Powe was '04 Pac-10 frosh of year

Updated: May 26, 2005, 5:42 PM ET
Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- California forward Leon Powe, the Pac-10's freshman of the year in 2004, was cleared to return to basketball Thursday after missing last season while recovering from left knee surgery.

Powe, the first freshman to lead the conference in rebounding, will play with the Golden Bears on a 12-day tour of Italy in August, wearing a brace on his reconstructed knee.

``I can't even describe how I'm feeling right now _ I'm too happy,'' Powe said. ``It's been a long time.''

Powe, who has been bothered by knee problems since high school, averaged a team-high 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a freshman. He underwent surgery shortly after the 2003-04 season, and again in September.

Cal went 13-16 last season, but is expected to improve this fall with Powe's return and the addition of highly touted center Jordan Wilkes.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press