Ivan Rabb, a highly touted power forward from California’s Bay Area, will be playing college basketball at the University of California, Berkeley this fall. The 6-foot-11, 217-pound big man chose to stay in-state instead of committing to the University of Arizona, his runner-up school.
At one time considered by ESPN to be the No. 1 overall prospect in his class, Rabb, a top 2015 recruit, kept the sports world on edge about where he was going to go.
During the nationally televised McDonald’s All-American Game back in April, he revealed during a sideline interview that he had not yet made his selection; he had narrowed his options down to two schools: Arizona and California.
Choosing Arizona would have allowed Rabb to join a program that has already established itself as a national Division I powerhouse; a school in contention for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament championship every season. Choosing California, on the other hand, gives Rabb the opportunity to leave his mark on a program still trying to find itself; a program trying to put the right pieces together to attain success in the near future.
Just in the past two seasons alone, Arizona, led by successful head coach Sean Miller, has produced a pair of standout freshmen in Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson. Gordon and Johnson thrived in the Pac-12 Conference as one-and-done players before being lottery picks in the NBA draft. Furthermore, both Gordon and Johnson are California natives themselves.
Rabb, however, will not be following in his peers’ footsteps. He has chosen to stay local, rather than cross the state border, for the next chapter in his playing career.
Twelve days after the McDonald’s All-American Game, Rabb announced his decision. It was then that Californians could breathe a sigh of relief.
Led by a man, Cuonzo Martin, who is entering just his second year as the Golden Bears’ head coach, California is definitely a team still on the rise. Landing a player like Rabb is a step in the right direction, though.
Look for him to be a Golden Bear this upcoming season, not a Wildcat.
Ivan Rabb is from Oakland, Calif. He attended Bishop O’Dowd High School. As a senior playing in his second-consecutive California state championship game, he sunk a clutch free throw with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to secure the state title for his team. It was his high school’s first state title in over 30 years.
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