Team preview: California

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:51 PM ET
Blue Ribbon Yearbook
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As he welcomed four talented freshmen into the fold last season, Cal coach Ben Braun knew his eighth year in Berkeley might have some rough patches.

And though his precocious charges --all of whom saw considerable playing time and three of whom ended up starting by season's end -- played well at times, they also proved wildly inconsistent, beating NCAA Tournament teams Washington and Arizona, while also getting swept by Washington State.

"We really did struggle early," Braun said. "I thought we turned it around the second half of the Pac-10 schedule and settled down. You know I've always enjoyed coaching young players. For everything they do that gives you those gray hairs, you know they will get better. I felt that. By the end of the year, we were better."