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Photo by Twitter / Jalen Cone
Cal Basketball

Cone Excited to Rebuild Cal Hoops

April 11, 2023
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The Bears received their first big portal transfer commitment last week from 6’11 Texas Tech center Fardaz Aimaq, followed this week by NAU point guard Jalen Cone this morning, upping the excitement a big notch in a Cal fan base hungry for a winner.

"I don't think I don't think any of the fans are excited as I am," Cone said with a laugh.

The 5’11/170 senior point guard was a prolific scorer out of Walkertown, NC, averaging 25.7 points and 6.6 assists per game in 2018-19 and 35.5 points per game in 2017-18. He was a top-five scorer in the country in 2017-18 before signing with Virginia Tech, where he played two seasons before transferring to NAU, where he earned Newcomer of the Year his first year in the program.

"That was fun,” Cone said. “I know I want to say my sophomore year, I led the state in scoring. And number two behind me was Coby White, who was one and done at Carolina, who's now in the NBA with the Bulls. And I think number three was Wendell Moore, who went to Duke and now is with the Timberwolves. So it was a pretty cool deal."

"Bringing Jalen to Berkeley was a top priority for our coaching staff," Cal head coach Mark Madsen said. "He's an elite shooter who will boost our offense immediately and bring a mature, calming presence to our team. Jalen is also a tremendous playmaker who gets into the paint at will. Jalen's work ethic fuels his hunger to win, and that's the type of player every program benefits from. He's a true winner in every sense of the word and an outstanding teammate both on and off the court. We are incredibly excited to welcome Jalen and his family to the community and can't wait for him to arrive on campus."

For a 5’11 player to fearlessly get off his jump shot in all types of playmaking situations takes a special skill few possess.

"Man, my dad, we've been working on my shot since I can remember,” Cone said. “And we just always knew, as time kept getting on, I knew that I wasn't gonna be the tallest. I was gonna have to have a really good jump shot where I get off the ground and get my shot off.

"I just try to rise up so defenders can't block my shot. Like they're really gonna have to try and then I catch them off guard because I have a quick step, a quick bounce to me. So you just never know when I'll pull up and shoot."

Helping him get the elevation he needs to get his shot off is Cone’s outstanding vertical skills and athleticism.

"My standing vertical is like a 41 (inches)  and my max vertical where I get like two or three steps, it's like a 48-49," Cone added.

After two seasons at Virginia Tech, where Cone was limited to 15 games with four starts due to an injury as a sophomore, Cone averaged 9.2 points in 20.0 minutes per game. During six-game stretch, Cone averaged 17.2 points and shot 43.3 percent from three-point range with a high of 23 points at Louisville before transferring to NAU.

"You know, at Virginia Tech, they had me playing the two, Cone noted. "I was running off a lot of screens catching and shooting and then a lot of NBA scouts wanted to see me score off the dribble, have the ball in my hands and run the team. So I saw that opportunity to do that at NAU, be able to score off the dribble and show NBA teams that I can create my own shot and Coach Burcar here at NAU, he believed in me, gave me the keys and gave me the opportunity to do so.”

Now with his final season ahead at Cal, Cone is even more excited about the next destination’s possibilities as well as playing for new Cal head coach Mark Madsen.

"Coach Madsen, he's special. He's great," Cone said. "There's nobody else in the country you'd rather play for when you get off the phone with him, especially with his history. He's a great coach, a great man and a great father. And he knows what he's doing. He's just gonna put me in a great position to succeed. 

"He runs an NBA-style offense. And like I said, he's gonna put me in the best position to succeed.

“It's kind of unique because we're getting to build a team now. Of course, we've got some guys returning from the team, that are gonna play a big role in our success this year. But I think that with the opportunity, we have to get guys off the portal like 'Daws (new transfer Fardaws Aimaq) and have an opportunity to pick up more pieces that we're planning on getting.

"I can't spill all the beans just yet, but we definitely have some people in mind that we're trying to get on board and some people that me and "Daws are actually working together as players like, 'Yo, let's reach out to this guy, see what's up,'" Cone said. "Just trying to be player recruiters and stuff behind the scenes so we can get this thing done next year and win here at Cal."

