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Cal Basketball

Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight Talks About Cal's Two Recent Additions

July 26, 2022
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This summer, the Bears picked up a pair of players from one of the nation’s top programs in Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) High school combo guard Devin Askew‍ and wing Jack McCloskey.

The pair’s route to Cal was not the traditional route, though the traditional route is becoming less and less common for many players in the era of the portal.

Cal will be Askew’s third collegiate program after his transfer from Texas after being rated a consensus 4 star out of Mater Dei as a prep and originally playing for Kentucky.

As an early entry freshman at Kentucky in 2020-21, the 6-3/200 Askew averaged 6.5 points, 2.9 assists & 2.6 rebounds per game, starting in 20 games for the Wildcats. As a soph at UT, Askew averaged 2.1 points and 1.3 assists in 14.9 minutes per game over 34 games played. At Cal, his minutes should increase significantly as should the green light to shoot and create scoring opportunities.

“Devin’s a very good player,” said McKnight. “He had a remarkable three years with us on the varsity before he left before his senior year to enroll in Kentucky. His junior year in the playoffs, he went for 45 against (2021 3rd overall pick Evan) Mobley. He was just on fire. He’s a guard who can shoot the ball. He’s a tough kid who likes to be a leader. He’s a very, very competitive kid. 

“He played point for us and we went against some of the best guards in the country but he’s a scorer so he’s kind of a combo, where he can play one or two.”

McCloskey is a 6’7” wing who played his senior season at Mater Dei after a transfer, earning several postseason honors. He’ll be a preferred walk-on at Cal to start his collegiate career.

“Jack comes from a family of athletes,” said McKnight. “His dad played for Loyola Marymount during the Hank Gathers/Bo Kimble years.

“Jack came to us his senior year from Santa Margarita High School. He had a great year. He made 2nd Team All-CIF and 1st Team All-League. Our league -the Trinity League- is a very tough league. He’s a good athlete. He can get up and dunk it pretty easily, with a varied skill set. He’s a very good shooter. He’s a quiet kid, a smart kid. He has a lot of skills. 

“Nowadays, a preferred walk-on is like before the portal a guy who would’ve had a scholarship. Teams now are going to look to the portal first and then there’s kids still left over in the portal. And if they take a high school kid, if they do well they’ll often lose them in the portal after a year or two and if they do bad, they picked the wrong kid. But Jack will be a guy who will stick. He’s low maintenance and will work his ass off for them. I think he’ll be a good addition and I’d hope coming from our program, he’ll be prepared and will have been through any drill possible and he’ll be ready to go.”

The men’s basketball schedule has yet to be announced but is expected to kick off with a pair of exhibitions in early November.

Discussion from...

Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight Talks About Cal's Two Recent Additions

19,921 Views | 79 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by Big C
HearstMining
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KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
MoragaBear
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KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell


It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
MoragaBear
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Staff
calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.


So what is your sense of the allocation of minutes at the 4? Kuany, Newell, Okafor, Anywanu? I guess someone will have to back up Lars, presumably Okafor?
01Bear
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calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
MoragaBear
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Staff
calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.


So what is your sense of the allocation of minutes at the 4? Kuany, Newell, Okafor, Anywanu? I guess someone will have to back up Lars, presumably Okafor?
There's no way to tell about rotational minutes till the new guys actually get out and play in games but Fox talks about who will play where in the story we'll be running soon.
89Bear
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MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.


So what is your sense of the allocation of minutes at the 4? Kuany, Newell, Okafor, Anywanu? I guess someone will have to back up Lars, presumably Okafor?
There's no way to tell about rotational minutes till the new guys actually get out and play in games but Fox talks about who will play where in the story we'll be running soon.
I'm happy that Fox got out and was talking!!
Looking forward to this story. Thanks!
eastcoastcal
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MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.


So what is your sense of the allocation of minutes at the 4? Kuany, Newell, Okafor, Anywanu? I guess someone will have to back up Lars, presumably Okafor?
There's no way to tell about rotational minutes till the new guys actually get out and play in games but Fox talks about who will play where in the story we'll be running soon.
Awesome, can't wait for the article!
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

HearstMining said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.
I thought the offense (such as it was) ran better when Shepherd was at the point. His vision and passing accuracy allowed him to get better shots for himself and more importantly, get the ball to teammates who were in position to take good shots. He wasn't a consistently accurate shooter, but he had his moments. I sure hope the two new guys can fill that gap and that Brown gets playing time based on what he does on the court, not because he's been a starter for the previous three seasons.
Let's hope Joel has made a huge jump in his shooting. Not sure what he did all summer, but having some shooting efficiency from him (from the field and the FG line) would be a big help. Let's also hope Okafor and Newell are actually serviceable as freshmen.
Been hearing good things about Newell
It would be good if he can score. We have a bunch of non-scoring PGs and forwards.
Yeah, talking with Fox tonight, sounds like he's a legit inside/outside threat at the 4. Said he's really strong with good hops and size and a good stroke.


