With the graduation of All-Pac 12 power forward Harper Kamp and the Bears' inability to land the big man they've been after to add size and strength under the basket, obtaining a commitment from a big man with the size and skill set to have an impact as early as the 2012-'13 season has been a primary focus during the late spring recruiting period for Cal.
After missing out last week on Polish center Przemek Karnowski, the Bears received a signed letter of intent from Danish center Sami Elaraky on Saturday, completing their 2012 recruiting class.
Eleraky played for the Danish National under-19 team this past year as well as for the Danish prol-level Aalborg Vikings, averaging 6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in finishing runner-up in the voting for best young player in the league.
The Bears had been recruiting the Danish big man for the better part of a year, with assistant coach John Montgomery making a good impression in his visit to Eleraky earlier this year.
"Cal has a great coaching staff, is a great academic school, is in a nice location and offers a unique opportunity to play in the Pac 12," said Eleraky.
"Cal's the number one public school and that says it all."
The 6-11/240 Eleraky was won over by the opportunity to compete in the Pac 12 and with the obvious need Cal had in the post and the big Dane was clearly able to see where he could fit in on the court.
"After last year, the team lost their two seniors in (Harper) Kamp and (Jorge) Gutierrez," said Eleraky. "Kamp was obviously playing the post, therefore the coaching staff told me that I would have a chance to get minutes my freshman year."
Eleraky also developed an affinity for the Cal staff, even though he didn't have a chance to visit Berkeley before making his decision.
"There are great people at Cal," said Eleraky. "They also have a good and experienced coach in Mike Montgomery. "I really think they'll help me to become a better player and polish certain aspects of my game. I know they'll push me every time during practices and just keep me working hard each day to accomplish my goals."
Even though qualifying is not expected to be a major hurdle, Eleraky is taking nothing for granted till his classes are finished this month.
"We'll see how it all works out," said Eleraky. "Right now I'm just trying to finish school with good grades. If not, i will propably be in prep school for a year, before joining the team."
To view Aalborg highlights, including a few clips with #15 Eleraky,