Three Top Recruits Sign With Cal

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Cal fans, meet Leon, Ayinde and Dominic.

You'll have to wait a while longer on Marquise.

Three top high school players signed letters of intent to come to Cal yesterday, making Cal coach Ben Braun a very happy man.

"These are players that don't just help your team, they help your program," Braun said. "They're great kids and great people."

Leon Powe, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Oakland Tech High School, leads the class as Braun's biggest catch in his Cal tenure.

"They're gonna get a player who will be one of the top-five players in the conference on arrival and who is almost unstoppable at the high school level and should be the same at the college level," said Jonas Zuckerman, Powe's advisor at Oakland Tech.

Powe, who averaged 29 points and 15 rebounds per game last season, has not yet achieved the required SAT score.

Braun said he was "very confident" that all three players would qualify by the end of spring. New NCAA regulations that remove an absolute minimum benchmark should make that easier.

Zuckerman said Powe's earlier test scores reflected personal problems rather than a lack of preparation.

"He's taken it sometimes in his life when things are difficult," he said. "He hasn't done as well as he expected. We're very confident."

Difficult times are nothing new to Powe, rated the No. 3 recruit in the country by USA Today.

Raised in a single-parent home and in-and-out of foster care as a child, Powe dealt with the death of his mother from unknown causes in April.

Powe led Oakland Tech to the state championship game his junior year. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee just weeks later, but has made a near-complete recovery and is expected to play his senior season.

"He brings so many things to the table for us," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "He has a special toughness."

Also signing from Oakland is Ayinde Ubaka, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Oakland High School. Ubaka averaged 22.9 points last year, and is rated the No. 12 point guard recruit by USA Today.

"He's really gifted with the ball and a hard player to tame," Braun said. "He's got a great first step to get around defenders. He gives us a different look at point guard than we've had."

Dominic McGuire, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Lincoln High School in San Diego, also signed yesterday.

"He's a solid rebounder," Braun said. "He can lead a break, although I'd prefer to see him finish the break because he's such a great athlete."

None of the three players took an official visit to another school before signing.

Then there's Marquise Kately. The 6-foot-5 wing from Riordan High School in San Francisco was originally a prospect for last year's class, but wound up spending a year prepping at the Maine Central Institute. He has not qualified academically but may sign in the spring.

Cal's class ranked 17th overall by, while this preseason's frontrunning Pac-10 team, Arizona, garnered the No.1 class.


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