So what is your sense of the allocation of minutes at the 4? Kuany, Newell, Okafor, Anywanu? I guess someone will have to back up Lars, presumably Okafor?
There's no way to tell about rotational minutes till the new guys actually get out and play in games but Fox talks about who will play where in the story we'll be running soon.


Of course, and I was only looking for speculation as to really, the starting five and maybe two deep. It will be good to hear what Fox is thinking going into the season.
89Bear
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My hope with Askew is that he is taking a step down in competition and honestly a step down in program intensity and quality. Maybe he establishes a comfort level that enables him to live up to his 5 star credentials? Maybe he establishes a confidence that he did not have at Kentucky or Texas?
SFCityBear
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01Bear said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
Brown played at the 1 for Fox, not for his offense, but because he was the best defender on the team. Defense is half of the game in basketball. And in basketball, to have a very good defense, you first must have two essential things: a rim protector, and a guard who can stop the ball at point of attack. Joel Brown has played three seasons at Cal, and during those three seasons, Cal has not had a rim protector, except for seldom used DJ Thorpe, who missed all of last season with injury, and KK who is another part-time player, who spends much of his time on the perimeter, not so much around the rim. Brown stops the ball at point of attack, and is a good shut down defender. With all due respect to JHD, a very good defender, I think Brown was the best defender on all of his three Cal teams.

In 2019, Mark Fox took over a program whose team had just finished the previous season, giving up 78 points per game, ranked 307th in the country. He had a veteran point guard, Paris Austin, a decent offensive player, who played little defense. in Cal's first conference game, Fox started Brown at point guard. After a few games, miraculously, Austin improved his defense or his desire to play defense, and he returned to start the rest of the season. That team improved and at the end of the season, was ranked #170 nationally in defense, at 69 points per game.

In the following season, Brown's first as the starter, Cal's defense improved again, ranked #140 in defense, and last season in Brown's junior year, Cal finished ranked 81st in defense, giving up only 66 points a game. Some would argue that Fox's strategy is to slow the pace of games, and that is part of it. But Cal's defense did improve a big amount from year to year, and Fox did this with only one good bonafide defensive player, and no rim protector.

Brown was not chopped liver offensively. He scores very little, but in terms of assists, he was ranked at 8th in the PAC12 at 4.8 assists/40 minutes. He does not turn the ball over often. And he finished 6th in assists per 40 minutes among PAC12 starting point guards. Jordan Shepherd, who played point guard for Cal some of the time, averaged 2.9 assists/40 minutes.

The new guards coming in, Askew and Clayton, seem to be combo guards. Askew did not impress much statistically on offense at either Kentucky or Texas, but he had skipped his last year of high school to sign with Kentucky, and was called on to start most of their games. I don't know which of the two starting guards was the point guard, but both averaged 3 assists each, and Askew took few shots, so I presume he was the point guard. Even if he is better than Brown offensively, if his defense is not pretty good to go with it. Fox is not going to tolerate losing a lot on defense by sitting Brown. If you sit him, you stand to weaken the defense at point of attack, but you lose about a third of your man-to-man perimeter defense.

Clayton is more of an unknown, coming from a lesser league, and missing a lot of games over 3 of his seasons, I guess due to injury. He does have decent offensive numbers, but whether it would transfer into the same performance in the PAC12 is unknown. If he is to compete at point guard, he will need to be a good defender. At least we have two very interesting kids who can probably contribute, but how much is the question. In any case, I don't think Brown plays just because he was the previous starting point guard. He was the best darn defender on last year's team, and until someone beats him out, either with a load of offense, or a better combination of defense and offense, he starts. Either way, I'm glad we still have him.

SFCityBear
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89Bear said:

My hope with Askew is that he is taking a step down in competition and honestly a step down in program intensity and quality. Maybe he establishes a comfort level that enables him to live up to his 5 star credentials? Maybe he establishes a confidence that he did not have at Kentucky or Texas?
Good point. There were 8 top 100 ranked players on Kentucky's roster, and Askew, who had signed with Kentucky after his junior year in high school, was chosen to be a starter on that team, where he remained for almost the whole season. There had to be a lot of pressure on him, especially if he was playing point guard, which I'm not sure he was. And at Texas, he was beaten out of a starting job and had to come off the bench, probably a new experience for him.

I am hoping that Askew and Clayton, who both have played some point guard with success in distributing the ball and scoring, either in high school or college, will be able to do take some of the offensive load off Brown, who is limited offensively, by either playing shooting guard, or by backing up Brown, or even starting at point. Looking at the list of the 25 PAC12 leaders in assists last season, nearly all of the teams had two players on the list, and some good teams had more, like USC with 3 players, and Arizona, with 5 players. Spreading assists around among the players makes for good offense.
SFCityBear
4thGenCal
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SFCityBear said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
Brown played at the 1 for Fox, not for his offense, but because he was the best defender on the team. Defense is half of the game in basketball. And in basketball, to have a very good defense, you first must have two essential things: a rim protector, and a guard who can stop the ball at point of attack. Joel Brown has played three seasons at Cal, and during those three seasons, Cal has not had a rim protector, except for seldom used DJ Thorpe, who missed all of last season with injury, and KK who is another part-time player, who spends much of his time on the perimeter, not so much around the rim. Brown stops the ball at point of attack, and is a good shut down defender. With all due respect to JHD, a very good defender, I think Brown was the best defender on all of his three Cal teams.

