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June 4, 2014
GoldenBearReport spent three days in Long Beach watching the Pangos All-American Camp and came away with several new names to keep an eye on.
Jimmy Whitt '15, 6-2 PG (Columbia, MO), Rivals No. 74/4-Star, OFFER
Another out-of-state point guard with a Berkeley offer, Whitt has been receiving regular calls from fellow Missouri native Cuonzo Martin, who can trade on his still-considerable reputation in the Show Me State. Whitt has a ton of Big-12 and Big-10 offers, and plans to visit SMU in the coming months. SMU already has Sedrick Barefield committed from 2015 but that doesn't seem to bother Whitt. The two hit it off at Pangos and are planning to visit together, both enamored with the opportunity to play for legendary Larry Brown. If the Bears are able to land Whitt, they'll be getting a point guard with an extremely quick first step and the ability to break down opponents off the dribble.
Brandon Sampson '15, 6-4 SG (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Rivals No. 73, OFFER
Already ranked in the Top100, Rivals National Analyst Eric Bossi told us over the weekend that Sampson should climb higher when the rankings are updated in the near future. Cal didn't enter the off-guard's recruitment until early May, but Sampson already has the Bears near the top of his list, saying "California, St. John's, Texas A&M, and LSU are the main schools I'm talking to right now. They have all offered. Oklahoma State, Georgetown and Mississippi State have offered too." Sampson is a terrific shooter who, while not especially quick, is very fluid and adept at the pull-up. The hometown Tigers will be pushing hard to keep Sampson close to home and an early commitment from the nation's No. 5 ranked player, Ben Simmons, is a nice feather in the cap to recruit with.
Kaiser Gates '15, 6-7 F (Norcross, GA), Rivals No. 94/4-Star, NO OFFER
A 6-8 forward out of Georgia, Gates is valued for his ability to play beyond the perimeter as well as inside. Georgia, Auburn, LSU, and Vanderbilt have all offered, making the likelihood that Gates stays in SEC territory strong. Out west, the Trojans and Bruins are also showing interest. California hasn't offered, but Coach Cuonzo Martin's relationship with the lanky wing dates back to his time at Tennessee. The Golden Bears do have Assistant Yanni Huffnagel on their side, and Gates told Rivals he's developed a strong relationship with the former Commodores assistant. Still, don't expect a resolution to Gates' recruitment anytime soon. He's interested in accumulating more offers and doesn't plan on making a decision until sometime during his senior season.
Malik Beasley '15, 6-4 PG (Alpharetta, GA), Rivals No. 137/3-Star, OFFER
One of the more impressive point guards at the Pangos All-America Camp this past weekend, Beasley has terrific size and is a high school teammate of Gates. He's 6-4 with a wing span probably closer to that of a 6-6 player, and has the quickness necessary to guard a smaller player. His jump shot needs polishing but his knack for getting into the paint, finishing or using his height to kick-out over the top of collapsing defenders are nice attributes. Beasley told GoldenBearReport that Cal is definitely in the mix to make his top-10 when he trims his list later this month. He hopes to make a decision in November.
Cameron Walker '15, 6-7 SF (Santa Maria, CA), Rivals No. 50
Perhaps Cal's most coveted 2015 recruit, Walker is one of his class' most versatile players. He can bring the ball up the court, knock down shots running off of screens, and finishing in the paint thanks to his superior athleticism and terrific body control. He's also a better-than 4.00 gpa student, making him an ideal fit for the Berkeley landscape. Walker recently trimmed his list to eight and, not surprisingly, included the Bears. Cuonzo Martin has taken the lead on Walker's recruitment, calling both him and his parents on a near-daily basis. They'll visit campus unofficially this weekend.
Lucas Siewert '16, 6-10 F (Brazil/Cathedral High School, Los Angeles)
A Class of 2016 prospect, Siewert's reputation is growing with each college recruiter that passes through Coach Will Middlebrooks' gym. Former Cal Coach Mike Montgomery loved Siewert's game, quickly offering, and when Cuonzo Martin and staff stopped by Cathedral High School to pitch Idrissa Diallo in April, they were similarly taken with the Brazilian big. At 6-10 with a sturdy build, Siewert is a high-major prospect who's list of suitors will grow as he splits time this summer playing for AAU Juggernaut, the Compton Magic, and the Brazilian U-17 National Team. He shoots upwards of 40% from behind the arc and has developed a potent 1-2 dribble pull-up, but also has the size and developing strength to do work inside. Arizona State, UCLA, USC, and Boston College are showing heavy early interest.
Stephen Thompson 6-3 SG (Los Angeles, CA), Rivals No. 70/4-Star
Another straight-A student, Thompson Jr. also has the bloodlines. Dad is a Syracuse legend, and told GoldenBearReport over the weekend that things are going well with the Bears so far. They're still getting to know Coach Cuonzo Martin but are big fans of Assistant Yanni Huffnagel who recruited Thompson Jr. while at Vanderbilt. One of, if not the best, three point shooters in his class, Thompson is being pursued hardest by Boston College, Stanford, Arizona State, Gonzaga, and San Diego State.
Ray Smith 6-7 SF(Las Vegas, NV), Rivals No. 32/4-Star
Make no mistake Ray Smith is headed for 5-Star territory. When the new rankings are released in the next few weeks, expect to see Smith as the second-rated small forward in the country. There aren't a lot of holes in Smith's game. He's an electric scorer who also has the potential to develop into a lockdown defender. The previous Cal staff did a good job with Smith and is a big reason the Vegas resident has the Bears in his top-10. Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, Louisville, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Texas, and Wake Forest round-out the finalist and won't be easy to fend off. Cal's biggest asset: Yanni Huffnagel. "That's my dude," Smith told GBR over the weekend. "I love that guy."