Both Cone and Aimaq’s commitments came before either have been on campus but the two future Bears have been in contact and may well trip together to Berkeley in two weeks.

"Me and 'Daws have been in communication and have been connecting for a while now," Cone said. "I think he's planning to get out on campus too that same time as me so I'm excited to finally get there in person and be able to hang out and stuff."

Cone is well aware of the program’s recent struggles, both on the court and in the stands and has taken it upon himself to help rectify that situation.

"Man. I can't tell you how excited I am,” Cone exclaimed. “I know I saw some pictures and stuff, going through the process. I saw some pictures and videos of the stands and the crowd and I saw a lot of empty seats. And I just said to myself, 'Hey man, I want to change this around. I want to fill out that arena and get the fans something to look forward to."

When it was noted that Haas Pavilion hasn’t always been so sparsely attended but more likely to be a sellout than a small turnout when Cal had some of their better teams, Cone was aware of that, too.

"I saw all that to all that, too," Cone said. "So I used to watch when Jaylen Brown was at Cal, the opportunity to see it packed first before everything else in recent years and I'm excited for that.

“I just can’t wait to start building that back again next season at Cal.”

Texas Tech 6'11 Center Portal transfer Aimaq Commits to Cal

Curtis, Brown Anxious For Arrival at Cal, Reaffirm Their Commitment

Discussion from...

Cone Excited to Rebuild Cal Hoops

10,255 Views | 24 Replies | Last: 10 mo ago by oskidunker
Cal Junkie
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Bring it on! I love this "kid's" energy. He reminds me of Allen Iverson, who was nails.
edwinbear
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To my untrained, armchair sports fan eye he looks like a more athletic Justin Cobbs. But it's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.
calumnus
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Welcome Jalen!

Cal basketball is fun again.
HoopDreams
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"He runs an NBA-style offense"
calbearinamaze
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calumnus said:

Welcome Jalen!

Cal basketball is fun again.
For too long, being a CAL-fan has felt like a burden. The curtain is lifting.......


GO BEARS!!!
If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one-night stand
If there's a rock and roll heaven
Well you know they've got a hell of a band
Econ141
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Not trying to be Debbie downer here as by his highlights and stats he looks like an amazing addition .... But how do we reconcile all the buzz about him with him being only a 3rd-team Big Sky selection?
MoragaBear
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Staff
Econ141 said:

Not trying to be Debbie downer here as by his highlights and stats he looks like an amazing addition .... But how do we reconcile all the buzz about him with him being only a 3rd-team Big Sky selection?

I wouldn't draw anything from that. If you look at his stats and how he compares to the rest of the league he's right up at the top.
calbearinamaze
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A factor may have been that NAU was only 5-13 in-league, 12-23 overall.


GO BEARS!!!
If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one-night stand
If there's a rock and roll heaven
Well you know they've got a hell of a band
MoragaBear
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Staff
calbearinamaze said:


A factor may have been that NAU was only 5-13 in-league, 12-23 overall.


GO BEARS!!!
That was a definite factor
bluehenbear
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edwinbear said:

To my untrained, armchair sports fan eye he looks like a more athletic Justin Cobbs. But it's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.
I also have an untrained armchair sports fan eye, but I was having some Randle flashbacks watching those highlights. Makes me think Randle would be a great coach/mentor for him. Would love to see some Randle-esque swagger back on our floor.
Econ141
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bluehenbear said:

edwinbear said:

To my untrained, armchair sports fan eye he looks like a more athletic Justin Cobbs. But it's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.
I also have an untrained armchair sports fan eye, but I was having some Randle flashbacks watching those highlights. Makes me think Randle would be a great coach/mentor for him. Would love to see some Randle-esque swagger back on our floor.


Circus king with a jump shot is what he reminds me of
HoopDreams
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edwinbear said:

To my untrained, armchair sports fan eye he looks like a more athletic Justin Cobbs. But it's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Jerome Randle is closer comparison

Similarities:
- Lightning quick.
- Quick shot, can hit 3s from downtown and midrange on an array of moves.
- Undersized. Not known for their defense.
- Gunslinger Alpha dog with confidence and swag.

