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Cal Basketball

Bears Pick Up 2025 Top 50 Prep Recruit Jovani Ruff

June 5, 2024
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The Bears added their highest-rated prep commitment since Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb in 2015 with the addition of Long Beach Poly Top 50 prep Jovani Ruff‍.

“I feel like Cal is the best program for me because I feel like the plan they have for me is very reachable,” Ruff said of his commitment to Cal. “I always believe in Coach Madsen and the staff. I like how consistant they were throughout my recruiting process they were always checking up and at my games, I like how Coach Madsen has rebuilt and is rebuilding Cal. He is doing a great job of making people more engaged and having them want to watch Cal basketball. I also like that Cal is in my home state, not far from my family, provides a great education and has a nice campus.

“It’s just the perfect fit.”

The 6-4/180 4 star shooting guard announced his commitment on YouTube this afternoon, choosing the Bears over Oregon, USC and Kansas. Ruff also held offers from UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, LSU and more. He led the Jackrabbits to a 26-10 overall record in 2023-24 as well as a perfect 11-0 in conference as a junior.

"The relationship I have with the coaching staff, we talk all day, every day, early in the morning and late at night about everything,” Ruff said of his relationship with Cal. “We talk about basketball and about life. And I really believe Mark Madsen is the right coach for me at Cal.”

As a sophomore, Ruff averaged 19.5 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists a game and stepped up his numbers last season, averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

Ruff was the second big commitment of the week on the heals of senior grad transfer Jovan Blacksher‍ choosing the Bears yesterday. Ruff becomes the first commit of the 2025 class and the highest-rated prep addition by Cal head coach Mark Madsen.

https://www.youtube.com/live/whxbLCytKuc?si=sxeHig7e98DDA3I3&t=148

 

Discussion from...

Bears Pick Up 2025 Top 50 Prep Recruit Jovani Ruff

6,319 Views | 25 Replies | Last: 4 days ago by Big C
BearoutEast67
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Yes!!!
Donate to Cal's NIL at https://calegends.com/donation/
Johnfox
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Welcome Jovani!
75bear
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Fantastic news!

I'm excited to watch Jovani match up against the best the ACC has to offer. Madsen has me (and apparently Jovani!) believing.
Bearly Clad
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Congratulations and welcome to The University of California! We're glad to have you here and joining the Bear Family! We have high expectations and know that players like Jovani will bring this program back to where it was before Wyking and Fox tried to bury it. Madsen has us on the right path and landing studs like Jovani to play in his system are a big reason why. See you at Haas and then I'll be rooting for you in the NBA!
Big C
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Welcome to the Cal Family, Jovani! I think you're gonna love it here. Go Bears!
NVBear78
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Welcome to Cal, Jovani, Go Bears!
oskidunker
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Plus he is taller than last years shooting guard. Maybe he wont have to launch prayers
Go Bears!
brevity
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Thanks to the events of this week, Cal will have a JOVAN (Blacksher Jr) in 2024-2025 and a JOVANI (Ruff) starting in 2025-2026. If only there were a popular consumer product that presented its own NIL opportunity...


Pittstop
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I was just checking out Madsen's recruiting pulls for this year, and it is pretty insane, tbh. Aside from Ruff, with a 'national average' 4-star/95.2 rating, he's pulled Petraitis, Stojakovic, and, low-key, Lee Dort, who had like 20 high-level D1 offers, and the highest 'national' rating (99.3) of any of our recruits. So, obviously, considered a big time talent, and a coveted get, even though he is a largely (to 'us', anyway) unknown entity/small sample size as a baller (apart from his JC record of pretty impressive production). And, it appears that BJ Omot was highly coveted by some pretty legit programs, as well as being highly rated on a 'national' average. And there are several other of Madsen's committed recruits that are rated nationally at 91.2 and above (including Sissoko, at 95.2 - with other big time offers). Madsen's recruiting prowess is beginning to look pretty unassailable at this point (if that is even an actual word).
dha
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Ruff is a great commit, hopefully we can hold on to him and build further next year. This year's portal commits have some future promise, like Stojakovic. But we lack a top 10-20 player like Tyson, who turned out to be a top 1-5 player. 247 sports ranks Ca's overall recruiting class 14th in the ACC and 69th in the nation. Portal class ranking on its own is 35th. Lots of new players to integrate, now its up to the coaching staff.
ManBearLion123
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dha said:

