Basketball: Ducks appear willing to spend big for next coach; Florida’s Donovan on wish list

Here’s the latest from the Register-Guard in Eugene on Oregon’s search for a new coach.

The Ducks reportedly are pursuing Florida’s Billy Donovan, who makes $3.3 million per season.

— Meanwhile, Washington’s hopes of beating West Virginia in the Sweet 16 got a boost Tuesday when it was announced Mountaineers starting guard Darryl Bryant is out with a broken foot.

— Arizona coach Sean Miller is putting together a somewhat softer non-conference schedule than the Wildcats have faced in recent seasons.


Basketball: Kidd scores 26 on 37th birthday

On his 37th birthday, ex-Cal star Jason Kidd scored a season-high 26 points and dished 12 assists, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 106-96 win over the L.A. Clippers after Dirk Nowitzki was ejected.

Kidd had 13 points, three assists and a steal during a 22-3 run in the fourth quarter that gave Dallas the lead for good.

The author of 104 career triple-doubles, the former St. Joseph’s HS star is averaging 10 points, 9.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds this season.


Basketball: Randle’s statistical smorgasbord

Cal senior point guard Jerome Randle did a decent job re-writing the record books this season. Here’s some of what he achieved statistically:

— No. 1 all-time career scorer at Cal: 1,835 points

— No. 6 all-time scorer in Bay Area Division I: 1,835 points

— No. 3 single-season scorer at Cal: 651 points

— No. 1 senior season scorer at Cal: 651 points

— No. 11 single-season scorer in Bay Area: 651 points

— No. 2 career assists at Cal: 524

— No. 5 all-time Bay Area assists: 524

— No. 1 career 3-point FGs made at Cal: 252

— No. 2 career 3-point FGs made in Bay Area: 252 (behind only Steve Nash, Santa Clara, 263)

— No. 1 single-season 3-point FGs made at Cal: 92

— No. 1 single-season 3-point FG made in Bay Area: 92

— No. 1 career FT percentage at Cal: .881 (393-for-446)

— No. 1 career FT percentage in Bay Area: .881

 — No. 1 single-season FT percenatage at Cal: .933 (139-for-149)

— No. 1 single-season FT percentate in Bay Area: .933

Throw in Cal’s first Pac-10 title in 50 years, conference Player of the Year honors, twice an all-Pac-10 first-team pick, two NCAA Tournament bids and the school’s first opening-round NCAA victory in seven years . . . not a bad body of work.

Jason Kidd will always be the standard by which any Cal point guard is measured, but I think you could argue that Randle compares favorably with Kevin Johnson (as a college player) in the debate for the Bears’ second-best at the position in the modern era. And that’s pretty good company.


Basketball: Monty’s first post-NCAA thoughts

A couple of us talked this afternoon with Mike Montgomery, who offered his thoughts on a range of topics.

I will have a more specific breakdown on next year’s team beginning Wednesday, but here are some insights from the coach:

— On the season: “I have a hard time imagining doing a whole  lot more. There were probably two or three wins we left out there. If  we were healthy, we could have squeezed out one or two more wins and that might have gotten us a better seed (for the NCAA Tournament), so we wouldn’t have played a No. 1 (in the second round).  I think we had the capability based on even what’s left (in the tournament) now to win more games. But I think it’s fair to say Duke’s a better team.”

— On the growth over the past two seasons by the departing four senior starters: “They’re very talented kids. In their own way, each has their own set of skills they bring to the table. They’re basketball players, and they wanted to succeed in basketball, no question. As a result of that they were receptive to the things we had to say. They wanted to win, wanted to be successful. That goes a long way. We had to get them all on the same page in terms of how to win. It wasn’t always easy, but once they started to realize if they get a little bit better defensively, played a little bit harder, share the ball better in certain sitautions, we could win.”

— On moving forward without Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin: “I’m worried about every facet about what we’re going to do. We lose two first-team all-conference players, maybe eour best glue guy in Theo, and a very emotional leader in Jamal. We”re not going to be favored to win the league next year. We’re going to have to step back and build this thing properly.”

— Montgomery said there is no timetable for resolving the situation involving sophomore Omondi Amoke, who was suspended indefinitely last week for violation of undisclosed team rules.

— He said the four incoming freshmen will play “significant roles” next season and had praise for 6-6 wing Allen Crabbe, named the Gatorade state player of the year. “I’m pleased with Allen. He’s made great progress. We liked him when we saw him initially,  thought he was going to be a real good player. To his credit, he’s worked very hard to get better. He’s gotten better in every phase of his game. I hope he can stay hungry.”

