Football: Greetings from Reser Stadium

Whew. Finally made it here to Reser Stadium. A traffic accident caused a huge backup getting here, and we finally are up here in the press box.

As expected, there is a light rain falling right now, and it’s expected to continue on and off throughout the game.

Two quick lineup notes: Sean Cattouse will start at free safety in place of Josh Hill and Eric Stevens will start at fullback. Stevens didn’t start the past two games because of a broken finger.


Basketball: Understanding GSR scores

Four months after Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores showed Cal’s basketball program among the nation’s best, the Golden Bears ranked among the worst, according to the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) results released on Wednesday.

Cal’s GSR score for men’s basketball was 30 percent, which ranked as the lowest among teams that finished in last year’s final Associated Press Top-25 poll, according to the AP.

That came on the heels of the program’s June APR score of 967 out of a possible 1,000, including a perfect 1,000 mark for the 2008-09 school year.

So what gives?

The GSR measures graduation success over a four-year span, allowing incoming freshmen a six-year period to complete their degree. But the most recent scores are derived from the incoming scholarship class of the fall of 2003, averaged with results of the three previous freshmen classes.

In other words, players who arrived on campus as long ago as 2000.  So drawing a connection between the latest GSR score and last year’s teams has no relevance because the players on the 2009-10 team are not part of the study.

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Basketball: Monty at media day

Cal coach Mike Montgomery at Pac-10 Media Day in Los Angeles:

“Always a pleasure to be here. We have practice this afternoon. Not like we need practice with seven new players. I am glad we had the experience of winning the championship last year. It’s great to get Harper back this year. This is a different year for me. This is probably the youngest team I have ever had. It is going to be a challenge for us. We only really have three veteran guys back. Jorge (Gutierrez) was the only guy who played significant minutes for us last year.

“It is a terrific group of players, had a great summer together. We are going to rely very heavily on our two veteran players. There is going to be two or three veteran players on the court most of the time. We only have had 12 practices. November 10, first game. We will have some things we will just have to do well. Overall, we will just have to improve. By the time we get into conference we will have to compete (with) everyone . . . who is there. We are very excited to have Harper back. he is in the best shape he has every been and his knee is very strong.”

On the personality of his team:
“If you were ever going to take a model citizen on how to come back from an injury, Harper would be it. He and Markhuri Sanders-Frison really took the bulls by the horn. No one missed (workouts) and if they did they were held accountable by their teammates. They are young, they just don’t know. We have got a lot of work to do on how we are going to be successful. Their attitudes are great. I need to be patient, which is not my strong suit. I need to point out the positives, give them some love now and then.”

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Basketball: Kamp and MSF eager to go

From this morning’s paper: Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison are healthy again and excited to join forces as Cal’s inside 1-2 punch.


— Defending national champ Duke was voted No. 1 in the preseason AP Top-25. The Blue Devils got 55 of 65 first-place votes. Michigan State, Kansas State, OhioState and Pitt hold the next four spots. Washington, at No. 18, is the only Pac-10 team in the Top-25. San Diego State, which visits Cal on Dec. 8, is 25th — the first time the Aztecs have cracked the Top-25.

— The July recruiting period is not going anywhere, at least for now. The NCAA Board of Directors decided to support a year-long study of the issue, rather than follow the recommendation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which suggested a full ban of summer recruiting.

— Finally, if you’re interested in doing some early holiday shopping for your favorite hoops fan, you might consider getting involved in the bidding for the original copy of Dr. James Naismith’s 13 rules of basketball. The artifact goes up for auction on Dec. 10, and the expected pricetag is only $2 million.


Football: Mohamed to NYC

Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed has been named one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, given to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. This is the same award former Cal center Alex Mack won in 2008, when it was called the Draddy Award. It’s also commonly known as  the Academic  Heisman.

As a finalist, Mohamed gets to attend the Campbell Trophy ceremony at the famous Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on Dec. 7. He also gets an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The eventual winner, which will be announced on Dec. 7, gets $25,000.

Mohamed currently has a 3.43 GPA and is majoring in business.