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Basketball: Bears’ post-mortem

I’ll have more looking ahead at next season in the coming days, but here are a few post-game notes and observations after the Bears’ 84-71 loss to Maryland:

– There was much agreement in the Cal dressing room that Greivis Vasquez’s three-point play on the put-back/FT after two missed FTs by teammate Adrian Bowie was the game’s key play. Cal had climbed within seven, but suddenly it was 10, and that play triggered an 11-3 run that put things out of reach.

– The play was a symptom, the players agreed, of a season-long problem: a lack of toughness with the game on the line. Mike Montgomery was OK with the fact that this hurt a bit — he’s hoping it will be a painful off-season reminder as his players are working out for next year.

– Patrick Christopher said he may test the waters of the NBA by entering his name in the draft, attending the camps, and listening to what scouts have to say. If he doesn’t hire an agent, Christopher can withdraw his name and return to school. Smart money says this is what will happen, but he has nothing to lose by letting the scouts tell him what they think.

– Christopher shot just 4-for-14 (and was 0-for-7 from 3-PT). He said it was not the result of fatigue from chasing around Vasquez at the defensive end. Monty speculated that might have contributed. But Christopher has struggled with his shot down the stretch, shooting 30 percent from the field over the final foour games, including 4-for-26 from 3-point range.

– Jerome Randle had 14 points, but only three in the second half. He has moved to 20th on Cal’s career list with 1,184 points. Christopher is 25th at 1,154. Randle also is tied with Ayinde Ubaka for third on the Bears’ career 3-point list with 160.

– Theo Roberton was the Bears’ best offensive weapon in the second half, when he scored 16 of his team-high 22 points.

– The Bears, who obviously rely heavily on the 3-point shot, were 7-for-24. That doesn’t get it done, and they really have no alternatives. Will be interesting to see whether they can diversify next year with basically the same personnel. 

– Sophomore forward Omondi Amoke, who suffered a concussion in practice Sunday, was given clearance to play by the Cal medical staff,  leaving the decision in the hands of Montgomery. Amoke said afterward he wanted to play. He got in for 3 minutes, had 3 rebounds and a blocked shot.

– Everyone else I talked with — including D.J. Seeley and Max Zhang — said they plan to return. No word on third-year sophomore center Taylor Harrison, who has missed the past two seasons with serious knee issues. I’m still thinking he may take a medical retirement, allowing him to finish school and the program to recoup his scholarship.

– Harper Kamp said he might need minor off-season surgery on his right knee, a problem all season. He plans to talk to the medical staff and wants to make a decision quickly, so he can began the rehab process ASAP. In any case, it won’t be anything major, he said.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Boris

    I’m ready for next year. Lets see S-F add some muscle to the middle – at least I hope his 270lbs is muscle.

    I also think we’ll see a much deeper team next year – I think it’s obvious the team wore out as the year went on. Theo and PC were especially worn out the last 3 weeks.

    I’m certain we’ll see a lot of comments about how Cal is sure to be great next year, but this same personnel group needs to improve, especially on defense.

  • moreNCscoming

    it’s kind of amazing they all stayed healthy. kudos to monty for that. jorge is going to be amazing next year. his d needs to rub off on the rest of them. that sounds gross. go bears!

  • covinared

    Obvious missing ingredient, an inside game. Also need more than three scorers. the coach got all he could from this group. seems like a nice group of guys. will be better next year. Christopher needs to hone his game for nba, he’ll be back. I think Wilkes will improve, but don’t blame him for moving along with life.

  • Joey

    Anyone know who we play next year? A lot of Pac 10 teams lose a fair bit of talent.

  • Tom

    Yes, it’s true that the Pac-10 loses lots of players next year, making it seem like Cal will rock the house. However, UW gets Adbul Gaddy, a star recruit. USC brings in another star. UCLA has another strong class. Even OSU, with the Obama factor, is out-recruiting Cal at this point. It would be a fallacy to think Cal is going to win league by virtue of being the last man standing. We still have our shortcomings, and aren’t necessarily reloading.