In 2019, Mark Fox took over a program whose team had just finished the previous season, giving up 78 points per game, ranked 307th in the country. He had a veteran point guard, Paris Austin, a decent offensive player, who played little defense. in Cal's first conference game, Fox started Brown at point guard. After a few games, miraculously, Austin improved his defense or his desire to play defense, and he returned to start the rest of the season. That team improved and at the end of the season, was ranked #170 nationally in defense, at 69 points per game.

In the following season, Brown's first as the starter, Cal's defense improved again, ranked #140 in defense, and last season in Brown's junior year, Cal finished ranked 81st in defense, giving up only 66 points a game. Some would argue that Fox's strategy is to slow the pace of games, and that is part of it. But Cal's defense did improve a big amount from year to year, and Fox did this with only one good bonafide defensive player, and no rim protector.

Brown was not chopped liver offensively. He scores very little, but in terms of assists, he was ranked at 8th in the PAC12 at 4.8 assists/40 minutes. He does not turn the ball over often. And he finished 6th in assists per 40 minutes among PAC12 starting point guards. Jordan Shepherd, who played point guard for Cal some of the time, averaged 2.9 assists/40 minutes.

The new guards coming in, Askew and Clayton, seem to be combo guards. Askew did not impress much statistically on offense at either Kentucky or Texas, but he had skipped his last year of high school to sign with Kentucky, and was called on to start most of their games. I don't know which of the two starting guards was the point guard, but both averaged 3 assists each, and Askew took few shots, so I presume he was the point guard. Even if he is better than Brown offensively, if his defense is not pretty good to go with it. Fox is not going to tolerate losing a lot on defense by sitting Brown. If you sit him, you stand to weaken the defense at point of attack, but you lose about a third of your man-to-man perimeter defense.

Clayton is more of an unknown, coming from a lesser league, and missing a lot of games over 3 of his seasons, I guess due to injury. He does have decent offensive numbers, but whether it would transfer into the same performance in the PAC12 is unknown. If he is to compete at point guard, he will need to be a good defender. At least we have two very interesting kids who can probably contribute, but how much is the question. In any case, I don't think Brown plays just because he was the previous starting point guard. He was the best darn defender on last year's team, and until someone beats him out, either with a load of offense, or a better combination of defense and offense, he starts. Either way, I'm glad we still have him.


I agree with your JB synopsis - He is clearly the best defender on the team, brings 100% always and his leadership and commitment to the program (effort, practice diligence and teammate positive support, is recognized by his teammates.) Last season his knee injury impacted his play on the court, and despite his gutting it out - at the end, he had to shut it down. JB is now healthy, has worked on his shot (it's better, but game results will determine if that becomes the norm or not) and said he feels healthy, stronger and more confident with his shot. JB said that Askew and Clayton complement each other and will be positive additions. Though the team just started team workouts (versus individual workouts until now) He feels that they can be a better team than last season. mainly because they are quicker, better defensively and deeper. Okafor is raw and as surmised on earlier posts, likely is 1-2 years away from playing major minutes. Bowser, Kuany and Hyder are all showing improvement on the court. Again its very early and until the team plays games (starting with their Germany trip August 12-22) its mostly fun speculation.
01Bear
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SFCityBear said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
Brown played at the 1 for Fox, not for his offense, but because he was the best defender on the team. Defense is half of the game in basketball. And in basketball, to have a very good defense, you first must have two essential things: a rim protector, and a guard who can stop the ball at point of attack. Joel Brown has played three seasons at Cal, and during those three seasons, Cal has not had a rim protector, except for seldom used DJ Thorpe, who missed all of last season with injury, and KK who is another part-time player, who spends much of his time on the perimeter, not so much around the rim. Brown stops the ball at point of attack, and is a good shut down defender. With all due respect to JHD, a very good defender, I think Brown was the best defender on all of his three Cal teams.

In 2019, Mark Fox took over a program whose team had just finished the previous season, giving up 78 points per game, ranked 307th in the country. He had a veteran point guard, Paris Austin, a decent offensive player, who played little defense. in Cal's first conference game, Fox started Brown at point guard. After a few games, miraculously, Austin improved his defense or his desire to play defense, and he returned to start the rest of the season. That team improved and at the end of the season, was ranked #170 nationally in defense, at 69 points per game.

In the following season, Brown's first as the starter, Cal's defense improved again, ranked #140 in defense, and last season in Brown's junior year, Cal finished ranked 81st in defense, giving up only 66 points a game. Some would argue that Fox's strategy is to slow the pace of games, and that is part of it. But Cal's defense did improve a big amount from year to year, and Fox did this with only one good bonafide defensive player, and no rim protector.

