Basketball: Randle, Christopher busy in Indy

Cal seniors Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher have made it to Indianpolis and the Final Four, after all.

Randle will participate Thursday in the 3-point shootout (ESPN, 6 to 8 p.m.), and both players will play in the NABC Reese’s All-Star Game on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium (CBS College Sports Network, 1:35 p.m.).

The 3-point competition is part of the 22nd annual State Farm slam dunk and 3-point shooting contest at the Indiana Convention Center.

Here’s the roster of sharpshooters with their season 3-point percentages in parenthesis:

Jerome Randle, Cal (.404), Michael Roll, UCLA (.426), Roman Martinez, New Mexico (.413), Eric Hayes, Maryland (.454), Jason Bohannon, Wisconsin (.389), Ali Farokhmanesh, Northerm Iowa (.372), Ryan Wittman, Cornell (.426) and Jermaine Beal, Vanderbilt (.379).

Randle and Christopher will wear orange uniforms (ugh) for the Reese’s All-Stars, presumably the West squad, in Friday’s game involving some of the nation’s top seniors. Former St.Mary’s HS-Berkeley star Dominic Calegari of UC Davis also is on the Reese’s squad, along with Arizona State’s Eric Boateng and UCLA’s Roll. Honorary coach for the Reese’s team is former Purdue coach Gene Keady.

The Hershey’s team, or East squad, directed by Bill Hodges, who coached Larry Bird at Indiana State, features Scottie Reynolds of Villanova, Cornell’s Wittman and Jeff Foote and Marquette’s Lazar Hayward.


Football: Back on the field

The Bears resumed spring practice tonight at a windy Memorial Stadium. As it turns out, the break from football didn’t allow Cal to heal up from its injuries. It just created more.

The Bears were victimized by a couple of non-football injuries during the break. Before you panic, none of them involved notable players. Reserve offensive lineman T.J. Emery suffered a concussion while snowboarding while walk-on long snapper Clark Porter returned with a sprained ankle suffered from playing volleyball.

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Basketball: Amoke talks — a little

I spoke late this afternoon with suspended Cal forward Omondi Amoke, who prefaced our brief phone conversation by saying he isn’t supposed to discuss his situation. 

“I’m just not supposed to talk about anything,” Amoke said. “But I’m optimistic about things.”

The sophomore from Oxnard was suspended indefinitely on March 17 for violation of undisclosed team rules.

Asked if he could explain why he was suspended, Amoke said, “I really can’t even comment on it.”

I tried to reach coach Mike Montgomery for a response, especially to Amoke’s contention that he is “optimistic” about being reinstated at some point. Montgomery, who is preparing to leave for the Final Four in Indianapolis, said through a Cal spokesperson that the situation is unchanged and that he has no comment at this point.

Amoke said he continues to attend class, but does not know when his situation might be resolved. He said he has spoken to teammates, but declined to provide any details.

Amoke started 14 games this season, averaging 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds. He was suspended two days before Cal’s NCAA Tournament opener against Louisville, and did not accompany the team on its trip to Jacksonville, Fla.


Basketball: Morgan dismissed from UCLA squad

UCLA coach Ben Howland today dismissed little-used sophomore center J’mison Morgan, deciding “it was in the best interest both for our program and for him to leave here.”

Morgan is the latest piece of a highly touted but disappointing freshman class of a year ago to depart the program. The quintet Jrue Holiday, Drew Gordon, Jerime Anderson, Malcolm Lee and Morgan was rated the nation’s No.1 recruiting class entering the 2008-09 campaign. 

Holiday exited for the NBA last spring after averaging 8.5  ppg as a freshman in 2008-09, and is scoring 7.7 ppg for the Philadelphia 76ers. San Jose native Gordon left the program in December and has transferred to New Mexico, and now Morgan is out the door. Lee averaged 12.1 ppg this season and Anderson 5.8 ppg for the Bruins, who suffered through a 14-18 season.

Morgan played in 19 games, contributing 1.9 ppg and 1.3 rpg. The Bruins’ incoming freshman class includes 6-10 center Josh Smith, a top-25 prospect from of Kentwood, Wash.