    Yes, Cal will be better, as the juniors become seniors and Sanders-Frison will try to improve upon Wilkes’s role on the front line. I am really hopeful that Omondi and DJ can become players to not only spell Christopher and Robertson next season, but become the core players for renewal after they are gone.

    The key to the future, however, is recruiting. Montgomery does not have the pieces for sustained improvement at this point. No matter how good a coach he is, he cannot win unless he goes out and gets the players.

    Any discussion of the future has to begin with a lengthy description of how he spends his time recruiting. What inroads does he have? It’s all be spoken of in generalities to this point b/c there hasn’t been anything terribly positive to speak of.

    And while he’s just getting started in this job, at 62, we/he doesn’t have forever. How long does he think he’ll coach for? Do we get a 10 yr run out of him? Current potential recruits won’t be seniors for 5 yrs, at least. So, what? We have a 5 yr window?

  • John

    We should’ve beat the Terrapins. I think that they were hungrier and angrier than our Bears. Cal should’ve set an aggressive tempo in the beginning because the officials started calling more fouls on Cal than the Terrapins. It all adds up.

  • wehofx

    Yeah, this team was a 1, a 2 and three 3′s. But they were a real pleasure to watch. If the guys MM is bringing in for next year deliver, we could be really good.

    Go Bears!

  • Mike

    One option is to force feed Max Zhang protein shakes and stand over him in the weight room. 40 pounds and two weeks at a big man’s camp to work on positioning and footwork could turn him into a servicable interior threat.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Arizona State just won. Washington and PUCLA won yesterday. Let’s keep rooting on our Pac 10 teams to victory.

  • Boris

    Zhang is a five year project. We’ll see him get conference minutes in 2012.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Join with me in congratulating the Pac 10 for a great tourney opener.

    Washington – win
    UCLA – win
    Arizona State – win
    Arizona – win
    USC – win

    5 of our teams move onto the 32 still competing. Go Pac 10!

  • Joey

    Pac 10 refs at it again. They are trying to hand Wisc. the game over Florida St. They are showing their true incompetent form! Worst in the NCAA!

  • Boris

    Breaking news. Johnny Depp in the movie ‘Chocolat’ looks just like Jorge Gutierrez. Amazing.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Let’s go ‘Zona. Bring a win home ofr the Pac 10. I hope everyone will be pulling for USC later on in the day. It won’t be easy but we have won 5 straight games.

  • AmyFan4Life

    I’m not giving up, Amy! How many practices have you attended at USC? You shouldn’t brag if you knew few people attend these open practices (that’s a tices, not tises, Amy!). Plus, the players are focused on their competition, not who might be in the stands, least they receive a lashing for lack of focus, or fail to seize an upper hand at their position. On further evidence of Amy’s complete lack of true Trojan fan, how many games have you attended at the Coliseum? Do you even know how to get there?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    USC – 12
    Michigan St – 11

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    We are playing with so much heart but the fix is in

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I am sure all of you who watch our game know we got ripped off!!!!!!

  • Clovis is Cal Country

    MNC – what’s with your fake “Pac-10 Pride” rally. You are a hater when it comes to all schools other than Southern Cal. Glad you stopped the play-by-play at 12-11. “Man up” and accept defeat. And hopefully you do realize that “more NCs” for Southern Cal basketball will actually be its first.

  • Tom

    MNC:

    You are usually very rude, which I don’t appreciate. Nonetheless, I was rooting for USC (at least in the tourney) as they have an interesting team this year. It will be interesting to see if Derozan and Gibson go NBA, or come back. If come back, watch out. Hackett ain’t going anywhere… Gibson was so rooked on those last two foul calls. Shame. Basketball is SUCH a hard game to officiate. I think the game is really ruined and inconsistent in this regard. Every little tickytack can make such a huge difference. Then, there are major blows that aren’t missed. I think to have success at the NCAA’s, you need to have a team 10 deep so if any couple players go down to refs, you can reload from the bench. There are simply going to be games where refs don’t call crap, and then others where you need massive quality at depth.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Classy post Tom. Thanks.

  • AmyFan4Life

    No comment on my previous posts, Amy? Where’s the love for your fan club of one?

