Haanif Cheatham took a good week off from basketball right after being offered by the California basketball team, heading to an island without any cell service for a bit of vacation, before getting back into the swing of things. It just so happens that the swing of things means getting down and dirty with recruiting.
"That's something me and my mom were going over today," Cheatham said on Tuesday. "It's really difficult. You don't want to cut out the best schools, but you don't want to cut off the wrong schools. It's a difficult process you go through, but my mom and I have been talking about it today, and it's something I have to think about right now. I don't really have an official list with any schools in mind, but I'm just going through the process and enjoying it, right now."
The 2015 four-star hauled in his offer the first week of June, straight from head coach Cuonzo Martin.
"I was actually on my way to train – I had training that day – and my mom called me, and said that coach Martin would be calling me, soon," Cheatham said. "I think he had already told her that he was going to offer me, but she didn't tell me. So, he called me, and we had a really good conversation. He's a great guy, and when he offered me, it was amazing."
The 6-foot-5, 175-pounder fancies himself a guard, as do the Bears, though he's rated as a small forward with plus handles and a smooth lefty jump shot that extends to the three-point line, all of which the staff saw live at the EYBL event in Sacramento.
"When he called me, we had a great conversation, and he offered me, right there, on the spot," Cheatham said. "I'm a big guard, but I'm a versatile guard. I can play the one, the two, the three, and they like how I really pass the ball and get to the basket. They like how I finish through contact. My shot, I feel really confident in my shot, and they like the way I shoot the ball. Mostly, they like the way I get to the rim and finish. Coach Martin said that watching me cutting the lane is like cutting into steak."
Cheatham said that Cal likes him as a point guard, and that's completely fine with him.
"I like playing the one; I'll play any position – the three, the two or the one – but if he likes me at the one, then that's what I like to play," Cheatham said.
The offer to the Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Pines Charter star didn't come as a surprise, given his relationship with assistant Yanni Hufnagel, who recruited Cheatham while at Vanderbilt.
"Me and coach Yanni have a really good relationship," Cheatham said. "When he called and told me that they were interested, that's how everything went down."
Hufnagel's move from Vanderbilt to Cal made the Bears an option in Cheatham's mind almost immediately.
"Knowing coach Yanni is there gave them a big boost, because Yanni's a good guy, really has my back," Cheatham said. "Knowing that he was going to Cal was really a good thing to see. Him being there, it's a good thing for me to keep in mind."
Cheatham wants to make an official visit to Cal in late August, before he commits on Sept. 5 – the Friday before his birthday on Sept. 6.
"I want to get it close to my commitment date, so I can really remember how the visit went," Cheatham said.
Cheatham will visit Marquette from Aug. 29-Sept. 3, and still has three more visit schools still to be determined.
Cheatham and Cal Get Connected
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