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Basketball: ESPN.com picks Bears to win Pac-10

Check out ESPN.com for its preseason Pac-10 Conference preview. There are discussions of various issues related to the league and team-by-team notes from Andy Katz. 

Doug Gottlieb picks the league’s finish, and projects the Golden Bears to finish on top, ahead of Washington, Oregon State and UCLA. He has Stanford 10th, which will be a fashionable pick. In the interests of disclosure, it should be noted that Gottlieb’s brother, Gregg, is a Cal assistant. But the picks are solid, nonetheless.

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Basketball: Newell into FIBA Hall of Fame

Former Cal coach Pete Newell, as highly regarded for his basketball acumen around the world as he was in Berkeley, has been inducted into the FIBA International Basketball Hall of Fame.

Newell, who died last November at the age of 93, led Cal to the 1959 NCAA title, then coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Games. A member of that team, Oscar Robertson, is also part of the 11-member FIBA class. The only other American honored this year was the late Kay Yow, former women’s coach at North Carolina State.

Newell coached the Bears for six seasons through 1960, but continued to be influential in the sport worldwide for decades after. Besides coaching the Olympic team and working in the NBA, he traveled to conduct clinics and camps around the globe and was particularly revered in Japan.

His teams at Cal reached the NCAA Tournament four times, and his final squad was national runnerup in 1960. His teams in Berkeley were a combined 119-44.

The official induction ceremony will take place on Sept. 20 in Katowice,
Poland, coinciding with the finals of the 2009 Eurobasket tournament, and
on Sept. 22 in the FIBA Hall of Fame located in Madrid, Spain.

Newell was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987, then the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., a year later.

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Football: Sunday follow-up

Jeff Tedford said last night was the first time he can remember that the team practiced at night. In the past, some practices have gone on into the early evening. For instance, regular season practices used to go from 4-6:30 p.m on Tuesday and Wednesday and 4-6 p.m. on Thursday (they’ve been moved up one hour earlier this season). But Sunday’s practice started at 6:30 p.m. and ended just before 9 p.m.

Continue Reading

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Football: Questions about Maryland?

I am doing a blog exchange this week with Maryland beat writer Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times. Are there any burning questions you have about Maryland? Submit them as comments on this post and I will pick five to send to him. He will be doing the same for me to answer about Cal for his readers.

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Football: Sunday night update

Cal held a nighttime practice tonight, to get acclimated to Saturday’s 7 p.m. start. Jeff Tedford said the Bears wanted to get used to the angles of the sun while it would still be out Saturday night, and then playing under the lights.

Nothing too much to report from practice. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was held out for precautionary reasons because of a sore leg, but Tedford said he expects him back Tuesday. Marcus Ezeff still has yet to return from his sprained ankle.

Also, Ryan Theimer has rejoined the team as the backup punter. Theimer had quit the team because of other personal commitments, but is back once again as Bryan Anger’s backup. Tedford said Theimer won’t be at every practice because of his other commitments, but will continue to work with the team in case something were to happen to Anger.

We are now officially in a game-week routine. The team will be off Monday and return to the practice field Tuesday. The first weekly press luncheon of the season will also be Tuesday.

That’s all for now, given the late hour. I will have some more in the morning…

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Football: Updated depth chart

As promised, here is the latest depth chart released today:

OFFENSE

QB: Kevin Riley, Brock Mansion, Beau Sweeney

TB: Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen

FB: Brian Holley, Will Kapp

WR: Marvin Jones, Nyan Boateng

LT: Mike Tepper, Donovan Edwards

LG: Matt Summers-Gavin, Mark Boskovich

C: Chris Guarnero, Dominic Galas

RG: Justin Cheadle, Chet Teofilo

RT: Mitchell Schwartz, Donovan Edwards

TE: Anthony Miller, Skylar Curran, Spencer Ladner, Jarrett Sparks

WR: Verran Tucker, Jeremy Ross

DEFENSE

DE: Tyson Alualu, Trevor Guyton

NG: Derrick Hill, Kendrick Payne

DE: Cameron Jordan, Ernest Owusu

OLB: Eddie Young, Charles Johnson

ILB: D.J. Holt, Jerome Meadows

ILB: Mychal Kendricks, Devin Bishop

OLB: Mike Mohamed, Keith Browner

CB: Syd’Quan Thompson, Bryant Nnabuife

S: Marcus Ezeff, Sean Cattouse

S: Brett Johnson, Jesse Brooks

CB: Darian Hagan, Josh Hill

SPECIALISTS

P: Bryan Anger

PK: Giorgio Tavecchio

LS: Matt Rios

HOLDER: Brock Mansion, Bryan Anger

PR: Syd’Quan Thompson, Shane Vereen

KR: Jahvid Best, Jeremy Ross

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Football: Saturday quick hitters

I’ll have a more thorough recap later, but wanted to throw out there a couple of tidbits because Cal released a depth chart for the season-opener.