    Grammar lesson #2: MoreNCsarecoming said, “Actually I don’t basketball but after what I saw the past 5 games and after what I read today I maybe more invovled.” Did you mean, you don’t follow basketball? Those adverbs can be so tricky for simpletons.

    Thoughts on the number of games Amy has attended for any sport at USC?

  • BluenGold

    MoreNCsarecoming Says:
    March 22nd, 2009 at 4:14 pm
    We are playing with so much heart but the fix is in

    NEWSFLASH!! moron the troll says that the NCAA tourament is fixed! Yeah right!! That must explain Cal’s first round loss! LMAO!!!

  • Eric

    The Pac-10 teams were hit hard by foul calls in the tourney. Cal had 5 players each with 4 fouls with 5 minutes to go. ASU’s Pendergraph got into foul trouble, which entirely changed ASU’s game against Syracuse. Aboya picked up two early fouls, which destroyed UCLA’s interior defense, and there were no intentional foul calls on the body slam on Collison or the take down on Shipp. U$C’s Gibson was jobbed. The announcers all called it as Pac-10 teams finally running into “tough” defenses from the ACC, the Big-10, and the Big East. My guess is the rest of the country is so sick and tired of the incompetent Pac-10 refs that no Pac-10 school was going to get any calls. One need only remember the intentional foul in the Cal/UCLA game, leading toa 7-point play for UCLA, to understand why Pac-10 refs are truly horrible.

  • Jan K Oski

    Eric, your words allude to other conferences paying their refs more or doing something radically different to improve their officiating. I’ve heard elsewhere that the PAC-10 was hit hard by the NBA draft, while the rest of the country has more upperclassmen leadership. I’d think the leadership would translate into a better understanding in avoiding fouls. What say you?

    Go BEARS!

  • Joey

    I don’t think leadership had anything to do with a better understanding of fouls in the Pac 10. Pac 10 refs were so inconsistent with their calls it was hard to understand what was right or wrong. There were many games where players were pushed, shoved, bumped and no calls were ever made yet there were numerous ticky-tack fouls called for reach ins or touches in the same game. Sometimes one half would be called loose and the next half would be called tight.

    I can’t say the officiating in the NCAA’s has been much better. A lot of very one-sided calls and a total lack of consistency.

    Maybe I don’t understand the rules enough but then I would say the announcers don’t know the rules either because they were usually saying the same things I felt during the games.

  • Eric

    Leadership and coaching can certainly affect the fouls, but, just as in football, it seems that the Pac-10 refs are constantly in the spotlight because of inconsistent calls (and no-calls). Consider again the “intentional” foul on Theo against UCLA. No doubt it was a foul, but was Theo trying to take out the UCLA player? Was there anything that could have put the player at risk? Of course not. Yet, the ref makes that call (at home, no less), and it entirely changes the game – literally a 7 point swing. Now consider the UCLA/Villanova game. On Collison’s drive in the first half, the Villanova player just flat out runs into Collison on a break-away. Was it a foul? Yes. Was it intentional – no; the player was trying to stop the play and committed a hard foul, but there was no low-bridging, no swinging, no grabbing and throwing. Applying what occurred in the Cal/UCLA, the Villanova player should have been called for an intentional and thrown out, but that would have been ridiculous.

    Do I really think the other conferences have it in for the Pac-10? No, at least not in basketball. However, our refs are not doing us any favors by making stupid, inconsistent, and/or “ticky tack” calls, because it leaves all Pac-10 teams ill-prepared for the tournament. Other conference refs generally let teams play (unless you are playing Duke, in which case expect to give up 10+ extra free throws). In a year where the Pac-10 was not as good as it has been as in previous years, it was not at all surprising that every Pac-10 team playing an equal or arguably slightly superior opponent lost, in large part because of early foul trouble.

  • Eric

    Let me clarify one point I made – I said, “Other conference refs generally let teams play (unless you are playing Duke, in which case expect to give up 10+ extra free throws).” That is generally true, which is why it was strange that Cal, U$C, UCLA, and ASU of the Pac-10 teams suffered from early foul trouble. Conspiracy theorists would argue that the conferences have it in for the Pac-10.

