Football: Live chat with Mike Mohamed

I’m happy to report that Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed has agreed to participate in a live chat on Thursday, March 4 from 1-2 p.m.  The chat will be exactly one week before the beginning of spring practice, so Mohamed will be able to look ahead to the spring and answer any other questions on your mind.

Mohamed should be the undisputed leader of Cal’s 2010 defense, which will go through some heavy transition this season with new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and the depature of key players such as defensive end Tyson Alualu and cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson.


Football: Combine begins

The NFL Scouting Combine begins today with placekickers, tight ends and offensive linemen reporting. That means former Cal tackle Mike Tepper arrives in Indianapolis today and will go through some medical exams, interviews and an orientation.

Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers report Thursday, so Jahvid Best, Verran Tucker and Nyan Boateng will start their combine actitivies tomorrow. Defensive end Tyson Alualu will begin on Friday and cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson will get going on Saturday.

Each player goes through four days of activity at the combine. They don’t actually do any physical activity until the last day. The first three days consist of medical exams, interviews, psychological tests and meetings with the NFL Players Association.

The NFL Network and NFL.com is planning on covering the combine thoroughly so you should be able to watch the former Cal players go through their tests when they finally take the field.


Basketball: 20 Questions with Patrick Christopher

In our ongoing chats with Cal basketball players, today we visit with . . .

Position: Shooting guard
Height: 6-5
Hometown: Compton

Your five-man Dream Team, including yourself in the lineup: I’ll put myself at at the 2. No disrespect to Magic (Johnson), but Kobe (Bryant) has evolved as a player. I’m putting him at the 1. I’ll put Jordan at the 3 and LeBron at the 4. I’ll go with Shaq at center.

Age when you first dunked: I was 14. I was playing around after my ninth grade season and ended up getting a dunk on the side.

How tall you really are, if the doctor measured you barefoot: 6-4

How many pairs of basketball shoes you own: I don’t know. I’m going to say 70 pairs.

Coolest place you’ve been to play basketball: Coco Beach, Fla. I was playing travel ball at the age of 11. I think it’d be better at 21.

The place you’ve never been that you’d love to visit: Heaven

Besides Cal, the Pac-10 school with the best basketball fans: Honestly, I like Washington State.

The worst: Oregon State.

If you could be an Olympic athlete, other than basketball, your sport/event: Hockey. I’ve never ice skated, but I tip my hat to hockey players. It seems like they have to do a lot. They have to skate on ice and hit a puck with a stick.

The sport you refuse to watch: I don’t refuse to watch anything. I’ll watch any women’s sport because I’m a fan of women. Baseball is cool. A lot of basketball players don’t like football, but I’ll watch it. Being in college, I support all of Cal’s teams.

The actor who plays you in the movie version of your life: Will Smith

Actress who plays the lead opposite you: Halle Berry

Best concert you ever saw: Alicia Keys

Least favorite kind of music: Rock

Favorite meal your mother cooks: My dad was actually the chef for the family. He made this dish with rice and ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. It was something my grandmother used to make. I make it now.

Food you will not eat: Eggplant

Three people in history you’d like to have dinner with: Jesus, Malcolm X and Ralph Lauren.

The smartest guy on the Cal team: Brandon Smith

The funniest: Nikola Knezevic

The best athlete: Can I pick myself?


Basketball: Monty ready to crash another ceiling

Check out Gary Peterson’s column on Mike Montgomery, who stays focused on the process as he steers the Golden Bears toward the latest milestone achievement on his resume.

In the Arizona Daily Star, Arizona coach Sean Miller talks about how before the Wildcats can begin thinking about a possible Pac-10 tournament title they need to start playing better. UA has lost four of five heading into its Thursday game at Cal.


Basketball: Cal recruits keep winning in playoffs

Cal signee Gary Franklin Jr. and top-seeded Santa Ana-Mater Dei HS (26-1) reached the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section 1AA playoffs after an 80-60 quarterfinal win over Los Alamitos. Franklin scored 21 points and shut out the Griffins’ Tim Chung in the second half after Chung scored 18 first-half points.

Arizona State recruit Keala King had 26 points and a school-record 26 rebounds for Mater Dei, which puts its 21-game win streak on the line Friday night against Rancho Verde (26-3) of Moreno Valley at Ocean View HS.

In the Southern Section 4AA quaterfinals, top-seeded Los Angeles-Price HS (27-3), featuring Cal recruits Allen Crabbe and Richard Solmon, whipped Morningside 70-42.

Meanwhile, Cal recruit Alex Rossi and Winnetka (Ill.)-New Trier HS (19-4), ranked No. 20 in the Chicago Tribune poll, beat Maine West 56-37 in its regular-season finale.


Basketball: Zhang out with collapsed lung

Cal sophomore center Max Zhang, coming off one of the best games of his career, won’t be in uniform Thursday night when the Bears take on Arizona at Haas Pavilion.

Zhang suffered a collapsed lung during practice Monday when he collided with a teammate. He saw a doctor today and will be re-evaluated in the coming days. He is out for Thursday; his status for Saturday’s game against Arizona State is uncertain, a spokesperson for the athletic department reported within the past half-hour.

The 7-foot-2 1/4 native of China helped spark Cal’s 64-49 win at Oregon, coming off the bench to score eight points in just five minutes during the second half. It was his first significant playing time in almost three weeks.

Zhang played 11 minutes in Cal’s 76-72 loss at Arizona last month, contributing three points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.

Coach Mike Montgomery, at his Tuesday press conference earlier in the day, said nothing about Zhang’s condition, even though he fielded questions on the health of other players. He said the absence of ailing players from practice at times during the season has hurt the team’s depth and conditioning, but indicated he expects forward Omondi Amoke (shoulder) to play against ASU.

Zhang’s condition is the latest in series of physical setbacks the Bears have faced:

   —  Senior forward Theo Robertson missed six games early in the season with a foot injury.

    — Sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez sat out five games with a sprained knee

   — Junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison missed one game due to the flu and three others with back spasms,

   — Senior guard Patrick Christopher was held out of practice much of last week, according to Montgomery, because of tendinitis in his knee.