Basketball: I’ve landed . . . now, about Amoke

Sorry I’ve been out of touch all day. As you all know by now, Omondi Amoke has been indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules and did not make the trip here to Jacksonville with the team.

I’ve been traveling most of the day, too, on a separate flight, but we posted a story this morning before I left that really is about all I still know.

Mike Montgomery has opted not to comment on the matter today (we will get the chance to talk with him at his NCAA press conference Thursday afternoon), and I was unable to reach Omondi Amoke for an explanation.

I do not know the reason for the suspension, but can only speculate it must be something reasonably serious for them to have left a starter home from the NCAA Tournament. Beyond that, it would be irresponsible to guess, so I won’t. I do not know if he will be back with the team.

Obviously, this presents several issues for the team:

— The distraction factor: A starter is left home (for whatever reason) two days before the most important game of the season. It’s a scenario ripe with the potential to mess with the minds of the players. This actually could be the biggest issue Cal faces on the subject, especially Thursday when players and coaches are made available at a press conference and in the locker room before their public workout session. It will be critical for Montgomery to handle this in a way that prevents his players from losing focus. They have four senior starters, and if experience is worth anything, those guys should circle the wagons and make sure everyone is thinking about one thing: Louisville.

— The starting lineup: Obviously, someone else will be starting Friday night. I actually wondered if they might make a change anyway, given that Louisville goes 6-9, 6-10 on its frontline. No way Amoke (6-6 1/2, 225) can defend 6-9, 260-pound Samardo Samuels (Jamal Boykin figures to take him), which would leave Amoke on 6-10 Terrence Jennings. Sounds like a difficult assignment. So maybe Markhuri Sanders-Frison or Max Zhang was going to see a lot of playing time in any case.

— The depth factor: One of the areas in this game that seems to favor Louisville is depth. Rick Pitino has 11 players averaging 10 minutes or more, eight of them averaging at least 13. Montgomery had shortened his bench anyway, and now there is one fewer player available. If Louisville’s press hurts Cal, it’s most likely it will have impact late in the game if fatigue becomes an issue. That’s more likely to be the case with fewer bodies.

— Strategy changes: Would Monty throw Louisville a curve and start Max in the middle of a zone defense? Montgomery doesn’t love playing zone, and isn’t convinced this team plays it well. But Max seems likely to be in there are times Friday night, and it’s in those situations Montgomery has used a zone, allowing Zhang to merely patrol the middle of the key rather than match up 1-on-1 with someone. It helps him minimize foul trouble, to which he’s prone. He also could go small and give more playing time to the likes of Nikola Knezevic, D.J. Seeley or Brandon Smith. I’m guessing Sanders-Frison starts and they will adjust from there.

Stay tuned. I’ll have more Thursday.

Jeff Faraudo

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Is it possible that the advisor in Social Welfare can confirm what is being talked aobut on other sports boards. The guy got suspended because of academics. How about it?

  • Stapes

    This sucks. It was a toss up game but you can’t really pick Cal now that they are missing a starter. I wonder what this means for next year – can Amoke come back from this?

  • milo

    I heard Monty was going to start Max. It makes sense, if Max can get a solid 15-18 minutes and disrupt things just enough, it will help keep Cal in position. Have to beware of early foul trouble.

    I think of Max (at this stage) sort of like a knuckleball pitcher. In the right situation very effect, hard to handle but used in the wrong situation/personnel could get shelled. Lets hope he throws Louisville a bit of a loop.

    Hope things work out for Amoke.

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    Can you address this?

    Bottom 10 Basketball Grad Rates: Major Programs
    Maryland 8%
    Fresno St. 8%
    Arizona 11%
    Georgia 18%
    Cal 20%
    Connecticut 27%
    Washington 29%
    LSU 29%
    Tennessee 30%
    Kentucky 31%

    Cal is in the bottom 10 for the second straight year. It really is disgraceful that Cal has been willing to put up with such low graduation rates for so long.

    Biggest Difference in Grad Rates Between Basketball Players and All Students
    Major Programs
    (Difference of 35% or more)
    Basketball Players All Students Difference
    Maryland 8% 79% -71%
    Cal 20% 88% -68%
    Georgia 18% 76% -58%
    Connecticut 27% 74% -47%
    Arizona 11% 57% -46%
    Washington 29% 75% -46%
    Michigan 44% 87% -43%
    USC 43% 85% -42%
    Clemson 37% 77% -40%
    Georgia Tech 38% 77% -39%
    Fresno St. 8% 47% -39%
    Virginia 56% 93% -37%
    Baylor 36% 73% -37%

    All figures are taken from the NCAA 2009 Graduation Succes Rate Report and the NCAA 2009 Federal Graduation Rate Report.

  • robert

    Do some research on the basketball stats. They are about 4 years old regardless of what the date says.

    Also, look at the small, small numbers that basketball deals with. You have a three person senior class and two players turn pro early. How does that affect the graduation rate?

    Finally, in the way the NCAA measures things if a player transfers the original school will get dinged.

    There are many, many things behind the numbers.

    However, this current Bear senior class, WHICH IS WHAT IS MOST RELEVANT, will show great academic performance.

  • covinared

    Sanctions are a coming. Wins, titles, trophies forfeited. No bowl games. Fewer scholarships, maybe no tv.

  • The Wisdom Cow


    Just read the ESPN rumor page, having a blurb on Omandi being out. It noted a possible replacement as Max “Maximum” Zhang. Where did that come from? Someone send it back, NOW!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Drawf, your copy/pasting eastcoastcard now?

  • Rocko

    Amy stick to football, at least there, people know you have no knowledge of which you speak.

  • ToparchBears

    Ha ha… If you are talking about graduation rate. This year Cal will be 100% because all 5 seniors will be graduating.

    Go Bears!