Could Bears Be First for Furstinger?

Joe Furstinger is a big man on the rise, and Cal is getting in on the ground floor for the Santa Margarita power forward.

This summer, 6-foot-8, 205-pound Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita power forward Joe Furstinger has been getting quite a bit of attention. He still only has two scholarship offers -- from Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado -- but he's had several high-major schools poking around, including Washington State, USC and California.

Furstinger is no stranger to the Bears, having watched them in person against Pacific in last season's DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, and neither is he a stranger to the Pac-12, since his mother graduated from UCLA. In fact, his top factor for choosing an eventual college destination is being a part of the Conference of Champions.

"They're already a top-flight Pac-12 team, and they have lots of good players. They keep on getting better," Furstinger said of Cal, which watched him at the Pangos Sweet 16 and is keeping tabs on the versatile big man. "I talk with them once or twice per week."

Furstinger is a sneaky baseline rebounder and cleans up well in the low block. He can pressure defenses as a shooter because he can face up comfortably out to 18 feet, but he also prides himself on his long-range abilities.

"Cal likes my shooting. I can shoot on the outside and I can still post up on the inside, and, I'm a good defender," said Furstinger.

The long-distance element of Furstinger's game is still a bit of a work-in-progress.

Last season, he shot a respectable 53.8 percent from the floor, but 22.6 percent from three-point land, going 7-for-31 from beyond the arc.

"I can shoot threes pretty well, but I've still got to work on that a little bit," Furstinger said. "I think I'm pretty good at defense, and I'm really good at blocking shots and stopping them."

Last season, Furstinger averaged 2.9 blocks and 10.6 boards per game, with 20 deflections. Being in a system that emphasizes defense is another factor in which school he winds up choosing, Furstinger said.

Furstinger will be busy with AAU showcases for the next three weekends, but will attend elite camps later in the summer and then take unofficial visits to the hosting schools.

"I'm going to go to USC, USD's and probably will try to go to Cal's, Colorado's, Washington State's and Washington's," Furstinger said.

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