  • AmyFan4Life

    Anyone else see this wonderlic-score?

    Rey Maualuga- 15

    Ouch!

    http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2009/03/wonderlic-scores-leaked-players.html

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    AmyFan4Life Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 11:32 pm
    Anyone else see this wonderlic-score?

    Rey Maualuga- 15

    Ouch!
    ___________________________________________________

    One of your players scored 5 points lower than Rey. Apologize now or I will post his name.

  • Will

    OH NO YOU’RE GOING TO EXPOSE THE FACT THAT MEBANE GOT A 10 TWO YEARS AGO. Boohoo. I’m REALLY going to lose sleep over that one. Luckily, his job isn’t to be the QB of the defense like an MLB.

    Patty Cakes, I heard Pete Carroll made you take the Wonderlic before he hired you to pick up his dog droppings. Pete, what did Moron get?

    Geez, I go on vacation for a weekend and Patty is still chirping away. Poor thing probably can’t afford to take a vacation to Mexico.

  • AmyFan4Life

    Let’s recap! The quiz is out of 50, and Amy is splitting hairs between 30% and 20%. Both are failures, yet she thinks there’s a difference! Obviously, Amy failed high school statistics, so we have to be sympathetic to her ignorance. Luckily, She has us to edukate you. Yes, I misspelled educate to experience what it is to be like Amy. Opps, I could never fall to such a level of our resident troll.

    Amy, whatever happened to MebaneDT on the Scout boards?

  • Pete Carroll

    Honestly I can’t get Patty Cakes to focus on excrement eradication duties let alone expect her to sit down to take a test. I can’t even stop Patty Cakes from making claims for statements I never made. Next time Patty Cakes takes a break form dog-dropping duty, which is often, I’ll administer a Wonderlic of my own.

    PC

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Will Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 5:01 pm
    Will Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 5:01 pm
    OH NO YOU’RE GOING TO EXPOSE THE FACT THAT MEBANE GOT A 10 TWO YEARS AGO. >>> He wasn’t the one I had in mind but if so then let it be.

    Geez, I go on vacation for a weekend and Patty is still chirping away. >>> The reason you stopped posting Will is because you got punked by one of your own poster. I guess you feel it is now safe to reappear after an embarassing beatdown by one of your own.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    AmyFan4Life Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 5:52 pm
    Amy, whatever happened to MebaneDT on the Scout boards?>>>>>>>> The same thing that happens everytime you post one of your stupid posts as BerkeleyGoldenBear on the WeAreSC board. Your rugby post got dehelmetted in more ways than your WRs can say “Taylor Mays”. LOL!!!!

  • Will

    “One of my own poster” owned me? First of all, I couldn’t care less about what other people on this board think of me. Unlike you, I have stuff to do besides stalk other Pac-10 team blogs, so it should be no shock that I’m gone every now and then. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Second, if you’re going to write on this board, at least try to do so with decent grammar. We all know you probably didn’t graduate from elementary school, but that should be no excuse.

    Patty Cakes, you’ve never addressed why you’re so obsessed with Cal. Is it because they rejected you for law school? No one is disputing that $C has a great football team, so no one understands your obsession. You just make all of their fans look like complete idiots, even though there are some smart ones. Read the conquest chronicles blog, those are some classy and insightful $C fans.

  • Clovis is Cal Country

    Perhaps if the Wonderlic Scores weren’t such a guarded secret, and the numbers were posted with all other Combine Data, then people wouldn’t be so fascinated by them and inclined to gossip about them. Perhaps then it wouldn’t be newsworthy that John David Booty had last year’s lowest QB Wonderlic Score of 14. (Behind Brohm’s 32, Ryan’s 28, & Flacco’s 25.5.)

  • AmyFan4Life

    MoreNCsarecoming said, “The same thing that happens everytime you post one of your stupid posts as BerkeleyGoldenBear on the WeAreSC board.”

    WRONG AGAIN! You prove it! I’m in your head day and night. I wonder how much it cost you in additional medication…