Differences:
- probably doesn't have Randle's Handle nor finishing package.
- Cone looks more athletic.

75bear
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bluehenbear said:

edwinbear said:

To my untrained, armchair sports fan eye he looks like a more athletic Justin Cobbs. But it's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.
I also have an untrained armchair sports fan eye, but I was having some Randle flashbacks watching those highlights. Makes me think Randle would be a great coach/mentor for him. Would love to see some Randle-esque swagger back on our floor.
Yeah, I got some Randle vibes also. That would be a huge upgrade if so.
ducky23
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Econ141 said:

Not trying to be Debbie downer here as by his highlights and stats he looks like an amazing addition .... But how do we reconcile all the buzz about him with him being only a 3rd-team Big Sky selection?


40% 3pt shooting on high volume is all you need to know. That's extremely valuable in the modern game.

And I doubt he's getting a ton of open looks playing for NAU
bigtuba1
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I was thinking Randle as well. I wonder if Jerome would like to come and work with him?
oskidunker
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bigtuba1 said:

I was thinking Randle as well. I wonder if Jerome would like to come and work with him?
I read here Randle declined.
Go Bears!
GBMARIN
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Reminds of Jerome Randle.
WalterSobchak
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"Just trying to be player recruiters and stuff behind the scenes so we can get this thing done next year and win here at Cal."

Don't tell anyone but this is NIL envelope pushing. Love it.
Give to Cal Legends! https://calegends.com/donation/ Do it now. Text every Cal fan you know, give them the link, tell them how much you gave, and ask them to text every Cal fan they know and do the same.
MoragaBear
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Staff
oskidunker said:

bigtuba1 said:

I was thinking Randle as well. I wonder if Jerome would like to come and work with him?
I read here Randle declined.
He has some personal stuff going on right now. He was really bummed that the timing wasn't right.
HoopDreams
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thats too bad, but glad Madsen recognized what Randle could add

maybe in a future he can come

MoragaBear said:

oskidunker said:

bigtuba1 said:

I was thinking Randle as well. I wonder if Jerome would like to come and work with him?
I read here Randle declined.
He has some personal stuff going on right now. He was really bummed that the timing wasn't right.
KoreAmBear
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You notice Cone didn't take a visit and didn't care about our lack of a dedicated practice facility. Seems like Mad Dog doesn't have a problem recruiting. I always thought facilities matter until they don't. Coach(es), school and playing time are to me the biggest factors. Tedford built the Cal football program with terrible facilities. He got them rebuilt. But we've never had a really good season at the new CMS. Coaches with energy and on a mission (no pun intended for Mad Dog) overcome.
calumnus
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KoreAmBear said:

You notice Cone didn't take a visit and didn't care about our lack of a dedicated practice facility. Seems like Mad Dog doesn't have a problem recruiting. I always thought facilities matter until they don't. Coach(es), school and playing time are to me the biggest factors. Tedford built the Cal football program with terrible facilities. He got them rebuilt. But we've never had a really good season at the new CMS. Coaches with energy and on a mission (no pun intended for Mad Dog) overcome.


Spot on, though NIL is part of the mix too now.
KoreAmBear
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calumnus said:

KoreAmBear said:

You notice Cone didn't take a visit and didn't care about our lack of a dedicated practice facility. Seems like Mad Dog doesn't have a problem recruiting. I always thought facilities matter until they don't. Coach(es), school and playing time are to me the biggest factors. Tedford built the Cal football program with terrible facilities. He got them rebuilt. But we've never had a really good season at the new CMS. Coaches with energy and on a mission (no pun intended for Mad Dog) overcome.


Spot on, though NIL is part of the mix too now.
Yes, forgot about that factor. Who knew that NIL would be helpful to us rather than damaging us to oblivion.
oskidunker
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The NIL donors need cooperation from Cal admissions. If they get it and we develop a really good team they are likely to donate more, in my opinion. So far, so good. Would be curious to know the gpa of the two portal tansfers obviously signed off on by admissions
Go Bears!
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