Cal basketball’s season ended March 11 with a heartbreaking loss to Colorado, but the Bears may be in store for an even bigger loss this offseason. As first reported by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman last Friday, star junior guard Matt Bradley has entered the transfer portal.
Bradley, who led Cal with 18 points per contest this season, has effectively been the Bears’ only consistent source of offense over the past three seasons. The junior earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors last year after finishing third in the conference in scoring. Despite missing seven games due to various injuries, he reached double-digit scoring in 21 of 22 games played.
To be clear, entering the transfer portal does not necessarily mean that Bradley is sure to have played his last game at Haas Pavilion. But given the NCAA’s decision not to count last year’s pandemic-induced season against players’ eligibility, it appears that Bradley could seek to play out the remaining two years of his eligibility elsewhere.
If Bradley never dons the blue and gold again, he leaves behind an impressive legacy in Berkeley. He sits at No. 21 on Cal’s all-time scoring list with 1,289 points to his name and has provided a sense of optimism for fans who haven’t seen the Bears sport a winning record since the 2016-17 season.
As of now, neither Cal head coach Mark Fox nor Bradley himself have released statements on the report. How the Bears could replace a potential Matt Bradley-sized hole remains to be seen — barring graduate transfer Ryan Betley’s pending decision, 11 members of last year’s squad are set to return, including veterans Grant Anticevich and Makale Foreman.
Earlier this season, Fox described his team with Bradley as having a “talent deficiency.” If Bradley, the team’s greatest talent, eventually departs, it’s hard to see any scenario in which Cal avoids the losing ways its fans have become accustomed to.