Top recruit Bird commits to Cal men’s basketball

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There will be another Bird ready to take flight in Berkeley.

Five-star shooting guard Jabari Bird committed to the Cal men’s basketball team on Wednesday, following his father’s footsteps. His father Carl Bird was a standout scorer in the mid-1970s at the old Harmon Gym.

Ranked as the No. 20 high school player in the nation, the Richmond, Calif. native unexpectedly cancelled all remaining recruiting trips before committing to the Bears. Bird was considering other schools like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

As the highest rated player to come to Cal since Leon Powe in 2003,  Bird’s addition is a huge boost to a program that has craved an elite prospect for several years. Despite overachieving with his players, head coach Mike Montgomery has been criticized for his inability to bring in top recruits.

Bird has had a steller season with Salesian High School last year, leading the team to a Division IV state championship. In the 70-56 win against Price-Los Angeles in the state title game, Bird led the team with 24 points.

Bird is the second commitment to Cal’s Class of 2013 after Danish center Sami Eleraky and already is making pitches to fellow prospects to join him. During his official recruiting visit to Cal, Bird brought along highly touted Bay Area recruits Aaron Gordon and Marcus Lee to Berkeley.

“I’m trying to get Marcus Lee and Aaron Gordon and maybe a few other guys from SoCal,” Bird said to ESPN. “We can be the top class in 2013 if they all decided to come.”

Seung Y. Lee is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].