Brown was not chopped liver offensively. He scores very little, but in terms of assists, he was ranked at 8th in the PAC12 at 4.8 assists/40 minutes. He does not turn the ball over often. And he finished 6th in assists per 40 minutes among PAC12 starting point guards. Jordan Shepherd, who played point guard for Cal some of the time, averaged 2.9 assists/40 minutes.

The new guards coming in, Askew and Clayton, seem to be combo guards. Askew did not impress much statistically on offense at either Kentucky or Texas, but he had skipped his last year of high school to sign with Kentucky, and was called on to start most of their games. I don't know which of the two starting guards was the point guard, but both averaged 3 assists each, and Askew took few shots, so I presume he was the point guard. Even if he is better than Brown offensively, if his defense is not pretty good to go with it. Fox is not going to tolerate losing a lot on defense by sitting Brown. If you sit him, you stand to weaken the defense at point of attack, but you lose about a third of your man-to-man perimeter defense.

Clayton is more of an unknown, coming from a lesser league, and missing a lot of games over 3 of his seasons, I guess due to injury. He does have decent offensive numbers, but whether it would transfer into the same performance in the PAC12 is unknown. If he is to compete at point guard, he will need to be a good defender. At least we have two very interesting kids who can probably contribute, but how much is the question. In any case, I don't think Brown plays just because he was the previous starting point guard. He was the best darn defender on last year's team, and until someone beats him out, either with a load of offense, or a better combination of defense and offense, he starts. Either way, I'm glad we still have him.



You're preaching to the choir about the importance of defense. One of the reasons I can't stand players like James Harden and Karl Anthony Towns is that they only play half the game: the offensive side.

To clarify, in my previous statement, I did not mean to limit being "better" merely to being a better offensive player. Defense counts in part of that determination. However, a great deal of defense is desire (of course, athleticism also plays a role). Without the desire, it really doesn't matter how athletic a player is, he will play poor defense. On the other hand, someone who wants to excel on defense can learn to do so (especially if he has the desire to do it) and in some cases can be a better defender than someone with more athletic ability.

I'm assuming Askew had NBA dreams. Given he's already played at UK and UT, there's enough information on him to show he's not super athletic (a must have for NBA superstars). Instead, at best, he'll be a NBA role player/journeyman. He has to realize he's undersized to be a 2 guard in the league. With his size, his best bet is at the 1. He'll have to prove he's a playmaker (and a 3-point threat) on offense, but he'll also have to be a defensive stopper (or at a minimum, a defensive pest).
89Bear
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4thGenCal said:

SFCityBear said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
Brown played at the 1 for Fox, not for his offense, but because he was the best defender on the team. Defense is half of the game in basketball. And in basketball, to have a very good defense, you first must have two essential things: a rim protector, and a guard who can stop the ball at point of attack. Joel Brown has played three seasons at Cal, and during those three seasons, Cal has not had a rim protector, except for seldom used DJ Thorpe, who missed all of last season with injury, and KK who is another part-time player, who spends much of his time on the perimeter, not so much around the rim. Brown stops the ball at point of attack, and is a good shut down defender. With all due respect to JHD, a very good defender, I think Brown was the best defender on all of his three Cal teams.

In 2019, Mark Fox took over a program whose team had just finished the previous season, giving up 78 points per game, ranked 307th in the country. He had a veteran point guard, Paris Austin, a decent offensive player, who played little defense. in Cal's first conference game, Fox started Brown at point guard. After a few games, miraculously, Austin improved his defense or his desire to play defense, and he returned to start the rest of the season. That team improved and at the end of the season, was ranked #170 nationally in defense, at 69 points per game.

In the following season, Brown's first as the starter, Cal's defense improved again, ranked #140 in defense, and last season in Brown's junior year, Cal finished ranked 81st in defense, giving up only 66 points a game. Some would argue that Fox's strategy is to slow the pace of games, and that is part of it. But Cal's defense did improve a big amount from year to year, and Fox did this with only one good bonafide defensive player, and no rim protector.

Brown was not chopped liver offensively. He scores very little, but in terms of assists, he was ranked at 8th in the PAC12 at 4.8 assists/40 minutes. He does not turn the ball over often. And he finished 6th in assists per 40 minutes among PAC12 starting point guards. Jordan Shepherd, who played point guard for Cal some of the time, averaged 2.9 assists/40 minutes.

The new guards coming in, Askew and Clayton, seem to be combo guards. Askew did not impress much statistically on offense at either Kentucky or Texas, but he had skipped his last year of high school to sign with Kentucky, and was called on to start most of their games. I don't know which of the two starting guards was the point guard, but both averaged 3 assists each, and Askew took few shots, so I presume he was the point guard. Even if he is better than Brown offensively, if his defense is not pretty good to go with it. Fox is not going to tolerate losing a lot on defense by sitting Brown. If you sit him, you stand to weaken the defense at point of attack, but you lose about a third of your man-to-man perimeter defense.

