Cal Basketball: Can Three Freshmen Inject Athleticism into Bears’ Rotation? – CalBearsMaven - Techy Hunters


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Cal Basketball: Can Three Freshmen Inject Athleticism into Bears’ Rotation? – CalBearsMaven

The last word you’d choose to describe Cal’s recent basketball teams is athletic.

Coach Mark Fox has brought in a three-player freshman class he hopes will remedy that shortcoming.

“If you asked the three of them who’s the most athletic, they would all raise their hands,” Fox said. “They are three very talented young guys,” Fox said. “And I think they all have a level of athleticism that fits into this league.

“I think for their position, they would all three be considered guys who athletically check the box.”

The three freshmen are guard Marsalis Roberson and forwards Obinna Anyanwu and Sam Alajiki.

Freshman guard Marsalis Roberson

Marsalis Roberson

Photo by CK Hicks

“They’re all very different in the skill sets that they bring,” Fox said. “We’re excited about this freshmen class.”

He said he expects them “to be impacts on our season.”

Senior guard Makale Foreman said the three rookies certainly impact practice.

“They love to crash the boards. They’re always bringing that athleticism to the floor . . . that good energy,” Foreman said.

Fox knows there will be a transition, and it will be challenging at times in a faster, more complex game. “But I’ll tell you what, there’s no fear in their eyes,” he said, “and they have the basic athletic talent to become really good players for us.”

Here’s more of what Fox had to say about Cal’s freshmen:

GUARD MARSALIS ROBERSON (6-6, 190) Bishop O’Dowd HS-Oakland: “Marsalis is extremely athletic, quick. He has a nose for plays. He’s involved in plays all over the place. He really has a natural competitive streak that allows him to be involved in a lot of things. He’s going to score. He’s going to be a really good defender. I think he has a very, very bright future.”

FORWARD OBINNA ANYANWU (6-7, 220) Cathedral Catholic HS-San Diego: “Obinna is athletic also. He’s longer, he’s strong. He can rebound, put the ball on the floor, shoots the 3. Pretty versatile game.”

FORWARD SAM ALAJIKI (6-7, 225) St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep-Dundalk, Ireland: “They would all say they’re the best athlete of the three . . . Sam is powerful, explosive off the ground, he can run, he’s a terrific 3-point shooter, really athletic at the rim.”

With 15 players on scholarship this year — rosters are expanded by the NCAA this year due to the pandemic — Fox anticipates he will redshirt multiple players. “We’re not going to have a 15-man rotation,” he said.

But the three freshmen are not automatically earmarked for redshirting?

“No, absolutely not,” Fox said.

Obinna Anyanwu

Obinna Anyanwu

Photo by CK Hicks

Cover photo of Sam Alajiki, left, defended by senior teammate Jordan Shepherd by CK Hicks

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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