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Cal's Justin Cobbs makes immediate impact

11/2/2011

The Big Three of Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp kicked off Cal's schedule with an exhibition win against UC San Diego on Wednesday, and surprisingly, it wasn't any of them who led the team in scoring.

That honor went to Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs, the sophomore point guard who came off the bench to score 17 points and dish out four assists without committing a turnover in 25 minutes. As freshman Golden Gopher, Cobbs averaged 2.1 points. In this game, he played more minutes than starter Brandon Smith, meaning he at the very least will provide some good depth in the backcourt.

"Justin had a really good game, and he deserved to be on the floor," Cal coach Mike Montgomery told reporters. "It’s a just a matter of finding people that are producing."

Last week at Pac-12 media day, Montgomery described Cobbs as a strong and explosive player who needed to play more consistently without losing focus so he could limit his mistakes. His strength is his versatility to play either guard position, and Cobbs told reporters after the game he could see himself playing point guard and shooting guard.

"Sometimes, Allen is getting it going or Jorge is playing well and I might have to play the one," Cobbs said. "Other times, Brandon might be playing well and I have to move to the two or either or. I'm just out there trying to contribute in any way possible. I feel like I'm more comfortable at the one, but any way possible to contribute."

So on a Cal team that doesn't lack for experience, depth is developing in the year after a short-handed team managed to at least make a postseason tournament. Expectations are high for a team that is now ranked in both polls, and it's Cobbs who might give the Bears another dimension.