Bears Offer Brazilian Big

Already among the finalists for Idrissa Diallo, California offered his teammate from Brazil on Tuesday morning, becoming the first school to pull the trigger on the 6-foot-9 sophomore.

Every time the California men's basketball staff has gone down to see the as-yet-unsigned Idrissa Diallo at Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral, they've seen another intriguing prospect banging around the rim, and on Tuesday, the Bears extended the first offer to 2016 Brazilian product Lucas Siewert, who, at just age 15, stands 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, and is projected to grow to 6-foot-11.

"He's a stretch four kid, can really shoot it and put it on the ground, is physical strong around the rim, learning how to block shots and really just learning the American game," said his coach, Will Middlebrooks. "He's pretty good. He started every game at the adidas Nations for Latin America as a freshman, and he's good."

The Bears offered early on Tuesday morning, and Siewert was said to be excited about it – the first of what should be many scholarship offers.

"They've seen him every time they've come and seen Iddy, so the whole staff has seen him," Middlebrooks said.

At this point, Siewert's style of play still bears some hallmarks of a more European game, but he's looking more and more every day like an American big man.

"He's transitioning well," Middlebrooks said. "He looks like an American player in many ways now. He was here all last year."

Siewert actually enrolled at Cathedral during the school year, right before basketball season, said Middlebrooks.

"A lot of kids find our school online, and their parents apply, so there's been a huge influx of foreign kids," said Middlebrooks. "Kids want to play in America."

Among friends, Siewert is an outgoing, likeable young man, but given the language barrier – Middlebrooks said his English is good, but not quite at the level of Diallo's – he can come off as a bit shy.

"That's generally all the foreign kids their first year here," Middlebrooks said. "He speaks good English, though. It's coming."

Though Siewert is new to the process, he's seen plenty of what Diallo has gone through during his recruitment, and understood just how big that first offer was.

"We have a lot of colleges coming through, so he's starting to understand how things work," Middlebrooks said.

Siewert has spoken with Diallo about the Bears, and while he hasn't been on campus, he sees the high regard in which Diallo holds Cal.

"After the season, I'll bring him up unofficially, when we can," Middlebrooks said. "We're going into the season now, so it'll be at some point probably after the season, though."

Last year, Siewert played just eight varsity games and scored 11 points with 14 boards and two steals, but given that he got into the swing of things a bit late, those aren't indicative of the type of year he'll have this season.

"He had just gotten here, so he was having to learn things," Middlebrooks said. "But, he had an amazing summer. He pretty much averages a double-double every game at this point."

Siewert's court vision is developing, and he's already a proficient passer, but the biggest thing he has to work on, said Middlebrooks, is his hoops IQ.

"He needs to understand that he doesn't need to score when he's double- and triple-teamed; he needs to find the open guy," Middlebrooks said. "He's learning that, and he's still just a young player, so his IQ is developing. He's good."

Despite being fresh into the American school system, Siewert has a GPA well over 3.0 and is already on the Honor Roll at Cathedral.

"He's a great student," Middlebrooks said. Top Stories