Basketball: Robertson to have hip surgery

Junior forward Theo Robertson will have surgery Friday on his right hip — opposite the one that forced him to sit out the entire 2007-08 season after microfracture surgery — but said he does not believe the injury is nearly as serious this time.

Robertson said his doctor will remove a bone spur and check to make sure there is no cartilage damage. Even if there is a slight cartilage tear, Robertson was told he’d likely only be on crutches for two weeks before beginning rehab.

“It hasn’t been nearly as painful as the last one,” Robertson said, “so I’m optimisic from all indications from my doctor that I wouldn’t be down for nearly as long.

“I’m kind of excited in one way to get it taken care of and have a full season where I’m 100 percent healthy.”

Coach Mike Montgomery also confirmed that power forward Harper Kamp will undergo arthroscopic surgery at some point soon to clean up his right knee and relieve pain he has experienced since surgery last August.


Basketball: Bears by position — center

Starting today, I’ll provide a position-by-position breakdown of what the Bears figure to look like next season. We’ll start in the middle.


  RETURNING: Max Zhang
  LEAVING: Jordan Wilkes
  ARRIVING: Markhuri Sanders-Frison
  UNSURE: Taylor Harrison

Jordan Wilkes’ decision to graduate and depart this spring with one year of basketball remaining eligibility deprives Cal of its most experienced center. But while Wilkes has a good understanding of the game, his impact on both the offense and defense was modest.

Markhuri Sanders-Frison, a 6-foot-7 1/2, 275-pound junior from South Plains JC in Texas figures to be the Bears’ new man in the middle. Coach Mike Montgomery said he has long arms and noted that he spent a year at a prep school before playing two seasons of high-level JC ball.

“I hope (he provides) a little post presence,” Montgomery said. “He’s a big body. We’d like to get him in at 270 — he probably weighs more than that.

“He can take up some space inside and he’s got a pretty good feel for the game. He brings a little maturity.”

Monty said he’d be happy with the same kind of numbers Sanders-Frison put up while splitting time at South Plains — about 9 points and 6.5 rebounds.

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Basketball: Academic honors to Wilkes, Knezevic

Cal’s Jordan Wilkes and Nikola Knezevic have been named to the Pac-10 All-Academic second team. Washington State dominated the awards, with four first-team members.

Also, interesting to note that five of the 10 players honored are foreign-born.

2008-09 Pac-10 All-Academic Team

First Team, Year, GPA, Major
Aron Baynes, Washington State, Sr., 3.24, Movement Studies
Derek Glasser, Arizona State, Jr., 3.14, Communications
Daven Harmeling, Washington State, Sr., 3.54, Health and Fitness Education
Nikola Koprivica, Washington State, Jr., 3.39, International Business
Taylor Rochestie, Washington State, Sr., 3.37, Communication

Second Team, Year, GPA, Major
Nikola Knezevic, California, Jr., 3.03, Interdisciplinary Studies
Rihards Kuksiks, Arizona State, So., 3.07, Business Communications
Roeland Schaftenaar, Oregon State, Jr., 3.17, Pre-Business
Drew Shiller, Stanford, Jr., 3.08, Communication
Jordan Wilkes, California, Sr., 3.13, Social Welfare


Cal football: Recapping early prognostications

It’s a slow week because of spring break — Cal will return to spring practice one week from today — so I thought I would list a reminder of where the Bears stand in some of the preseason rankings that have already been released.

Rivals.com has Cal the highest I’ve seen yet, at No. 12 nationally. CBS Sportsline ranks the Bears at No. 17 while espn.com and sportsillustrated.com each has Cal at No. 20.

Of course, these are very early estimates and a lot can still happen between now and September. The Bears don’t even know who their starting quarterback is going to be yet. And there are several top teams across the country that have their issues.

To me, Cal’s preseason ranking and what the Bears ultimately do this season depends on the passing game. If Cal gets better play from its quarterback and wide receivers, everything else seems to be in place for a run at the Pac-10 title and a top-10 or top-15 ranking. If the Bears have to once again rely to heavily on their defense and don’t have the threat of an aerial attack to help Jahvid Best, they’ll probably once again be a borderline top-25 team.

My hunch is the passing game will improve. If nothing else, experience matters. Kevin Riley has looked good so far this spring, and the growing pains the receivers went through last year should only help their on-field production this year.

I’d put Cal somewhere between No. 15 and No. 20 nationally to begin the season.


Basketball: Still a kid at 36?

Happy 36th birthday to Jason Kidd, the greatest player in Cal basketball history.

It was 16 seasons ago that Kidd led the Golden Bears into the Sweet 16 after totaling 27 points and 21 assists in wins over LSU and two-time defending national champion Duke.

Jason shares a birthday with hoops great Moses Malone, who turns 55 today, former UCLA/NBA star Gail Goodrich, who is 66, and 4-minute mile pioneer Sir Roger Bannister, who is 80.


Basketball: Semi-sweet 16 musings

The Prez wasn’t the only one whose NCAA Tournament bracket got healthier in the second round. I nailed 13 of 16 winners on Saturday and Sunday, and all eight of my projected regional finalists are still alive.

Thank you, chalk.

Here are 16 factoids, obervations, complaints and predictions as the tournament heads toward its second weekend: 

— If you’re a fan of the little guy, root like crazy for Gonzaga and Xavier, the only two teams left in the NCAA field who have not already been to the Final Four at least once.

—  In fact, teams still playing have accounted for 18 of the past 30 national championships, fueling the selection committee’s inclination to weed out teams from the non-power leagues.

— Thirteen of the 16 teams still alive come from the six heavyweight conferences. Memphis, which terrorizes overmatched opponents from Conference USA, fits into its own category, Godzilla trampling on all those toy cars in the 1950s monster movies.

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Basketball: Bears look ahead to 2009-10

Great games Saturday in the NCAA Tournament — although a rough day for the Pac-10 — and some good matchups on tap for today. Hope your bracket is going better than mine, which is on life-support.

Here’s my story from this morning’s editions, examining what the Bears must do to improve a year from now, along with a capsule look at next season.

Later this week I will provide a more detailed analysis of the Bears, position-by-position.

Enjoy a rainy Sunday in front of CBS.