Catching Up With Pope

Malik Pope (Josh Gershon)

Five-star forward talks about his injury rehab, his summer plans and his contact with Cal coaches.

Several weeks back, Malik Pope was going up for a dunk, and just as he launched himself into the air, he heard a crack. His tibia had fractured. His stellar junior campaign abruptly came to an end, and right before the playoffs, to boot.

"It's healing," Pope says, "slowly."

Pope finished the season shooting 67.8 percent inside the arc and 47.4 percent beyond it, averaging 15.6 points per game, along with 1.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 6.5 boards, and, for his troubles, he's got a list of offers almost as high as his hair.

Over the summer, California extended a scholarship offer, and Pope says that he and the Bears staff talk at least once a week now, and several Cal coaches have been out on several occasions to watch the 6-foot-7, 183-pound swing man in action.

"I talk with them a lot, probably once a week," Pope said, "and they came out to a couple games this year. I recently got injured, so I haven't seen them in a bit."

Pope says that his leg is currently in a brace, and won't heal likely until May, but that will be just in time for the five-star 2014 prospect to get on the floor for Team Superstar and the AAU circuit.

"I'll be back soon," Pope said "I'll be back in early May."

The No. 17 overall prospect in the 2014 class is well aware of 2013's No. 20-ranked prospect -- Jabari Bird -- deciding to stay close to home and sign with the Bears, but he says that distance from home won't be much of a factor.

"It really doesn't matter to me," Pope said. "I don't mind. I just want to play. I could stay home or go; it doesn't matter."

Pope said that at the end of summer, he will take several unofficial visits, before his senior year begins. He does not have an idea of which schools could be up for those visits, though.

"I'm making a list over the course of the summer," Pope said. "Everyone's pretty equal now."

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