Clayton is more of an unknown, coming from a lesser league, and missing a lot of games over 3 of his seasons, I guess due to injury. He does have decent offensive numbers, but whether it would transfer into the same performance in the PAC12 is unknown. If he is to compete at point guard, he will need to be a good defender. At least we have two very interesting kids who can probably contribute, but how much is the question. In any case, I don't think Brown plays just because he was the previous starting point guard. He was the best darn defender on last year's team, and until someone beats him out, either with a load of offense, or a better combination of defense and offense, he starts. Either way, I'm glad we still have him.


I agree with your JB synopsis - He is clearly the best defender on the team, brings 100% always and his leadership and commitment to the program (effort, practice diligence and teammate positive support, is recognized by his teammates.) Last season his knee injury impacted his play on the court, and despite his gutting it out - at the end, he had to shut it down. JB is now healthy, has worked on his shot (it's better, but game results will determine if that becomes the norm or not) and said he feels healthy, stronger and more confident with his shot. JB said that Askew and Clayton complement each other and will be positive additions. Though the team just started team workouts (versus individual workouts until now) He feels that they can be a better team than last season. mainly because they are quicker, better defensively and deeper. Okafor is raw and as surmised on earlier posts, likely is 1-2 years away from playing major minutes. Bowser, Kuany and Hyder are all showing improvement on the court. Again its very early and until the team plays games (starting with their Germany trip August 12-22) its mostly fun speculation.

Thanks for the info.
Is Hyder finally healthy?
MoragaBear
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Staff
Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
89Bear
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MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
That's good to hear. I liked his game at Fresno, and thought with normal growth and progression he would be a strong player on the team. Hasn't happened yet. Hope he's ready.
MoragaBear
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Staff
The preview story's now up, which gets into a lot of the questions people had in this thread.
4thGenCal
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MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
MoragaBear
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Staff
4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
Thanks for the clarification. We talked only about his ankle and foot being healed. Didn't know about the back limiting him at this point. It may be a moot point, though, because I don't see a lot of minutes being available for him right now unless he really turns it up.

The hope is that Okafor and Newell's inside presence can free up Lars and Kuany be be more effective when either or both are on the court at the same time with those two. And the backcourt should create more ways to score with Clayton and Askew and hopefully an improved offensive game from Brown if he can carry over his offseason success.

Fox said that Askew will have the green light he had as a star prep at Mater Dei and didn't have at UK and UT and that can totally change his game for the better for the Bears. That can be a gamechanger that was off most everyone's radar.

I think the most pleasant surprise for me was hearing about Newell. I had no idea of his size and strength and ability to score inside and out. He can potentially be a very big piece who was also off most everyone's radar.

This team's been so bad for so long that if they can be consistently competitive and get to .500 or above and build on it, it would be a major step up. Not sure if they have the pieces to do it but it should be really interesting to see how it all comes together.
eastcoastcal
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4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
Thanks for the great info MB & 4G. Any idea towards the recruiting side of things? How are efforts for the class of '23 looking?
HearstMining
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01Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

01Bear said:

calumnus said:

The real wildcard here is Askew. He was a scorer in HS, but not in college so far (mostly I'm assuming because he was PG on two top teams with lots of scoring options). Can he transform himself into a scoring combo guard, playing a lot of time at the 2? Because I think that is what he is going to be asked to do.
I don't think he'll need to play the 2. If he can be a redux of Justin Cobbs, he'll be just fine for Cal. IIRC, Justin played the 1 but he could also score. That's really what Cal will need out of Askew.


That would be great, but that could have been Shepherd last year, instead he got most of his minutes at the two along side Brown. And that was with Celestine available at the 2.

As I have said in other threads, it is unclear what our guard rotation will be, but Fox has gone with Brown as his starting PG for three years now, so seems highly likely he goes with him as a senior. That would leave the starting 2 position as the big opening, with a lot of candidates but none of them obvious shoe-ins. The big need is scoring. Fox may try a lot of combos to see what works and who steps up.

Fair points. But if Fox plays Brown at the 1 instead of Askew (assuming Askew is better) for no reason other than inertia, then Fox needs to be fired immediately. Of course, Fox shouldn't have been hired in the first place, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
Brown played at the 1 for Fox, not for his offense, but because he was the best defender on the team. Defense is half of the game in basketball. And in basketball, to have a very good defense, you first must have two essential things: a rim protector, and a guard who can stop the ball at point of attack. Joel Brown has played three seasons at Cal, and during those three seasons, Cal has not had a rim protector, except for seldom used DJ Thorpe, who missed all of last season with injury, and KK who is another part-time player, who spends much of his time on the perimeter, not so much around the rim. Brown stops the ball at point of attack, and is a good shut down defender. With all due respect to JHD, a very good defender, I think Brown was the best defender on all of his three Cal teams.

In 2019, Mark Fox took over a program whose team had just finished the previous season, giving up 78 points per game, ranked 307th in the country. He had a veteran point guard, Paris Austin, a decent offensive player, who played little defense. in Cal's first conference game, Fox started Brown at point guard. After a few games, miraculously, Austin improved his defense or his desire to play defense, and he returned to start the rest of the season. That team improved and at the end of the season, was ranked #170 nationally in defense, at 69 points per game.