Ruff is a great commit, hopefully we can hold on to him and build further next year. This year's portal commits have some future promise, like Stojakovic. But we lack a top 10-20 player like Tyson, who turned out to be a top 1-5 player. 247 sports ranks Ca's overall recruiting class 14th in the ACC and 69th in the nation. Portal class ranking on its own is 35th. Lots of new players to integrate, now its up to the coaching staff.
While I certainly viewed Tyson as a top 10ish transfer last offseason, it's important to note that he wasn't regarded that highly by most recruiting services. He was the 49th ranked transfer on on3, and #47 on 247. He hadn't fully broken out before arriving at Cal.

And, though last season's transfer class was miraculous given where the program was at after Fox, our issue was a glaring lack of depth.

This year's transfer haul is incredibly deep -- which means we won't be reliant on 1-2 players for success. Even if Stojakovic doesn't have a huge breakout season a la Tyson, we'll have 7-8 guys who can be our leading scorer on any given day. That will be huge.
Eastern Oregon Bear
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Pittstop said:

Madsen's recruiting prowess is beginning to look pretty unassailable at this point (if that is, indeed, an actual word).
It is and he is.
01Bear
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brevity said:

Thanks to the events of this week, Cal will have a JOVAN (Blacksher Jr) in 2024-2025 and a JOVANI (Ruff) starting in 2025-2026. If only there were a popular consumer product that presented its own NIL opportunity...




Wait, you said "popular," right? I'm wondering why the Billy Dee Williams ad for Jovan Musk is included in your post.
dha
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I hope you are right. The basketball talent level in the ACC is a notch, or two, above the Pac12. I worry we will struggle to score, again. We were not a good shooting team last year - FG percent of just 42%. Perhaps one of our transfers will step-up the way Tyson did. Fingers crossed.
HoopDreams
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I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses

dha said:

I hope you are right. The basketball talent level in the ACC is a notch, or two, above the Pac12. I worry we will struggle to score, again. We were not a good shooting team last year - FG percent of just 42%. Perhaps one of our transfers will step-up the way Tyson did. Fingers crossed.
parentswerebears
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I feel you, Hoop. I remember seeing the score more than a few times and seeing really close losses or games when they just seemed to have run out of steam. Add Meadows and more but in from the bench and we win those.
RedlessWardrobe
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Common question when a completely new team is put together - it appears that the talent appears to be well balanced, but unlike last year with Tyson, it's hard to tell what player or players (2or3) will become the "leaders" of the team. Have to wait on that one.
MoragaBear
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Staff
dha said:

Ruff is a great commit, hopefully we can hold on to him and build further next year. This year's portal commits have some future promise, like Stojakovic. But we lack a top 10-20 player like Tyson, who turned out to be a top 1-5 player. 247 sports ranks Ca's overall recruiting class 14th in the ACC and 69th in the nation. Portal class ranking on its own is 35th. Lots of new players to integrate, now its up to the coaching staff.
On3 has done a far better job of tracking, assessing and rating portal movement and classes in recent years than anyone else. They have Cal as the #10 net portal class and #3 in the ACC considering net losses and gains, and that doesn't even include Blacksher.

https://www.on3.com/transfer-portal/team-rankings/basketball/2024/

I was talking to Madsen about lacking a clear go-to guy in the class the other day and personally, I prefer having a situation where any of 5 or 6 guys could be the leading scorer on any given night.

Last season, when teams could slow down Tyson like when they lost their 18-point lead in the P12 tourney in the 2nd half, the team had very little chance of winning.
Johnfox
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I feel like every person in the starting five could be a go to guy (Tucker, Stojakovic, Omot, Petraitis). All have the tools to score at a high clip
BeachedBear
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HoopDreams said:

I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses

dha said:

I hope you are right. The basketball talent level in the ACC is a notch, or two, above the Pac12. I worry we will struggle to score, again. We were not a good shooting team last year - FG percent of just 42%. Perhaps one of our transfers will step-up the way Tyson did. Fingers crossed.

Better depth usually pays longer term dividends over the season, but not in any single game. Sort of the lifting tide raises all boats theory. Lots of added benefits to NOT relying on a single STAR as well:

More steam at end of games and season.

