The California Golden Bears finished the 2014-15 season with an 18-15 record. They ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in per-possession offense and defense. They lost their most experienced player, center David Kravish, to graduation. And, just last week, they ranked No. 12 in our No Longer Way-Too-Early Top 25.
The above sentences shouldn't compute. But it does, for two reasons. The first is Jaylen Brown, the No. 4 player in the class of 2015. The second is Ivan Rabb, who ranks No. 8.
Both players chose California over a number of other higher-profile destinations, giving second-year coach Cuonzo Martin arguably the best one-two recruiting punch in Bears' hoops history and immediately foisting major expectations -- from a return to the NCAA tournament to the program's third Pac-12 title since 1960 -- on a previously nondescript team. To live up, Cal will need star turns from both players right away.
Fortunately for Cal, Brown is one of the most versatile, college-ready players in the class.
Rabb, meanwhile, is apparently a test subject for the U.S. military's secret Super-Soldier Project:
That tweet is from Cal strength coach Nicodemus Christopher and, yes, he accidentally swapped the before and after. The shot on the right is Rabb when he arrived at Cal in late June. The shot on the left is Rabb now.
That is terrifying. By our calculations, at this rate of growth, in approximately three months, Rabb will look like Anthony Mason.
Oh, and in case you're wondering whether Rabb put on too much weight, take comfort in Christopher's response to that exact question on Twitter:
That's totally how we approach our workouts too, you know? We want to add strength without comprising our movement, which is why we stick to a strict regimen of haha just kidding we haven't worked out in two months. Sigh.