— Montgomery said he expects to add one or more additional newcomers before next season. Cal currently has one vacant scholarship.

— He said he has no idea yet who will emerge as next season’s point guard. The candidates include sophomore Jorge Gutierrez, freshman Brandon Smith and incoming freshman Gary Franklin Jr.

— On leadership: “I don’t think leadership is going to be a problem next year. There are some guys waiting in the weeds that are very very excited about that,” he said, citing Harper Kamp, Jorge Gutierrez “in his quiet way” Markhuri Sanders-Frison and Brandon Smith.


Basketball: Cal-Duke post-mortem

Here are links to the stories we will publish in our morning editions:

— My game story on how Duke’s defense completely smothered the Bears.

— A notebook, featuring Patrick Christopher’s tough final game.

Monte Poole’s game column on how Duke left no doubt about the better team.

I have to catch an early flight home, but a few thoughts first on Sunday’s game:

— Mike Montgomery said afterward that if the teams played 10 times, Duke probably would win more than Cal. I’d say that’s an understatement. The Blue Devils are bigger, deeper, stronger, better defensively and at least as skilled. None of it diminishes what Cal achieved this season — its first Pac-10 title in 50 years, reaching the championship game of the conference tournament, and winning a first-round NCAA game for the first time in seven seasons. Not bad.

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Football: Spring update

Obviously, spring football has taken a backseat to the NCAA Tournament in recent days. And there won’t be too much to report until next week because the team is now off until March 30 for spring break. The Bears have practiced four times — just once in pads — so not too much has been determined at this point. Cal will have 11 more practices once things resume.

There will be three more practices open to the media — each of the first three Saturdays in April. The Bears will wear full pads in each of those practices and the final two will be scrimmage-like — meaning they won’t be true scrimmages but rather a series of 11-on-11 situations with a full officiating crew on hand.

I will have a piece on new special teams coach Jeff Genyk here on the blog soon.


Basketball: Crabbe, Solomon win, Franklin loses in Southern California regional title games

Mixed results Saturday night for Cal’s recruits in the CIF Southern California championship games.

Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon led top-seeded Los Angeles-Price HS (32-3) to a 69-48 rout of San Diego-Parker HS in the Division IV title game. Crabbe, named the Gatorade state Player of the Year this week, scored 25 points for Price, which will face Berkeley-St. Mary’s HS in the state title game  next weekend in Bakersfield.

Not such a good result for Gary Franklin Jr., and top-seeded Santa Ana-Mater Dei HS (32-2), which lost 71-63 to Los Angeles-Westchester in the Division I final. Franklin shot just 5-for-18, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range.


Basketball: Duke game thread

FINAL SCORE: Duke 68, Cal 53. Bears finish with a season-low point total — previous was 62. Boykin led Cal with 13 points. Randle (12), Robertson (10) and Christopher (2) combined for 24 — got to be their combined season low. Bears finish 24-11. Duke goes to Houston and the Sweet 16.

1:00 2nd H: Monty is letting his five seniors, including Knezevic, play it out.

4:29 2nd H: Sanders-Frison has fouled out. Max is in. MSF finished with seven points, equaling his best. Zoubek hit one of two and it’s 62-45, Duke’s biggest lead. Gutierrez is back in.

4:50 2nd H: MSF just got his fourth PF. And he’s the only Cal player to score in the past 5 minutes.

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Basketball: Boykin in midst of media swirl

“Somebody talk to this guy,” coach Mike Montgomery said, pointing to freshman Brandon Smith in the Cal dressing room. There were no takers.

On the eve of the Bears’ NCAA Tournament second-round matchup with Duke, seemingly every reporter from the state of North Carolina needed an audience with Cal senior Jamal Boykin.

The scene was hilarious, but predictable. While most of his teammates were ignored by reporters, Boykin faced a sea of microphones and TV cameras as the media contingent following Duke wanted to get the scoop from the one-time Blue Devil.

Boykin, a starting forward for the Bears, began his college career at Duke before transferring to Cal in December 2006.

“What was funny,” Boykin said later, “is I felt after not having that big double-double game (against Louisville), OK, I avoided the media blitz because I felt they’ll just focus on (others) and I’ll be on the side. This kind of caught me off guard.”

His teammates snickered and took pictures of the scene with their cell phones.

“His mind is probably going a thousand miles an hour right now,” senior Theo Robertson said.

Boykin said he has no bitterness toward Duke. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Boykin, “On and off the court, he was the total package _ that’s why we recruited him.”

There will be no reminiscing today, Boykin promised. “It has to be all out the window,” he said. “We have to focus on playing the game.”