Cal Basketball: Bears Sign Two Prospects, Including Home-Grown Small Forward

Jeff Faraudo

Cal basketball coach Mark Fox has landed two recruits in the early signing period, securing a small forward from just down the road and a guard from 3,000 miles away.

Forward Monty Bowser of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High and guard Jalen Celestine of Long Island (NY) Lutheran will join the Golden Bears as freshman next season.

“We wanted to add versatile wing players and young men with the quality of character to make our program stronger and better,” Fox said. “We are excited about Monty and Jalen’s ability to impact our team. Both come from terrific high school programs.”

Bowser comes from the same program that sent current Cal guard Paris Austin and former Bears’ star Ivan Rabb to Berkeley.

The 6-foot-6 Oakland native helped O’Dowd advance to the 2019 CIF playoffs, where he had 22 points in the Dragons’ loss in the NCS Division II title game after earlier scoring 21 points against Grant High of Sacramento.

Bowser was named to both the San Francisco Chronicle 2018-19 All-Metro and All-Bay Area News Group honorable mention squads.

Bowser is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and 247Sports. The latter ranks him as the No. 35 prospect in California, the No. 45 national prospect at his position.

“Monty is a skilled shooting guard who has the length and athleticism to complement his versatility,” Fox added. “He will make our team better and I am so excited to have him staying home.”

Bowser had offers from Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside and Grand Canyon, among others.

A 6-7 guard, Celestine averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as a junior last season. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range as a junior. He was named to the New York State Sportswriters Association All-State Team.

Rated as a three-star prospect by both Rivals and 247Sports, Celestine is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 9 recruit in New York and the No. 78 shooting guard in the country.

On the 2019 Nike EYBL circuit, Celestine averaged nearly 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists over 13 games with his UPlay Canada squad.

“Jalen is a versatile player who one day could play several positions on both offense and defense. I am excited about all of the possibilities he will bring to Berkeley,” Fox said.

Celestine also had offers from Bucknell, George Mason, Hofstra and La Salle.

With 10 current scholarship players expected to return next season, the Bears have one remaining spot to to reach the limit of 13 scholarships for the 2020-21 roster.