The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Could elite recruit Jabari Bird’s commitment to Cal have a ripple effect?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Jabari Bird (Getty Images)

As soon as Salesian High standout Jabari Bird announced Wednesday afternoon he'd be attending Cal next season, Bears fans began dreaming of the possibilities he could be the lynchpin for a decorated class.

Could Bird's commitment make Cal more attractive to fellow highly touted Bay Area high school seniors Aaron Gordon (Arch Bishop Mitty in San Jose) and Marcus Lee (Deer Valley High in Antioch)? Is it possible all three could play together for Cal like they have on various summer travel teams during junior high and high school?

"I'm sure it has come up in conversation because they know each other really well," said Lechet Phillips, Lee's coach at Deer Valley. "A possibility? Anything's possible. I'm sure they would love to play together because I've watched them when they do and they smile a lot, they enjoy each other's skill set and honestly they really complement each other. But I think each of them have good relationships with different schools and they'll all make decisions on what's best for them."

The possibility of even two of the three wearing a Cal jersey is tantalizing for Bears fans.

Bird, a 6-foot-6 wing rated No. 20 in his class by Rivals.com, boasts a smooth jump shot, elite athleticism and the ability to finish at the rim. Lee, a 6-foot-9 big man rated No. 15 by rivals, is a gifted shot blocker and rebounder whose offensive repertoire is rapidly developing. And Gordon, a 6-foot-8 forward and consensus top-five player nationally, combines unmatched athleticism with relentlessness going after loose balls or attacking

Lee and Gordon both visited Cal with Bird this past weekend, but Bird still has a lot of work to do to get either to join him in Berkeley. Lee has drawn scholarship offers from the likes of Louisville, Indiana, Duke and Kansas. And Gordon has been thought to be very high on Washington for a while.

"I don't think Marcus had shown a lot of interest in Cal, but they're definitely on his radar now," Bird told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Aaron will make his own decision, but I know he was impressed."

Cal may not have long to persuade Lee to shun some of the high-profile schools recruiting him and remain close to home for college. Phillips said Lee is hoping to take his official visits in the next couple months and make a decision prior to the start of Deer Valley's high school season.

"Mike Montgomery has been really good about having a good relationship with the family," Phillips said. "As a fan of Berkeley basketball, I hope they get a good class. The kids coming out of the Bay Area in 2013 are really good. I can see something special happening nationally with that group."

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