California's signing of 6-foot-7 swingman Jaylen Brown (No. 4) and 6-foot-11 forward Ivan Rabb (No. 8) made it the only school to sign two players in the 2015 ESPN 100's top 10. Their arrival to a veteran roster brought high expectations.
The Golden Bears ranked No. 14 in the preseason, which was the program's highest mark since being No. 13 during the second poll of the 2009-10 season. The problem was, the team hadn't earned the accolades yet.
Getting the freshmen acclimated was more than just rolling the ball out at practice.
"I don't care what your talent says, you're still a freshman," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Still 18-19 (years old). It's a different adjustment, a different level of physicality, of understanding of the scouting report."
The hard part appears to be over for Rabb and Brown, and the Pac-12 should take notice. The Bears take a three-game win streak into Wednesday's game at Oregon (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2), a stretch that includes a 71-58 upset of then-No. 21 Utah.