Things appear to be going well for California’s men’s basketball program early on in the tenure of new head coach Mark Madsen.

With the addition of former Texas Tech forward Jaylon Tyson — a four-star transfer, per On3 Sports — on Monday, Madsen and the Bears have now added five transfers in the last month, including:

  • Fardaws Aimaq, a former standout at UVU and four-star transfer who most recently played at Texas Tech.
  • Jalen Cone, formerly a point guard at Northern Arizona, rated three-stars by On3.
  • Mike Meadows, formerly a point guard at Portland who is rated a three-star transfer.
  • Keonte Kennedy, a three-star transfer and former Memphis Tigers forward.

It is a much needed infusion of talent for a Cal program that finished last in the Pac-12 last season, winning just three total games and only two in conference play. The Bears lost 16 games in a row to end the year, if more evidence of futility was needed.

“I’ve been living on planes, living in hotel rooms and living at Haas Pavilion here at Cal,” Madsen told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “And my most important job is my wife and I just had a baby. So I’ve been shuffling back and forth between here (Berkeley) and Utah.”

“In today’s climate of college basketball, you can’t lose the spring. So we really hit the ground recruiting ... and have tried to move ahead with a full head of steam and embrace everything. A lot of positive things in recruiting. It has been a lot of work but has been very gratifying.”

It isn’t just incoming transfers that are buoying Madsen in his first offseason as the Bears’ head coach, though. (Prior to arriving at Cal, Madsen had a successful stint as the head basketball coach at Utah Valley).

While talking with Rothstein, Madsen revealed that Cal is close to breaking ground on a new, $80-$100 million practice facility.

“The current facilities we have are not far off from really world class facilities,” Madsen said. “But, the plans are drawn and we are close to breaking ground on a state of the art practice facility.

“The way it was described to me, there are 25 to 30 checkpoints (that must be reached) and 24 to 29 of the checkpoints are done. Some monies have already been committed and some donors are soon to step up. Shortly, you will see breaking ground at Cal for a state of the art facility that will be one of the best nationally.”

That is particularly notable given Cal’s financial woes in recent years. At one point, Cal athletics had six consecutive years of deficits, where it lost $14.7 million annually on average.

Things have turned around of late and Cal reported a $13.2 million surplus for the 2021-22 fiscal year, though that number was a bit misleading, per Jon Wilner of the Mercury News

“Cal’s operating expenses don’t include $8.8 million in debt service for the stadium renovation and training center,” Wilner writes. “When added to the tally, that payment brings the total reported surplus down to $3.7 million.

“But even that number is misleading, because it includes massive institutional help. Cal received $31 million in direct support from central campus per a yearly policy implemented by chancellor Carol Christ. Add a modest amount of student fees funneled to athletics, subtract $1.6 million in transfers back to campus, and the net result is $29.8 million in institutional support that the Bears book as athletic revenue.”

A new $80-$100 million facility is evidence of the excitement that now surrounds the Cal program with Madsen at the helm. And by the looks of things, Madsen should have all that he requires to make Cal competitive in the Pac-12 again.