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Cal Basketball

Bear Insider Video: Cal Frosh Center Devin Curtis

September 9, 2023

6-11/210 former Southern California Academy center Devin Curtis‍  was one of two frosh players to join the Cal program in 2023, joining fellow SoCal frosh combo guard Rodney Brown on the roster.. As a junior before transferring to SCA, Curtis helped lead Heritage Christian to a 22-5 overall record and the second round of the 2022 CIF Southern Section Championships before transferring to SoCal Academy for his senior year.

"The transition was good," Curtis said. “The first couple of weeks was a little rough because we started to figure out a living situation. Besides that, just getting accustomed to Berkeley and Oakland, trying to explore a little bit in San Francisco but so far, it's been great. I know my way around a little bit.”

Curtis and Brown both played AAU ball for West Coast Elite and are close friends, making the transition to the next level easier for both.

"Yeah, it's a little bit better to come in with somebody you already know," Curtis said. "It's literally having a brother with me. So we've been sticking together. Probably if you see Rodney, you see me. The same way around: You see me, you see Rodney. So just coming in as a duo is a lot better since you have somebody to motivate you."

Curtis is relatively new to the game, so his growth curve is high and he’s starting to see his work pay off in the blocks, particularly with the high level coaching he’s getting at Cal.

"Over time, for sure, it's showing what I can do," Curis said. "But I've still got a lot of a lot more ground to cover to become the best player I can be. But so far, I've seen that I can make great strides when I really put in effort."

Playing for Cal head coach Mark Madsen, Curtis is learning from a former NBA vet who carved out a niche for nearly a decade in the NBA largely on the basis of never being outworked.

"I've learned that become undeniable getting to your spots, always explode high, have great touch and you've got to be loud and vocal as a big," Curtis noted as some of the biggest takeaways he’s had from Madsen so far.

Some of the other things he’s working on to improve his game?

“Right now, it's being more physical, being able to give the bump first instead of getting bumped. And then being able to keep my base low and don't let nobody knock you off the block."

Curtis is part of a major rebuild of the roster, with only a handful of returning players. Despite all the new faces and coaching staff, Curtis noted that everyone has come together well so far.

"I feel like team chemistry is great with everybody," Curtis said. "I know everybody has their little groups. But everyone, we're all together so it's like one big family."

He’s also appreciated his growing relationship with the new Cal staff as well.

"The relationship is tight," Curtis said. "We keep in contact, stuff like that and basically just keep it high energy when we're at practice." 

For the first time, Cal has taken advantage of NCAA rules changes allowing an expansion of coaching staffs to five full-time coaches. Curtis was asked if coaches stick to certain position groups or if they float.

"So it's a little bit of a mixture of both," Curtis noted. Some focus on some positions and some will have their little get-togethers with some players, but I feel like everybody could find a coach to really bond with and really help them in their position since they've already been through it. Might as well learn from their experience."

 Curtis and Brown were both early commits with the prior staff but one element of their recruitment remained unchanged, despite a different set of coaches and players under Madsen: Academics.

"Yeah, my parents instilled in me since I was young to always take school seriously," Curtis said. "I know covid was a little bump in the road. Took a little break. But once I got back into school and grinded it out, that allowed me to come to high academic schools. Academics was probably top two, top three or my decision list and why I came here."

As for what he’s most looking forward to with his new home at Cal?

"Winning, that's what I look forward to look forward to," Curtis said. "Winning and geting to March Madness.That's what me and my fresh my other freshmen Rodney hope to start a trend of becoming winners and then once we're finished at Cal, we can say we've done something.

“Go Bears!"

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