While the California football staff was evaluating talent up at Memorial Stadium this weekend during the full-contact camp, the California basketball staff was busy rolling out the blue carpet for one of the top hoopsters in the nation, Ivan Rabb.
"Yesterday, me, Ivan, his mom and my assistant coach Dante Patterson took a trip to Cal," said Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd head coach Lou Richie. "It was a good visit. It was very informative. We started off, got there at 12, met everybody in front [of Haas Pavilion], walked inside."
It was not the first in-person meeting between head coach Cuonzo Martin and the 2015 five-star, but the visit was the most comprehensive Rabb has had with the Bears.
"What Cuonzo really wanted to get out of it was to build a rapport with Ivan, and see if Ivan's a good fit for Cal, and if Cal's a good fit for Ivan," Richie said. "Cuonzo's a good fit for Ivan, if Ivan's a good fit for Cuonzo."
The group sat in Martin's office and spoke at length about the future.
"We talked through different scenarios, getting to know you -- What would you do in this situation? -- which is good, and then, we went and toured the facilities at the RSF," Richie said, referring to the new practice court on the second floor. "We walked around, came back and talked to Stephen Etter."
Etter, a founding member of a firm in San Francisco, teaches UGBA 131, Corporate Finance and Financial Analysis, and has been teaching at Berkeley since he was a GSI back in 1979.
"He works at an investment firm, and it was incredible for him to sit down with Ivan," Richie said. "He talked about business, different opportunities. He was great with Ivan. Hashim Alauddeen came in and talked about the academic perspective, as well as Ivan's legacy and connection to the Bay Area. It was all good. It's an incredible teachable moment, for Ivan to just absorb it, to embrace it, to enjoy it. Those are the things that we talk about."
For the uninitiated, Alauddeen helped to found the Oakland Soldiers – the AAU program for which Rabb plays -- and just so happens to be a faculty member at Cal's school of education. When he talks about the legacy of Bay Area basketball, young men like Rabb listen.
From there, the group took a tour of the campus, and then returned to Haas Pavilion to watch the current team go through their offseason workout. After that, they spoke with the academic support team and then watched the Bears go through their strength and conditioning program.
"It was very informative for Ivan and his mom," Richie said. "It was a great opportunity for him to compare and contrast to other schools he's visited."
Over the past few weeks, Rabb has visited Georgetown, North Carolina and Duke on proto-official visits. Dry runs, if you will.
"Exactly," Richie said. "What we want Ivan to do, is due diligence, and do more research on these schools than any kid that's ever gone to these schools before. It's just like buying a house, just like doing the due diligence on where you're going to go to school. We want Ivan to know the most about the school, the business programs, the coaches, the schedule – everything. We want Ivan to come in more informed about those schools than any kid who's ever gone into the school before."
This Cal staff, Richie said, has done right by the No. 2 power forward in the 2015 class, since they came to replace Mike Montgomery and his bunch.
"The new staff has been very pro-active, and very aggressively recruiting Ivan Rabb," Richie said. "They're making Ivan know that he is definitely a priority, and that they want to get to know him as a person, and they want him to get to know the University of California, Berkeley."
Rabb is responding rather favorably to that particular tack.
"I think Ivan's responding well," Richie said. "He was excited, like for the other visits, to go up and visit Cal. He's excited to know more about the coaches, and I think he was excited to learn more about the recruiting process and what Cal had to offer. These are great people [Alauddeen and Etter] for Ivan to meet with. He understands that he can attain that educational level. It's very empowering for Ivan to continue to meet as many academics as possible."
If Rabb comes to Berkeley, he may not come alone. One of his best friends is his point guard, Paris Austin, who's developed into one of the top points in the Bay Area. Cal has started to get involved with him, as well, on his own merits.
"Paris can potentially be the best point guard in California, if not on the West Coast," Richie said. "He's coming on strong, this summer, and he's Ivan's best friend. It just so happens that two great kids, that have grown up together, both have very bright futures."
Richie calls Austin "very competitive," and with his father being 6-foot-4, and his mother being 5-foot-11, the 5-foot-11, 155-pound point could grow into quite a player.
"He's just an incredible competitor," Richie said. "It's great that him and Ivan are best friends, because they play very well together."
Bears Roll Out Blue Carpet for Rabb
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