In the following season, Brown's first as the starter, Cal's defense improved again, ranked #140 in defense, and last season in Brown's junior year, Cal finished ranked 81st in defense, giving up only 66 points a game. Some would argue that Fox's strategy is to slow the pace of games, and that is part of it. But Cal's defense did improve a big amount from year to year, and Fox did this with only one good bonafide defensive player, and no rim protector.

Brown was not chopped liver offensively. He scores very little, but in terms of assists, he was ranked at 8th in the PAC12 at 4.8 assists/40 minutes. He does not turn the ball over often. And he finished 6th in assists per 40 minutes among PAC12 starting point guards. Jordan Shepherd, who played point guard for Cal some of the time, averaged 2.9 assists/40 minutes.

The new guards coming in, Askew and Clayton, seem to be combo guards. Askew did not impress much statistically on offense at either Kentucky or Texas, but he had skipped his last year of high school to sign with Kentucky, and was called on to start most of their games. I don't know which of the two starting guards was the point guard, but both averaged 3 assists each, and Askew took few shots, so I presume he was the point guard. Even if he is better than Brown offensively, if his defense is not pretty good to go with it. Fox is not going to tolerate losing a lot on defense by sitting Brown. If you sit him, you stand to weaken the defense at point of attack, but you lose about a third of your man-to-man perimeter defense.

Clayton is more of an unknown, coming from a lesser league, and missing a lot of games over 3 of his seasons, I guess due to injury. He does have decent offensive numbers, but whether it would transfer into the same performance in the PAC12 is unknown. If he is to compete at point guard, he will need to be a good defender. At least we have two very interesting kids who can probably contribute, but how much is the question. In any case, I don't think Brown plays just because he was the previous starting point guard. He was the best darn defender on last year's team, and until someone beats him out, either with a load of offense, or a better combination of defense and offense, he starts. Either way, I'm glad we still have him.



You're preaching to the choir about the importance of defense. One of the reasons I can't stand players like James Harden and Karl Anthony Towns is that they only play half the game: the offensive side.

To clarify, in my previous statement, I did not mean to limit being "better" merely to being a better offensive player. Defense counts in part of that determination. However, a great deal of defense is desire (of course, athleticism also plays a role). Without the desire, it really doesn't matter how athletic a player is, he will play poor defense. On the other hand, someone who wants to excel on defense can learn to do so (especially if he has the desire to do it) and in some cases can be a better defender than someone with more athletic ability.

I'm assuming Askew had NBA dreams. Given he's already played at UK and UT, there's enough information on him to show he's not super athletic (a must have for NBA superstars). Instead, at best, he'll be a NBA role player/journeyman. He has to realize he's undersized to be a 2 guard in the league. With his size, his best bet is at the 1. He'll have to prove he's a playmaker (and a 3-point threat) on offense, but he'll also have to be a defensive stopper (or at a minimum, a defensive pest).
I haven't done a lot of digging, but Askew's history reminds me a lot of Jamal Boykin.
HearstMining
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MoragaBear said:

4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
Thanks for the clarification. We talked only about his ankle and foot being healed. Didn't know about the back limiting him at this point. It may be a moot point, though, because I don't see a lot of minutes being available for him right now unless he really turns it up.

The hope is that Okafor and Newell's inside presence can free up Lars and Kuany be be more effective when either or both are on the court at the same time with those two. And the backcourt should create more ways to score with Clayton and Askew and hopefully an improved offensive game from Brown if he can carry over his offseason success.

Fox said that Askew will have the green light he had as a star prep at Mater Dei and didn't have at UK and UT and that can totally change his game for the better for the Bears. That can be a gamechanger that was off most everyone's radar

I think the most pleasant surprise for me was hearing about Newell. I had no idea of his size and strength and ability to score inside and out. He can potentially be a very big piece who was also off most everyone's radar.

This team's been so bad for so long that if they can be consistently competitive and get to .500 or above and build on it, it would be a major step up. Not sure if they have the pieces to do it but it should be really interesting to see how it all comes together.
Cal rarely got an advantage when Lars and Kelly were on the floor at the same time - they seemed to get in each others way. I think your big men need to have real court awareness in order to maintain good separation (Robert Parish and Kevin McHale being the best examples I can think of) while effectively scoring and rebounding. That may be a lot to expect from two new kids and Lars, whose basketball acumen is still improving. I hope Fox can make this work, and that either Okafor or Newell have some quick feet on defense.
calumnus
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HearstMining said:

MoragaBear said:

4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
Thanks for the clarification. We talked only about his ankle and foot being healed. Didn't know about the back limiting him at this point. It may be a moot point, though, because I don't see a lot of minutes being available for him right now unless he really turns it up.

The hope is that Okafor and Newell's inside presence can free up Lars and Kuany be be more effective when either or both are on the court at the same time with those two. And the backcourt should create more ways to score with Clayton and Askew and hopefully an improved offensive game from Brown if he can carry over his offseason success.

