First of all, let me say I am a big Tony Gonzalez fan. Greatest tight end in Cal football history, greatest tight end in NFL history.
And he could play some hoops. But to name him to Cal’s 100th anniversary all-time team — as Cal fans have done — well, put it this way, Tony didn’t make the all-time team I assembled back in December.
Hey, I was there when Gonzalez pushed around, outplayed and flat embarrassed future NBA standout Tim Thomas in Cal’s 1997 NCAA Tournament win over Villanova. Gonzalez had 23 points and held Thomas to 11 on 5-for-12 shooting.
Gonzalez played hoops because he loved the game, but by the time he reached Cal it had become a diversion for him while he prepared for a career in the NFL. Gonzalez played three seasons of basketball, averaging 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Here’s who was left off the list to make room for Gonzalez: Jackie Ridgle, a 6-foot-4 powerhouse forward who played from 1969 through ’71, scoring at least 400 points all three seasons.
Ridgle came to Berkeley from Arkansas, where the Razorbacks were recruiting him to help break the color line in SEC basketball. Instead, he chose Cal where he became a player whose career scoring average of 17.9 points is third-highest in school history among players who played more than two seasons.