For college basketball, July is the most hectic recruiting month of the year, with coaches flocking to summer-league camps and tournaments across the country to scout top prospects. For Cal, the possibilities are particularly enticing.
On the heels of signing a five-man incoming freshman class that was rated third-best in the Pac-10, coach Mike Montgomery and his staff are tracking two prospects ranked among the nation's top 25, high-rent territory for the Bears.
Their recruiting sights are focused on Oakland High's Jabari Brown, rated the No. 3 shooting guard in the nation by Rivals.com, and Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-9 power forward who averaged 19.4 points and shot nearly 70 percent from the 3-point arc in five games last week at the FIBA Americas U18 qualifying tournament in San Antonio.
The Bears also have an eye on Bishop O'Dowd junior-to-be Brandon Ashley, a 6-8 forward with a 7-2 wingspan who recently was rated the No. 5 prospect overall by Rivals in the class of 2012.
Stanford, whose six-player incoming freshman class this fall was rated No. 2 in the Pac-10, has limited space in its class of 2011 and is focusing on backcourt players. Perhaps leading the way is point guard prospect Chasson (rhymes with Jason) Randle, who is unrelated to recent Cal grad and Pac-10 Player of the Year Jerome Randle, but gaining a reputation as one of the most intriguing prospects in the country.
That happens to be the July itinerary of the Oakland Soldiers, whose roster includes Brown, Wiltjer and Ashley. Landing any of the three won't be easy, but all three have indicated an interest in Cal.
"They definitely have a good chance, just like everybody else," Brown said. "Coach Montgomery is a real good coach, they play in a real good conference. I'll look real close at them."
"I wanted to come out with a bang, and we did individually and as a team," Brown said of the Boo Williams tournament in Virginia.
Wiltjer, who attends Jesuit High in Portland, Ore., and is rated the No. 4 power forward prospect in the country by Rivals.com, made an unofficial campus visit on a football weekend last fall. "They're definitely on my list," he said of Cal.
While Brown and Wiltjer expect to develop a list of finalists over the next month and make a decision by the early signing period in November, Ashley is in no rush. But Cal is on his radar.
"They're close to home, so I have my fan base and everything. It's a real good fit," said Ashley, who turns 16 this week. "At the same time, I don't want to say they're any higher on my list than anybody else at this point."
Randle, rated the No. 7 point guard in the nation by Scout.com, is a 6-1 senior-to-be from Rock Island, Ill. He earned straight A's this past year and told Rivals.com he wants to someday attend medical school.
The Bootleg website reported that Randle made an unofficial one-day visit to Stanford early last month, but Stanford faces stiff competition from the likes of Connecticut, Florida State, Illinois, Miami and Purdue. Duke and Kansas reportedly are becoming interested.