Bird Now a Bear

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By Jim McGill, Staff Writer
Posted Sep 5, 2012
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2014 BearInsider.com


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The Bears†picked up†their biggest commitment in at least a decade this morning as Salesian (Richmond, CA) wing Jabari Bird announced to his school this morning that he's committed to the University of California.

The 5 star Bird made his commitment announcement before the Salesian student body this morning before making himself available to the media after school.

"He came to our school as a sophomore (from Benicia High School) and was†already a really good player and we were a really good program," said Salesian head coach Bill Mellis. "But as highly-touted as Jabari was, he wanted to come here and just fit in rather than saying, 'I'm the guy.' He wanted to just mesh with his teammates.

"I think because of that -him not coming in with a superstar mentality, he just blended with our guys really well.

"He loves our school and he's become really close not only with our basketball players but his senior class overall.

"When he said he wanted to do his announcement in front of the school, I thought that was pretty cool because we've had other guys in the past that didn't really do it that way, like tweeting it or making it a big media production. He wanted the students to hear it first after Coach Montgomery so I think that kind of speaks to the kind of kid he is."

Being such a highly-rated recruit, could the battle for Bird continue?

"Jabari cancelled his visits when he was sure about Cal," said Mellis. "He said he's 100% and he's done with recruiting.

"He's really close to his parents and the idea of playing locally was really appealing to him and he has a great relationship with the Cal staff, especially Travis DeCuire."

Bird's father Carl starred for the Bears in the 70's and has remained on good terms with the program, though he was careful to let his talented son make his own decision.

Averaging 18.8 points and†4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 59% from the field (43% from 3), Bird is a silky smooth player with loads of athleticism.

Most scouts feel that Bird has loads of untapped potential and project him to be a future impact player at the next level.

"The best thing about Jabari is that he that he can really score the ball," said Mellis. "His mid-range jumper is practically a layup. He makes it eight or nine times out of ten.

"In additions to being really good around the basket, he can really shoot it. He's really developed his 3-point shot as well.

"He's incredibly efficient with his scoring. He's had games where he puts up 20 points in just 12 or 13 shots. He has games where he went 10-for-12, 11-for-13. He just really scores efficiently.

"He plays above the rim well and he hits the offensive boards well, so that helps add to his versatility."

The 5 star Bird†considered four programs recently, including Cal,†Washington, Colorado and Oregon, with Cal and UW being the finalists in the end before settling on Cal.

Stay tuned for more from Bird later today.†

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