The Cal football and men’s basketball seasons can both be perplexingly described as undoubtedly successful, yet unquestionably disappointing. Though both improved significantly from their previous campaigns, the weight of expectation seemed to weigh them down more than incite exponential growth. Jared Goff and company couldn’t quite contend with collegiate football’s big boys the way their 5-0 opening record hinted they could. And on the hardwood, the Jaylen Brown/Ivan Rabb duo burned bright when the two power freshmen played well but was fraught with too much offensive inconsistency and too many mental lapses to win a single game in the NCAA Tournament.
On top of that, it seemed the disappointing seasons of the campus’s two most popular sports would dry the all-of-a-sudden plentiful recruiting pipeline to a quiet drip. Both teams entered May with no significant signees to either program, seemingly riding the wind of fate back to athletic mediocrity.
Then things changed.
Demetris Robertson, a five-star wide receiver from Georgia, committed to Cal football May 1. The dynamic freshman will no doubt provide a shot in the arm to an offense that was on the verge of becoming anemic after losing 11 players to the NFL this spring. A weapon who can line up all over the field and return kicks, Robertson is the exact sort of volatile threat the Bears have always missed on offense, even when they had No. 16 slinging the rock. Yet, the question remained: Who will get Robertson the ball?
The answer to that question grew a lot clearer when Davis Webb announced he would transfer to Cal. Formerly of Texas Tech, the graduate student will be immediately eligible to play for Bears this fall. The No. 1 senior quarterback prospect in the country according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., Webb’s arrival will no doubt create a quarterback competition — the winner of which will be tasked with filling the hole that No. 1 pick Jared Goff has left on this formerly juggernaut offense.
Cal’s basketball team also looked to be in dire straights in terms of fresh blood. The Bears’ lackluster performance in their loss to Hawaii in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament cast a shadow on the team’s reputation. With Cal’s best player, Brown, headed for a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, it seemed that Rabb would be forced to carry the offensive load on his infamously slight shoulders.
Then things changed again.
Just hours after Webb committed to the football team, Charlie Moore committed to the Cal basketball team — ushering in a new era of offensive firepower.
Moore, Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, is a point guard with a knack for the highlight play. Whether it’s a no-look pass, a step-back three or a crossover that leaves his defender in the dust, Moore will bring more fun to the Bears than any player in recent memory. It’s on defense, however, that he’ll need to improve.
After holistically disappointing seasons for both the football and basketball teams, the three recent big signees for the Bears will let the programs more completely leave the up-and-down 2015 where it belongs — in the past.