense doesn't need to run through the position. Pick n roll would be nice, but probably not likely - as I don't see that skill set on the bench.

So, it may be someone we get through the portal who nobody (but the staff) has heard of.

If another Aimaq materializes - GREAT! I'm confident Madsen can make that work. Maybe one of the current players takes a big leap - but I'm not counting on it.

I'm much more concerned with replacing Tyson
concernedparent
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RedlessWardrobe said:

concernedparent said:

RedlessWardrobe said:

Not here to neccessarily defend Gus, but I gotta believe that some of the evaluations on him are a bit incomplete due to the fact that it's hard to critique a player when he's only getting minimal minutes such as Gus is.
You ever wonder why he's getting minimal minutes even though Daws clearly needs someone to spell him?
Again, I never said he was the ultimate answer. But by college basketball standards, Daws is a very good center, sometimes regardless of fatigue. And CP, I know you watch the games. By now we know that MM runs a very tight rotation. I mean with Rodney struggling a little bit, there has still been no minutes for Monty Bowser. Honestly, in the last two games against the SoCal schools, I don't think it would have been awful if Gus played a few extra minutes. I still think that it's a positive that he will be coming back, that's all.
I'm responding to your point that the evaluation is incomplete. Yeah, I suppose that's kind of true, but also we've seen him get pushed around in the paint, we know he barely played at Penn, we know that Mark Madsen sees him everyday at practice and he's barely playing here even though he's the next big up and our starter is getting ground down with fatigue. There's not much mystery about Gus Larson right now.

All that being said, he is a valuable member of the team and I agree that it would be a very good thing if he returned. Anytime you have a walk-on good enough to play any minutes, even if just situational spot-minutes, it is a huge win.
RedlessWardrobe
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I think we're all really on the same page. Larson and even Curtis don't appear to be throwaways, both have potential. But to compete next year in the ACC, we would all hope that MM brings someone in that has more proven credentials and ability. And to BeachedBear's point, if the other four spots on the floor are filled with much better talent, maybe we live with Gus and Devin and hope they excel. Let's hope Madsen can match his quick fix abilities of this year.
evanluck
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barsad said:

Right, but I see the portal as only good for short term fixes because it's more likely we get one-and-dones (eg Aimaq) instead of the next Zach Edey.
That's why I was puzzled that we don't have any offers out to centers - I guess something to work on for the '25 recruiting class.
I don't mind a battle between Larson and Okafor for a starting spot, competition is good and will motivate them. I believe Larson has better skills overall and a shot, but he's got to get in the gym in the offseason if he's going to survive the ACC meat grinder.
Lots of true centers are developmental players. It might be a strategy to focus on the portal rather than roll the dice on a freshman who may not develop or may transfer.
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