BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -New California coach Mike Montgomery acknowledges he has no dominant big man and isn't sure how the Golden Bears are going to go about defending the paint or getting big rebounds.
DeVon Hardin and Ryan Anderson, two key starters from last season when Cal finished ninth in the Pac-10 and reached the second round of the NIT, are gone. Anderson, who led the conference in scoring, left early for the NBA.
It doesn't help that 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Harper Kamp is being limited in practice following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early August, and 7-foot-3 Max Zhang of China is still finding his way and is not a physical center. Zhang is the tallest player in school history. Jordan Wilkes, also a 7-footer, isn't the most athletic threat in the paint, either.
e can't do. We're going to have to be efficient. What I don't have right now is my security blankets. When in danger, just go find your big people and make the defense defend on the block. We haven't used our big guys enough yet. We're going to have to start doing that. We've kind of neglected them.''
Since official practices began Oct. 17, Kamp has been dealing with swelling in the knee off and on. He practices for a day, then typically needs a day off to recover - and Kamp said his routine could be altered all season.
``I bounced back from the surgery in about six weeks, so I was able to recover pretty quick,'' he said. ``I've been a little bit conservative and so have the trainers to make sure everything is fine.''
Montgomery said he would likely use Kamp for limited minutes in Cal's lone exhibition game, Thursday night against Seattle Pacific. He hasn't decided on a starting lineup, though the team's first regular-season game isn't until Nov. 15 against Pacific.
st. Harper is critical for us.''
Cal is picked to finish eighth in the conference in Montgomery's first season. He spent 18 successful seasons at rival Stanford followed by two losing years leading the NBA's Golden State Warriors before being fired. So, this is a fresh start he's welcoming - despite the challenges of rebuilding a program.
``We're two weeks in and we've got a lot of work to do but we've found a lot out about our team. When you're starting from scratch with everything, it's just a different phenomenon,'' Montgomery said. ``Everything is new, the terminology. You don't have any veteran players. You don't have anybody who knows what you're trying to do. ... What I have to remind myself is we've just got to be patient. It's just going to take some time.''

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