More tools for the coach to use at critical points in a game (finding who is hot, disruptors, fouling out, etc)

Better practice and player development for ALL.

More difficult for opposing teams to scout and scheme.

Better locker room chemistry (usually).
RedlessWardrobe
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Johnfox said:

I feel like every person in the starting five could be a go to guy (Tucker, Stojakovic, Omot, Petraitis). All have the tools to score at a high clip
Just for entertainment, more speculation - is starting PG Tucker or Blacksher? Or who will get more minutes?
barsad
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HoopDreams said:

I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses


I was happy with 13 Ws after the disaster of the Fox years, but let's hesitate before we say "huge improvement." The Bears were 7-9 in the 2nd half of the season, not much better than a 6-10 1st half, is it? In fact the two straight losses to the 'Furd to end it was hard to swallow.
I think when you take Tyson out of the mix and put this '24 roster against the non-Tyson '23 roster we are 25% better this year.
I agree with going for balance, I would gladly trade a .500 or better record for having one NBA draft-worthy player and a bunch of non-factors.
Tucker v. Blacksher will be a great summer practice rivalry, can't wait to hear who is kicking whose butt in scrimmages.
stu
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BeachedBear said:

HoopDreams said:

I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses

dha said:

I hope you are right. The basketball talent level in the ACC is a notch, or two, above the Pac12. I worry we will struggle to score, again. We were not a good shooting team last year - FG percent of just 42%. Perhaps one of our transfers will step-up the way Tyson did. Fingers crossed.

Better depth usually pays longer term dividends over the season, but not in any single game. Sort of the lifting tide raises all boats theory. Lots of added benefits to NOT relying on a single STAR as well:

More steam at end of games and season.

More tools for the coach to use at critical points in a game (finding who is hot, disruptors, fouling out, etc)

Better practice and player development for ALL.

More difficult for opposing teams to scout and scheme.

Better locker room chemistry (usually).
Also somebody can abuse the opponent's weakest defender.
HoopDreams
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barsad said:

HoopDreams said:

I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses


I was happy with 13 Ws after the disaster of the Fox years, but let's hesitate before we say "huge improvement." The Bears were 7-9 in the 2nd half of the season, not much better than a 6-10 1st half, is it? In fact the two straight losses to the 'Furd to end it was hard to swallow.
I think when you take Tyson out of the mix and put this '24 roster against the non-Tyson '23 roster we are 25% better this year.
I agree with going for balance, I would gladly trade a .500 or better record for having one NBA draft-worthy player and a bunch of non-factors.
Tucker v. Blacksher will be a great summer practice rivalry, can't wait to hear who is kicking whose butt in scrimmages.
we wouldn't have lost some of the early games if Kennedy was healthy.

the P12 tournament stanford game was lost because Aimaq and Celestine fouled out

if either of them were in the game at the end, Cal would have got the win

That loss still bothers me a lot
Big C
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stu said:

BeachedBear said:

HoopDreams said:

I think we had a good starting five, but the drop off after that was big

That dragged down our efficiency, and forced us to play our starters too many minutes

We might not have as strong a starting 5 but the quality and quantity of depth will be much bigger

I'm still frustrated that our huge improvement wasn't apparent to most because of our early losses and so many one possession losses

dha said:

I hope you are right. The basketball talent level in the ACC is a notch, or two, above the Pac12. I worry we will struggle to score, again. We were not a good shooting team last year - FG percent of just 42%. Perhaps one of our transfers will step-up the way Tyson did. Fingers crossed.

Better depth usually pays longer term dividends over the season, but not in any single game. Sort of the lifting tide raises all boats theory. Lots of added benefits to NOT relying on a single STAR as well:

More steam at end of games and season.

More tools for the coach to use at critical points in a game (finding who is hot, disruptors, fouling out, etc)

Better practice and player development for ALL.

More difficult for opposing teams to scout and scheme.

Better locker room chemistry (usually).
Also somebody can abuse the opponent's weakest defender.

And will add one thing from the fan's perspective: Lots more for us to figure out, as the team goes through the season. Last year, by mid-January, I kinda felt like I knew all there was to know about the team... and the only question each game was, is Jalen Cone gonna be hot or cold today? (hot we win; cold we lose)
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