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August 26, 2013TweetFollow @CalRivals
A year after producing Aaron Gordon, Marcus Lee, and Jabari Bird, Northern California has offered-up another prized recruit.
This year's top hoopster, Malik Pope, might have the highest ceiling.
At 6-9 and with the ability to affect the game at both ends of the floor, Pope continued to accrue scholarship offers this past spring and summer, despite being sidelined with a broken tibia.
"They definitely kept coming," the Laguna Creek senior told GoldenBearReport last Thursday.
But just as programs continued to come after the fluid small forward, Pope continued to evaluate his options, and at the beginning of July, he narrowed his list to San Diego State, Arizona, Washington, USC, Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA, California, and Kansas.
"Those are mainly the schools that have shown the most interest for the longest," noted 2014's No. 14 rated player in the country. "I'll probably take two trips this fall and the rest in the spring, but it would be nice to make a decision before the season, too, so we'll see."
The good news for Bears fans is that Mike Montgomery and his staff are part of an even smaller group.
"Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, SDSU, Cal; they got their shields up and everything. They've probably been contacting me more than anyone... Cal's been texting and calling a lot. They're trying to get me out there for a football game next weekend (Northwestern). But I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to make it yet."
"School just started and I'm really trying to hit the books hard."
Considering his proximity to Berkeley, getting Pope on campus immediately isn't necessarily crucial. Getting the family matriarch to visit, however, is.
"My mom's really the key person," comments Malik. "She does a lot of research on the different schools."
That's not to suggest Pope's ambivalent as to where he ends up, only that he's excited about getting back on the court for his senior season.
"I'm hyped about it big time," says Pope. "We got a lot of seniors and some transfers, too. When people see us, their eyes are going to pop."
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