UPDATED 7:54 p.m.
A day after California head coach Wyking Jones broke through with his first commitment since being named the head of the program, the Bears lost yet another starter from last year's team, as redshirt junior Kameron Rooks was granted his release.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1754230-kameron-rooks-word... A Cal spokesperson confirmed the news, broken by CBS's Jon Rothstein. Rooks himself did not respond to a request for comment, but according to sources close to the team, the naming of Jones as the head coach had stalled Rooks's plans to transfer, initially.
The 7-foot-1, 265-pound center will be a graduate transfer, taking his degree in legal studies this May. Rooks sat a year in Berkeley due to a torn ACL.
Rooks's departure is the latest in a long line of losses for the basketball program. Following the graduations of Sam Singer, Jabari Bird, Roger Moute a Bidias, Stephen Domingo and graduate transfer Grant Mullins and the expected NBA Draft declaration by sophomore Ivan Rabb, on Monday starting point guard Charlie Moore announced that he would transfer to Kansas to be closer to his ailing father, in Chicago. On March 28, four-star signee Jemarl Baker was released from his National Letter of Intent, and has since committed to Kentucky.
With all of those losses, the Bears return just 25 total man-games started from last season, with all but one of those coming from center Kingsley Okoroh. Cal will get the services of Marcus Lee, the power forward transfer from Kentucky, but have now lost 86.1% of their scoring from last season, all five top scorers and, thanks to the departure of Rooks, have now lost 71.7% of their rebounding.
The Bears will bring in a freshman class of forward Justice Sueing, wing Juhwan Harris-Dyson, point guard Deschon Winston and Australian post import Grant Anticevich, and will return just five other scholarship players -- Okoroh, Lee, guard Dontae Coleman, Roman Davis and point guard Brandon Chauca, who played just one game last season.
In his three seasons at Cal, Rooks played in 84 games, with 20 starts. Last season, Rooks averaged a career-high 4.9 points per game, playing in 24 games with 10 starts. Rooks missed 10 games due to injury this past season, but even not playing a full schedule, he had clearly taken major leaps even from the end of last year, when he played the best he had in Berkeley. He averaged 10.5 rebounds and 11.5 points per 40 minutes, and was particularly stout on defense in 2016-17.
Rooks, the son of late Arizona star Sean Rooks, is very close to his family, which still resides in Southern California.
At the moment, the starting lineup for next season looks to be Harris-Dyson and Coleman on the wings, either Chauca or Winston at the point, and a rotation of Lee, Okoroh and Davis down low.
Chauca, a 5-foot-8 senior, has played in 31 games in two seasons, averaging 8.0 minutes. He played in 22 games as a freshman, and 9 as a sophomore. He's shot 33.3% (13-for-39) from three-point range, and 20-of-56 from the field. He has 20 assists to 23 turnovers for his career.
Okoroh, a 7-foot, 252-pounder out of Derby, England, has averaged 15.3 minutes in 95 games over the last three seasons, with 44 starts. He shoots 50.9% from the field, and averages 3.3 rebounds per game. Last season, he pulled down 5.5 rebounds per game, and set a program single-season record with 74 blocks. He now has 135 rejections for his career.
Coleman, a junior college product made his Cal debut last season, playing in 27 games and starting one -- the first-round NIT loss to Cal State Bakersfield -- and averaging 11.4 minutes per game. In what wound up being the season finale against the Roadrunners, Coleman set career highs with 26 points, 27 minutes, field goal attempts (19), three-point field goal attempts (5), free throw attempts (16) and free throws made (11). Coleman was a bit wild as a driver, and shot just 37.5% from the field and 20% from three-point range. He did however sink 68.8% of his free throw attempts. He averaged 1.5 rebounds per game (41 total), and had 15 assists to 28 turnovers. A three-point shooter out of junior college who only got sporadic action for last year's Cal team, it's likely that Coleman will stay on the wing, as his decision making left a lot to be desired last season.
Davis was billed as Rabb's backup by now-former head coach Cuonzo Martin before the season began, but the 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman played in just 15 games, and averaged 3.3 minutes. He shot 41.2% (7-for-17) from the field, and 0-for-1 from three, averaging 0.7 rebounds per game (11 total).