Fox said that Askew will have the green light he had as a star prep at Mater Dei and didn't have at UK and UT and that can totally change his game for the better for the Bears. That can be a gamechanger that was off most everyone's radar

I think the most pleasant surprise for me was hearing about Newell. I had no idea of his size and strength and ability to score inside and out. He can potentially be a very big piece who was also off most everyone's radar.

This team's been so bad for so long that if they can be consistently competitive and get to .500 or above and build on it, it would be a major step up. Not sure if they have the pieces to do it but it should be really interesting to see how it all comes together.
Cal rarely got an advantage when Lars and Kelly were on the floor at the same time - they seemed to get in each others way. I think your big men need to have real court awareness in order to maintain good separation (Robert Parish and Kevin McHale being the best examples I can think of) while effectively scoring and rebounding. That may be a lot to expect from two new kids and Lars, whose basketball acumen is still improving. I hope Fox can make this work, and that either Okafor or Newell have some quick feet on defense.


Generally for that reason you want (at least) one of your two interior defenders able to step away from the basket on offense. McKale could do that. Last year Grant definitely was that, in combination with Kelly or Lars as the interior players. It is one of the reason Kelly wanted another situation, to develop more as a PF. Next year Lars and Kuany are gone, so at this point Newell and Okafor appear to be the likely 4 and 5.
sluggo
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4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
I am not a high level NBA executive or even a low level one. But I think Kuany has more NBA potential than Okafor. Kuany has a position, a tall, switchable 3-and-D wing, and has perfect size for that position. If he developed his three point shot it would be possible though a longshot. Okafor is an NBA 5, but he is not an out of this world athlete, or a stretch 5. I question the executive. Which has nothing to do with whether he could eventually be a helpful players for the Bears.

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
stu
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sluggo said:

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
I've seen Thiemann score inside so I think that will happen unless opponents can pack the paint with impunity. I have some optimism about Askew being able to score but neither his high school nor college experience seem applicable to his situation now. I can only hope several others will set screens, pass the ball, and hit open threes.
KoreAmBear
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MoragaBear said:

4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
Thanks for the clarification. We talked only about his ankle and foot being healed. Didn't know about the back limiting him at this point. It may be a moot point, though, because I don't see a lot of minutes being available for him right now unless he really turns it up.

The hope is that Okafor and Newell's inside presence can free up Lars and Kuany be be more effective when either or both are on the court at the same time with those two. And the backcourt should create more ways to score with Clayton and Askew and hopefully an improved offensive game from Brown if he can carry over his offseason success.

Fox said that Askew will have the green light he had as a star prep at Mater Dei and didn't have at UK and UT and that can totally change his game for the better for the Bears. That can be a gamechanger that was off most everyone's radar.

I think the most pleasant surprise for me was hearing about Newell. I had no idea of his size and strength and ability to score inside and out. He can potentially be a very big piece who was also off most everyone's radar.

This team's been so bad for so long that if they can be consistently competitive and get to .500 or above and build on it, it would be a major step up. Not sure if they have the pieces to do it but it should be really interesting to see how it all comes together.
Hilarious that Fox is the one that allows Askew to play free on offense instead of UK and Texas.

MoragaBear
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Staff
Well to be fair, Cal needs his scoring more than either of those programs did.
KoreAmBear
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MoragaBear said:

Well to be fair, Cal needs his scoring more than either of those programs did.
True. We have been offensively challenged for so long we let guys like Don Coleman take volume shots. *sigh*
HearstMining
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stu said:

sluggo said:

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
I've seen Thiemann score inside so I think that will happen unless opponents can pack the paint with impunity. I have some optimism about Askew being able to score but neither his high school nor college experience seem applicable to his situation now. I can only hope several others will set screens, pass the ball, and hit open threes.
You're right that Lars can score, but he has yet to develop that calm that Kelly had in the paint, even as the defender was on his back and others slapped at the ball. By his junior year, Kelly knew what offensive move he was going to make before he received the ball. His senior year, he was able to go to an alternative move if the defender had the primary move blocked. I hope Lars can proceed down a similar path. Also, improved free throws because he can/should get to the line a lot and his form seems pretty good.

Oh, and how about some off-ball screens? I barely saw those at all last year.
SFCityBear
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stu said:

sluggo said:

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
I've seen Thiemann score inside so I think that will happen unless opponents can pack the paint with impunity. I have some optimism about Askew being able to score but neither his high school nor college experience seem applicable to his situation now. I can only hope several others will set screens, pass the ball, and hit open threes.
In 3 years, Thiemann has shown steady improvement, but so far he has only been able to average 14 minutes of playing time per game. Does he have the stamina and the ability to play more? We don't know that yet. But let's say he can average 20 minutes. That means that someone else will be playing in his place half of the game, either a tall player like Okafor or Kuany (I did not see every game, but I haven't seen Kuany show any back to the basket skills), or Fox will need to go with a smaller front line at both positions.
SFCityBear
calumnus
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SFCityBear said:

stu said:

sluggo said:

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
I've seen Thiemann score inside so I think that will happen unless opponents can pack the paint with impunity. I have some optimism about Askew being able to score but neither his high school nor college experience seem applicable to his situation now. I can only hope several others will set screens, pass the ball, and hit open threes.
In 3 years, Thiemann has shown steady improvement, but so far he has only been able to average 14 minutes of playing time per game. Does he have the stamina and the ability to play more? We don't know that yet. But let's say he can average 20 minutes. That means that someone else will be playing in his place half of the game, either a tall player like Okafor or Kuany (I did not see every game, but I haven't seen Kuany show any back to the basket skills), or Fox will need to go with a smaller front line at both positions.