–Marvin Jones and Verran Tucker will start at wide receiver. Jeff Tedford confirmed it after practice. He’s been very happy with Tucker’s work this fall, especially in the latter half of camp. He acknoweldeged that the team still will use many three-receiver sets, and said that third receiver could be a number  of guys — Nyan Boateng and Jeremy Ross, among others.

–Although the depth chart lists Giorgio Tavecchio as kicker, Tedford said it still hadn’t been decided. The team simply wanted to release a depth chart, and as of now, Tavecchio is the starter. But Tedford warned that doesn’t it couldn’t change sometime during the week.

–It appears the linebackers are going to stay the way they have been since the scrimmage — Mike Mohamed and Eddie Young on the outside and Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt on the inside. Jerome Meadows is listed as Holt’s backup. Meadows must be doing some good work since we have been banned from watching most of practice, because he wasn’t getting as many reps earlier in camp.

–I may have mentioned this before, but the team has been experimenting with defensive end Keith Browner as a rush linebacker. Well, he’s now listed as Mohamed’s backup, so it appears he’s there to stay.

I will list the complete depth chart later tonight, along with more from today.

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Football: Friday night shoutout

Cal was off today but I had a busy day working on a couple of stories that will run over the next couple of days, as well as my season-preview that runs Tuesday. The preview story will be an examination of Jahvid Best’s chances at the Heisman, if it’s really realistic to include him in the conversation considering the three finalists from last year are back and he plays for a West Coast school not named USC.

Cal returns to practice tomorrow morning. After practice, it will be Contra Costa Times Fan Appreciation Day. Players and coaches will be available for photos and autographs. It runs from 12-2.

Some of you may have heard by now that the Pac-10 came to an agreement with the Alamo Bowl today. It’s reportedly a four-year deal that pays out $3 million to the participants. The second place Pac-10 team will be matched up against a team from the Big 12.

The Holiday Bowl, which used to take the No. 2 Pac-10 team, will now take the third-place team. No word on how that affects the other bowl arrangments. The previous format had the No. 3 Pac-10 team going to the Sun Bowl.

Here’s my notebook that runs Saturday, already on our web site. Just a little more on the decision to play Isi Sofele as a true freshman.

Be back with more tomorrow…

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Football: Thursday night update

Every year right after school starts, freshman are invited to come watch practice — a little introduction to the Cal football team. The cheerleaders make an appearance and Jeff Tedford makes some brief comments afterward.

Today was that day. Tedford told the wide-eyed newcomers that he needed them to fill up the student section this season and get the place rocking on Sept. 5. It drew a nice smattering of applause, but nothing like the response when a lucky fan won a trip to Minnesota for the game on Sept. 19.

While these shenanigans were going on, we were busy asking Tedford why Jahvid Best wasn’t at practice. That’s right, there was no No. 4 present when we watched the first 20 minutes and final 10 minutes of practice. Tedford said Best had an “appointment” and would be back tomorrow. No details on what kind of appointment, if it was medical or otherwise. The team is off tomorrow so we’ll find out more Saturday morning before Fan Appreciation Day.

It was a warm afternoon at Memorial Stadium and Tedford said a few players suffered from fluid loss, which can lead to cramps. When we were summoned back into the stadium to watch the final 10 minutes, Tyson Alualu was gingerly walking up and down the sideline with a trainer. Turns out he cramped up. I talked to him after practice and he seemed fine.

An update on linebacker Robert Mullins: He will miss a month to six weeks with a sprained knee. Tedford said he thought it was the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). “Some type of CL,” he said. Mullins had been taking pretty consistent second team reps so this is a significant loss.

Also, tight end Skylar Curran suffered what Tedford called a mild sprained ankle and should be out for a day or two.

Tedford said they the team only had one opportunity to kick a field goal during two-minute drill today and Giorgio Tavecchio nailed it (didn’t provide the yardage). He also said Tavecchio did a good job with kickoffs today. Tedford said they “were getting a little closer” to deciding on a kicker. All signs are pointing to Tavecchio.