If %%MATCH_3%% just had one more quality frontcourt player …— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 22, 2014
As first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN, one of the top prospects in the nation – and %%MATCH_7%%’s top target -- %%MATCH_6%% was quite impressed by the Bears’ upset win over %%MATCH_9%% on Thursday. So impressed that he put “definitely” Cal in his top three.
As Rabb told his Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd head coach Lou Richie, he and another of Cuonzo Martin’s top targets -- Caleb Swanigan -- want to visit Berkeley together. The two played together on the Team USA U17 squad, and formed a fast friendship.
“I know they want to take their [Cal] visit together, and Ivan told me that last week,” Richie said. “Their relationship and friendship has grown and blossomed over the summer.”
Rabb is heavily focused now on his upcoming senior season, and, 10 practices in, recruiting isn’t foremost on his mind, but the Bears are.
“He did watch the game, but we didn’t really talk about it today. Right now, he’s taking his four other visits, and we’ve got finals coming up and the season starting, so for us, it’s kind of a change of focus,” Richie said.
Richie, though, did see what Rabb was so impressed with.
“It was exciting to watch,” Richie said. “They beat a really good team. For me, I grew up a Syracuse fan. I was a big Pearl %%MATCH_8%% fan, and I went to Syracuse basketball camps in the summertime. Even though they were only ranked 25th, and in more recent years, they’ve had better teams, it was still a big game for Pac-12 basketball and Cal. They didn’t score 80 or 90 points, but they definitely, against Syracuse’s zone, scored 71 points. They played tough, they played hard. I think that’s what Cuonzo’s teams are going to play like. It was good to see some kids that we know -- Jordan Mathews and %%MATCH_5%% and some other kids play well.”
Rabb was recently at a Cal practice last Saturday, and he speaks with the staff regularly.
“I know that, when they text him, he texts them back,” Richie said. “Ivan’s not really one to talk on the phone with a lot of people, even reporters. He likes his personal space. He’s never said anything to the effect of, ‘I wish they wouldn’t contact me,’ or anything. He’s excited. He enjoys communicating with the Cal staff.”
The man Rabb speaks mostly with? Martin.
“For Ivan, it’s really Cuonzo at the forefront, and %%MATCH_4%%,” Richie said.
Through 10 practices so far with the Dragons, Rabb is looking even better than he was a year ago, and that’s with a still-recovering ankle that he injured while playing with the U17 Team USA.
“We’ve had one scrimmage, and Ivan is looking better every day, getting more confident on his ankle and getting in better shape,” Richie said. “He played last weekend and played primarily on the perimeter, but he also complained on Monday about how sore he was, because he hadn’t played a game in so long.”
Catch that? The perimeter. Guess who else has been stretching his game out to the perimeter in Martin’s offense. That’s right: 6-foot-10 David Kravish. Cal’s senior big man is 3-for-4 from beyond the arc so far in the young season. How did 6-foot-10 Rabb do in the scrimmage?
“I don’t know if Ivan’s noticed [Kravish], but Ivan was 2-of-3 last weekend from the three, so he’s definitely wanting to step out and show that stroke,” Richie said. “He wants his game to continue to evolve, further and further. He wants to have the ability to have options further and further away from the rim, and that’s something that we’ve talked about a lot. The first two years, he was primarily in the block, and we said, last year and this year, unless it’s the last play of a state championship, we want to get it back to Ivan and give him the ability to grow.”
Rabb will see action tomorrow against Oakland Tech in a scrimmage, and will hit the floor for real next Saturday against Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.