The real work begins Friday when practice starts, but Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery is satisfied that the Golden Bears got a running start with a productive summer.

"It's all what you'd want it to be," he said. "You'd like somebody to go home as Urkel and come back as Michael Jordan, but that's not possible."

The Bears, favored by many to win their first Pac-10 title in a half-century after a 22-11 record last season, have impressed their coach during limited individual workouts since classes began last month.

Montgomery's biggest concern is the health of junior power forward Harper Kamp, who underwent his second major knee surgery last April.

Acknowledging that Kamp is making progress, the second-year coach said, "It's just a question of how long he'll be able to do things and what the knee will tolerate when it comes time for him to be as good as he can be. We're keeping our fingers crossed."

Otherwise, the health news is upbeat. Senior wing Theo Robertson, who had offseason work done on his hip, is doing fine, as is sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez, who underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee.

"Theo's very close to being ready to go," Montgomery said. "He's worked real hard to where he's able to play at 100 percent. Then there's the mental side: Can I go in and take the other guy's best hit and be all right?"

Montgomery said senior point guard Jerome Randle, who has gained about 15 pounds, and Gutierrez will benefit from improved strength. Likewise, he is pleased by the continued development of 7-foot-2 sophomore center Max Zhang, who excelled at the World University Games.

Montgomery also is encouraged by all three newcomers:

  • Junior college transfer Markhuri Sanders-Frison, expected to challenge for the starting center job, arrived on campus carrying 294 pounds on his 6-8 frame. He was down to 283 by late September, but Montgomery wants him under 270.

    "He knows how to play, and guys really like to play with him," Montgomery said. "He's got good hands, long arms, he outlets the ball well. When he gets deep (under the basket), he's really tough to stop."

  • Freshman point guard Brandon Smith, a De La Salle High grad, appears ready to compete for the No. 2 job behind Randle. "He's a kid that's used to winning, used to competing and playing, and he'll do what it takes," Montgomery said. "It's good to see Jerome kind of take him under his wing a little bit."

  • If Sanders-Frison needs to lose weight, 6-10 freshman forward Bak Bak needs to get bigger. He arrived on campus in the summer weighing less than 200 but has added about 15 pounds.

    "He's very skilled, he's just not very strong. He knows that," Montgomery said. "He'll spin away from contact and he shoots the ball well. It's just when he gets banged, it's hard for him to finish or stay on balance because he doesn't weigh very much."

    The Bears' season opens Nov. 9 at home against Murray State.

    Note: Cal's 2010 recruiting class got a boost when Gary Franklin, a top-100 point guard prospect from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, gave the Bears an oral commitment, according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. Franklin, who originally committed to USC before coach Tim Floyd was ousted, is rated the nation's No. 71 prospect by Rivals.com. and No. 85 by Scout.com.