New Cal basketball coach Mark Fox has five scholarship freshmen on his 2018-19 squad, and you can frame that as a positive or a negative.
Fox points out the negative in matter-of-fact terms.
“I don’t know if any coach would be excited about having five freshmen, because there’s some interesting plays that occur,” Fox said on the video taken Tuesday.
Indeed freshman can cause coaches to pull out their hair because inexperience leads to errors. That’s why they call them freshmen mistakes. And Fox will have no choice but to play some of those first-year players this season.
But Fox also noted that those newcomers have more of a “blank slate.” That implies those players don’t have to unlearn habits they may have been picked up from a previous coaching staff that has a different philosophy. From the outset, those freshmen can be molded into the players Fox wants them to be.
Cal’s five scholarship freshmen are Joel Brown, Kuany Kuany, Lars Thiemann, D.J. Thorpe and Dimitrios Klonaras.
Thiemann, a German, may not be the most productive of the five freshmen this season, but he is the most intriguing because he is a 7-footer.
The starting lineup and the rotation remain issues to be settled.
The new Cal team is scheduled to take the court together for the first time when it faces St. Martin’s in an exhibition game at Haas Pavilion at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
If there is a power outage on campus on Wednesday as a result of the PG&E electrical shutdown, the game could be canceled or moved to a site outside of Berkeley.
Cal’s first regular-season game is scheduled for next Tuesday (Nov. 5) against Pepperdine at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.