When California head coach Cuonzo Martin and the Bears traveled down to Los Angeles a week ago, there was the usual swing though some of the Southland's recruiting hotbeds, but there was one prospect Cal made a point of seeing: Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei forward Justice Sueing.
Sueing started the year with not a single major offer, but in the past 12 months, he's earned offers from Utah, Vanderbilt, Montana, San Francisco and Hawaii. After watching one of his games, the Bears added themselves to that list, and then came back for more, watching Sueing on Friday night during his Senior Night tilt against San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra, a 67-46 win.
"They'd been talking to me, and they made it clear that they really wanted me in their program, that I'm a player who would fit really well into their system," Sueing told BearTerritory on Sunday. "Their environment, what they're about, their coaches push, and I like that. I like their intensity, I like the school. The coaching staff is very straightforward, they want to see you do better, they want to make you the best player you can be, and all three can help me carry on to the next level."
At Senior Night, the Bears coaching staff got to meet some of Sueing's family.
"They wanted to come and show me some support, and they wanted to show me that I was a priority," Sueing said. "It's crazy. I've been under the radar for pretty much my whole career. But, it's interesting. Utah came in, and Cal came in, and Vanderbilt came in. There's all these schools showing interest. That hard work means something. I was just staying hopeful for the opportunity."
What did Cal see in Sueing? A 6-foot-7, 210-pound wing who plays with physicality and toughness -- qualities prized by Martin -- who the Bears look at as a three.
"It was just me being versatile as a player," Sueing said. "I can play multiple positions, one through four, and the five against smaller guys, but it's just me being able to play and score, decision making, IQ and stuff like that. That was their reason for my offer."
Sueing is already in the process of setting up an official visit to Berkeley, as he tries to figure out which school fits him best.
"[Cal, Vanderbilt and Utah], those schools, they're all good schools and great locations," Sueing said. "As far as basketball, the conferences that they're in, they're really good conferences, the Pac-12 and SEC. Those are conferences I'd like to play in, and the competition is something I could flourish in. The colleges, the coaches, the areas, the environments, that's what I'm looking at."
He's already made a trip to St. Mary's and another to Utah, but travel -- and distance -- are no big deal for Sueing. Sueing, who sports a 3.8 GPA at Mater Dei, has only been there for two years.
Born and raised in Hawaii, after fourth grade Sueing and his family moved to Arizona from fifth grade until his freshman year of high school, and then moved back to the Islands for his sophomore year, before finally landing in Southern California.
"Choosing Mater Dei, it's one of the better schools in California, especially where we moved to," Sueing said. "There were other options too, but we looked at Mater Dei, and it felt like a good fit. It's a good fit, and I love it. The atmosphere here, the people, it's great."
Now, Cal is hoping that Sueing finds Berkeley to be just as good a fit.