Busting Brackets

Ivan Rabb Commits to Cal: What’s the Impact?


When Cuonzo Martin left Tennessee for the greener pastures of Berkeley, it quickly became evident that the Golden Bears were going to be a force on the recruiting trail. The hard work of Martin and his staff finally paid off yesterday after five-star prospect Ivan Rabb spurned Pac-12 power Arizona and committed to Cal.

Rabb is a consensus top 10 prospect and All-America selection. The 6’11 forward has developed a national reputation for his length and athleticism. It was always known that Rabb would be a difference-making recruit, but his commitment to Cal legitimizes the program as a factor on the west coast.

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Cal supporters were fearful that the Martin’s staff would strike out on landing an elite building block. The golden scenario for the Golden Bears was a chain reaction of commitments that would begin with Caleb Swanigan and end with #2 overall prospect Jaylen Brown. Rabb was supposed to be the middle piece. Unfortunately for Cal, Swanigan (possibly swayed by the mastery of their recent Final Four run), pledged to Michigan State. However, receiving a signature from Rabb salvages the recruiting season.

While it’s unlikely that Brown will seriously consider Cal without a Swanigan/Rabb duo in front of him, there is an impact recruit on the board who will be heavily influenced by the opportunity to play with Rabb. Brandon Sampson, a top 40 shooting guard prospect from Louisiana, is heavily considering Cal after decommitting from St. John’s in the aftermath of Steve Lavin leaving the program. Cal was an initial finalist for Sampson when he signed on with the Johnnies, and they remain in the mix today. Adding Rabb could be a deciding factor for Sampson as his decision looms.

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  • Pairing Sampson with Rabb gives the Golden Bears a young nucleus that will vault them to a competitive level in the wide open Pac-12. The team already returns its two leading scorers from last year, guards Tyrone Wallace and Jordan Mathews. Adding Sampson to that mix would provide excellent depth, a factor that often turns bubble teams into tournament teams.

    Even without a commitment from Sampson, the capture of Rabb means that the goal is NCAA Tournament or bust in Martin’s second season. He’ll need to work fast, because there’s a good chance Rabb won’t be around after year one.

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