Over the last 11 games (following Kelly's season ending injury), Lars started and averaged 24.2 minutes, but played as many as 34 (at home vs. WSU). During that time he averaged 7.2 pts, 5.7 reb 1.0 assist 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks. It does not appear he was ever in foul trouble, his minutes dictated more by matchups and performance. He started but only played 11 minutes in Cal's big road win at OSU, with Grant, Kuany, Alajiki and Anywanu (in descending order) providing the front line when OSU's 7 footer Silva sat.

I think Lars can definitely play 30+ (though he may tire if for the whole season), and with both Kelly and Grant gone we will most likely start out that way, with whether we finish that way probably more dependent on Okafor and Newell's development than Lar's. I expect continued incremental improvement, but not a quantum leap.
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

SFCityBear said:

stu said:

sluggo said:

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.
I've seen Thiemann score inside so I think that will happen unless opponents can pack the paint with impunity. I have some optimism about Askew being able to score but neither his high school nor college experience seem applicable to his situation now. I can only hope several others will set screens, pass the ball, and hit open threes.
In 3 years, Thiemann has shown steady improvement, but so far he has only been able to average 14 minutes of playing time per game. Does he have the stamina and the ability to play more? We don't know that yet. But let's say he can average 20 minutes. That means that someone else will be playing in his place half of the game, either a tall player like Okafor or Kuany (I did not see every game, but I haven't seen Kuany show any back to the basket skills), or Fox will need to go with a smaller front line at both positions.


Over the last 11 games (following Kelly's season ending injury), Lars started and averaged 24.2 minutes, but played as many as 34 (at home vs. WSU). During that time he averaged 7.2 pts, 5.7 reb 1.0 assist 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks. It does not appear he was ever in foul trouble, his minutes dictated more by matchups and performance. He started but only played 11 minutes in Cal's big road win at OSU, with Grant, Kuany, Alajiki and Anywanu (in descending order) providing the front line when OSU's 7 footer Silva sat.

I think Lars can definitely play 30+ (though he may tire if for the whole season), and with both Kelly and Grant gone we will most likely start out that way, with whether we finish that way probably more dependent on Okafor and Newell's development than Lar's. I expect continued incremental improvement, but not a quantum leap.
Hope you are right. Normally, I would not expect the freshmen to be ready to contribute a lot, and it would be a big plus if they can. Fox seems pretty high on Newell, and I hope he is right too. I like Anyanwu, who is pretty raw, but aggressive, and just needs some fundamentals and some skill scoring the ball.
SFCityBear
4thGenCal
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sluggo said:

4thGenCal said:

MoragaBear said:

Yes, Hyder's finally healthy
Actually not correct, JH is battling back issues and its been going on for the past 2 months. Foot/ankle issues are gone, but He is having ongoing issues with his back and hopefully that will subside. Clayton and Askew are going to be an improvement collectively over Shepard (though Shepard could create decently and occasionally carry the team for stretches offensively). And a high level NBA executive attended a recent practice and said that there is one player on the roster who has legitimate NBA potential (as he develops) and that is ND Okafor. Clearly raw right now and barely past HS age, but the physical tools are impressive. So this team has the makings of being noticeably better than projected, but yes its far too early to have a real handle on where this team will be come Nov/Dec.
I am not a high level NBA executive or even a low level one. But I think Kuany has more NBA potential than Okafor. Kuany has a position, a tall, switchable 3-and-D wing, and has perfect size for that position. If he developed his three point shot it would be possible though a longshot. Okafor is an NBA 5, but he is not an out of this world athlete, or a stretch 5. I question the executive. Which has nothing to do with whether he could eventually be a helpful players for the Bears.

The team being noticeably better than projected? Not without scoring coming from somewhere out of the blue. I will stick with 11th place +/- 1 place.

I have not seen Okafor practice yet, but the NBA executive was the GM for the Denver Nuggets and I will defer to his expertise. The team has the "makings of being noticeably better than the 11/12 place way too early conference projections. However who knows, as its purely a dice roll on how the team will perform. I do think that both new guards will contribute good scoring and hoping that Kuany/Sam/Newell trio, contributes more scoring than thought. Team should be quicker and better defensively across the line up, with added depth to allow more consistent ball pressure. And as Coach Fox alluded to, increases the ability to play up tempo.
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