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Basketball: Christopher OK with expectations

I talked this afternoon with Cal guard Patrick Christopher, who told me that being picked so low in the Pac-10 inspired the team a year ago, but that the Golden Bears are fine with being tabbed by some to win the conference next season.

“The Pac-10 is a great conference. I think it will be very competitive next year,” he said. ”Having somebody pick you low is a pretty tough feeling. But it’s always good to climb to the top and prove everybody wrong.”

Picked eighth in the preseason a year ago, the Bears finished tied for third in the Pac-10, compiling a 22-11 record and reaching the NCAA Tournament. Cal returns everyone from that team except starting center Jordan Wilkes.

As a result of that experience, and defections from other programs, several online outlets — including ESPN.com — have made the Bears the early favorites to win the Pac-10 next season.

“When you have that target on your back, the situation is a lot different, not because we put ourselves there but other people put us there,” Christopher said. “We have to play like we’re in 10th place and feeling no pressure. I think everybody will be used to the system and what to expect. I think it will be a great year for us.

“It’s motivating,” he said of the expectations. “It keeps you going when people are talking. It’s different because it’s always about being an underdog . Now we’re going to have to prove we’re good enough to be at the top. But that’s not a bad thing.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • Robert

    The talent is certainly there. Will the toughness?

  • uh oh.

    Actually, I put it the other way around. These kids have mental toughness. They proved it last year. The question mark is talent. Or, maybe that’s what you meant by “toughness”, as in “interior brute strength” toughness. We definitely will be lacking in that department.

    Maybe you meant we have guard talent, but not interior talent. But even in the guard department, Randle is a defensive liability, simply due to being undersized.

    I sure am glad we are bringing in another undersized point.