Football: Hitting the books

Cal coach Jeff Tedford said earlier today that cornerback Darian Hagan and defensive end DeAndre Coleman will not practice for the time being, instead using practice time to study.

Tedford stressed that neither player is in the academic “doghouse” but needs to work on their studies. They will join the team at the end of each practice for conditioning.

This is the second straight spring Hagan has spent practice time focusing on his studies. Earlier this month, Tedford said Hagan has really been maturing this offseason and expected big things from him for his senior season. Tedford said today that he still believes Hagan is getting it together, but simply needs to put in the extra time to keep his grades where they are.


Basketball: Did Ducks offer Tubby $2 mil?

Apparently Tom Izzo, Mark Few and Jamie Dixon aren’t interested in becoming the next coach at Oregon. Will Minnesota’s Tubby Smith listen?

The Oregonian reported that Oregon has offered Smith, the one-time Kentucky coach, a salary in excess of $2 million. Minnesota officials say they know of no such offer and Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Myron P. Medcalf reported this afternoon that multiple sources at Minnesota say Smith will remain with the Golden Gophers.

“(Smith isn’t) going anywhere,” one person close to Smith told the Star-Tribune. “Period.”

ESPN college basketball reporter Andy Katz suggested today that if all of Oregon’s high-profile targets decline, the Ducks will re-focus their energies on coaching prospects one tier lower.

If that happens, you have to figure Oregon will take a run at Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett. There could be some misgivings in Eugene over hiring a second straight coach from Moraga (Ernie Kent coached SMC before returning to his alma mater), but Bennett’s credentials are undeniable: 81 victories the past three seasons.

Although this was his third NCAA Tournament bid, the skeptics previously could argue he’d never won an NCAA game. Not anymore.

Bennett’s Gaels won twice in this year’s NCAA Tournament — something the school never had done.


Basketball: St. John’s hires ex-UCLA coach Lavin, former USC coach Floyd to UTEP

ESPN college basketball analyst and former UCLA coach Steve Lavin — a Bay Area native — has been hired to take over the program at St. John’s University in New York.

Lavin, whose father Cap played for coach Pete Newell’s 1949 NIT championship team at USF, spent seven seasons as coach at UCLA. He directed six of those teams into the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite 8 round in 1996-97 and the Sweet 16 four other times. He was fired after a 10-19 season in 2002-03, but exited with a career win-loss record of 145-78.

He inherits a St. John’s team that went 17-16 this season, including 6-12 in the Big East Conference, but could return as many as 10 lettermen. The Red Storm, which has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2002, will begin a home-and-home series next season against UCLA.

Meanwhile, former USC coach Tim Floyd was hired by Texas-El Paso to replace Tony Barbee, who left to become coach at Auburn.

Currently an assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA, served as an assistant to the late Don Haskins at UTEP from 1978 through ’86, and since then has been a head coach at Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State and USC. He also coached the post-Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls.

Floyd was 85-50 in four seasons at USC and the Trojans won the 2009 Pac-10 tournament title. But he resigned amid controversy last spring as the program faced an NCAA investigation into the recruitment of former USC star O.J. Mayo. The university gave the basketball program self-imposed sanctions this season, including a ban on 2010 postseason play, and awaits further word from the NCAA in the coming months.


Basketball: Az 2011 PG prospect considering Cal

Collin Woods, a junior point guard from Horizon HS in Scottsdale, Ariz., said Cal is now on his radar after the Golden Bears showed consistent interest in him this season.

Quoted on the Rivals.com recruiting Web site, Woods said he has offers from Weber State and Colorado State, but that Cal has become a more intriguing suitor.

“They’ve definitely picked up halfway through the season and they’ve been talking to me a lot,” Woods told Rivals. “They came to a lot of my games this season. They have a set offense but they let their players penetrate and play their own game inside the offense. I kind of like how they let them play in a wide-open offense and they can use their talent.”

Woods averaged 15.2 points and four assists this season. He said he does not have a scholarship offer from Cal. Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara are among other schools recruiting him, Woods said.