OAKLAND, Calif. —
At long last, Ivan Rabb
has made his decision. At his mom's Ol' Yeller Cafe 'N' Market, no less
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound post from
Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
told a throng of reporters and curious onlookers that he'll be attending Cal. And he announced five minutes early.
"I was just so excited," he said. "I lost track of time. I wanted to just get it out and speak from the heart. ... Ultimately, Cal was the place I felt most comfortable. It felt like family."
When Rabb announced his decision, a giant roar filled the room of more than 100 fans, teammates, administration and media. That was followed with chants of "California!"
Rabb, a McDonald's All-American and second-team MaxPreps All-American, averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks per game for the California Open Division state champions.
He made the game-winning free throw with 0.8 seconds left to defeat four-time reigning champion Mater Dei 65-64 in the championship game in front of about 8,000 fans at Cal's Haas Pavilion.
He indicated he might announce his decision after that game, but decided to weigh his options further.
O'Dowd coach Lou Richie said Sunday that Rabb's decision was based upon whether Cal junior and leading scorer Tyrone Wallace entered the NBA draft. If Wallace stayed at Cal, Rabb would stay close to home. If he left for the NBA, Rabb would pick Arizona.
Rabb said said Monday that had nothing to do with his decision, "but I'm going to try to make him stay," he said.
Rabb's decision to go to Cal will help rejuvenate a program that has had moderate success. Under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, the Bears went 18-15 last season and failed to reach the postseason. The Golden Bears reached the postseason all the previous seven seasons, four times in the NCAA Tournament. Cal hasn't reached the Final Four since 1960, when it was runner-up the year after winning the NCAA title.
The four-year starter picked Cal over a program that has been an NCAA power under Sean Miller, and before him Lute Olson, winning at least 30 games each of the last four seasons. The Wildcats reached the NCAA tournament 25 straight years from 1985 to 2009 and reached the Final Four four different times, winning it all in 1997.
Asked what it felt like to finally get the decision out, Rabb said: "It felt like a giant weight off my shoulders. And then it felt like happiness. I haven't felt this happy in a very long time."
Video: Ivan Rabb hits free throw to win championship
See Bishop O'Dowd's Ivan Rabb hit the biggest shot of the year for his team