Basketball: Bears to play in CBE Classic in Nov.

Cal will participate in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., next Nov. 21-22 as part of a three-day celebration honoring eight inductees into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Missouri, Georgia and Notre Dame also are scheduled to play at the Sprint Center. Matchups haven’t been announced.

The Hall of Fame ceremonies, involving Chris Mullin, Bob Knight, Ralph Sampson and James Worthy, among others, will be held on Nov. 20.


Basketball: Behrens thinking big

I talked a few minutes ago with Christian Berhens, who told me he was “99 percent” sure he would commit to Cal even before his recruiting visit was done two weekends ago.

“I just felt like Cal presented me with the best opportunity, academically and athletically,” said Behrens, who called coach Mike Montgomery with his verbal commitment on Monday evening. “I feel like they have a lot of upside. I can see where I can fit in.

“I see a lot of great things in the future with this program. It just felt right when I was on the visit. The guys were great.”

Behrens, his mother and his younger sister flew to London to visit family after his recruiting trip and he used the time to solidify his commitment.

“I didn’t want to let this opportunity slip by me,” he said. “I realize it’s an honor to be playing in the Pac-12 and also be able to attend such a high caliber of university at the same time.

“Especially for a team that just won the national championship . . . uh, I mean the conference championship.”

And he started laughing. “We’ll get there,” he said.

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Basketball: `Channeling Kapp’

Got a call this evening from a long-time NBA scout I know, who phoned for no other reason than to tell me how much he admires the way Jorge Gutierrez plays the game.

“Joe Kapp was the best competitior I ever saw at Cal,” the scout said, noting that the future Super Bowl quarterback also played on Pete Newell’s basketball team. “That Gutierrez kid must be channeling Joe Kapp.”

My friend said he told several other scouts recently that no one in the Pac-10 impacts the game in more ways than Gutierrez.

I asked if a year from now Gutierrez might get some attention from NBA scouts.

“He’s not a good shooter,” the scout told me, “but you’ve got to take a look at anybody who plays that hard.”


Basketball: Christian Behrens commits to Cal

Mike Montgomery got his second verbal commitment in a week tonight after a phone call from Christian Behrens, a 6-foot-8 forward from Tahoma High in Covington, Wash.

Tahoma coach Rob Morrow just told me that Behrens called Montgomery with the news at 6 p.m.

Behrens spent last week in London with his mother, visiting family, and texted his coach back and forth several times. Back at school on Monday, the two talked about Behrens’ decision.

“He looked relieved, he looked excited. He feels pretty good about it,” Morrow said. “I think it’s a good move on both parts.”

Morrow said Behrens recently was named to two all-star games: the Washington state game March 12 at Mt. Lake Terrace High outside Seattle, and the Washington-Oregon game, April 2 at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland.

“He’s had a run of good news the last couple days,” Morrow said.

Morrow said Behrens would have preferred to stay close to home. “The opportunity (at Cal) was too great,” Morrow said. “I think he can be a player at Cal.

“He’s an excellent passer. For a 6-8 guy who can dribble and shoot, you can kind of run stuff through him.  He sees the floor, understands the game, has a high basketball IQ. He’s going to get better and better at putting the ball on the floor. He has a knack of getting to the free throw line.”

Behrens missed the second half of his junior season after suffering an ACL knee injury. But he returned this season to average 21.7 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Behrens will join a Cal recruiting class that features fall signee David Kravish, a 6-9 forward from Lee’s Summit North High in Kansas, and De’End Parker, a 6-5 combo guard from City College of San Francisco, who committed last week.


Basketball: Bears top OSU, clinch winning season

 Another second-half comeback by the Bears (16-13, 9-8 Pac-10), who clinch a winning record with an 87-76 victory at Oregon State.

Cal shot 72 percent (18 for 25) in the second half to outscore the Beavers (10-17, 5-11) 49-32 in the second half. Cal shot 62.5 percent in the second half vs. Oregon.

Just as they trailed by 16 in the first half of their Thursday win at Oregon, the Bears were down by 14 in the opening half of this one.

Here’s something from senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison off the TV postgame:

“We got a little pep talk in the locker room (at halftime). We knew what to do,” said Sanders-Frison, the Portland native, who scored 16 points in his final trip home. Asked why the Bears have become a second-half team, he added, “We’re still trying to figure that out and get that out of our system.”

Cal can finish 10-8 in the Pac-10 with a win at home next Saturday against Stanford in the regular-season finale.

The Bears need four more wins to get coach Mike Montgomery his 13th consecutive 2o-win season, including his final 10 at Stanford. Won’t be easy, but possible. One scenario: beat Stanford, win one in the Pac-10 tournament, two in the NIT. Or: beat Stanford, win two in the Pac-10, one in the NIT.

The Bears remains alone in fifth place. Fourth-place USC (9-7) beat ASU 62-46 for its fourth straight win.  Sixth-place Washington State (7-8) plays at Washington (10-5) on Sunday night.

In all likelihood, Cal has clinched a top-six finish in the league, which would earn them a bye into the Thursday quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament. Oregon (7-9) could still finish in a tie with Cal for sixth, but that would require the Bears losing to Stanford and the Ducks sweeping the Arizona schools on the road. Then a tiebreaker would settle the issue.

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Basketball: Oregon State scouting report

Former Santa Clara coach Carroll Williams, a member of the National Invitation Tournament selection committee, said Cal is “certainly in the picture” for a spot in the 32-team NIT.

Williams said he has watched the Bears play 14 times on TV or in person, including Thursday’s come-from-behind win at Oregon.

“I thought Oregon had ’em on the ropes, but they came back,” he said. “(Jorge) Gutierrez is a strong-minded guy and they follow him. I think their younger kids are coming on.”

Williams said the Bears’ No. 71 RPI computer ranking will help, as will their No. 14 strength-of-schedule rating. “You bet,” he said. “We always look at that.”

Cal will get “strong consideration,” Williams said.

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Basketball: CCSF’s Parker commits to Bears

De’End Parker, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound combo guard from City College of San Francisco, the top-ranked JC team in the state, has given Cal an oral commitment.

The co-Player of the Year in the Coast Conference, Parker said he attended the Bears’ overtime win over UCLA and watched them beat Oregon on TV on Thursday night. “You could see the fight within them,” he said. “They’re winners and that’s the way I am.”

Parker, who got his first name because he is the last of 10 children in his family, said he called coach Mike Montgomery with the news early Friday afternoon.

“He was really happy. He told me, `I’m really excited now,’ ” Parker said. “I  just told him we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Parker is averaging 12.5 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for a CCSF team that takes a 27-1 record and the No. 1 seed into Saturday’s NorCal plaoff opener against Butte College.

A graduate of Lincoln High in San Francisco, Parker plays point guard for the Rams. But Montgomery told him he envisions using him at all three perimeter spots.

“He’s a tough kid, a winner,” said CCSF coach Justin Labagh, a former walk-on at Cal. “He can take guys off the dribble, create his own shot and he played point guard for us for so he can set guys up.”

Parker told me last week he also was considering UCLA and Arizona State and didn’t plan to choose one until his JC season was over.

“It was pretty much time to make a decision,” he said. “I didn’t want them thinking I didn’t want to go there.”


Basketball: NCAA gives Bears 2 years’ probation

Here’s our early story on NCAA sanctions levied on Cal today for 365 impermissible phone calls made to prospective recruits during a seven-month period in 2008, just after coach Mike Montgomery was hired.

Here is Cal’s response to the findings, including comments from Montgomery and athletic director Sandy Barbour.

Cal is reviewing the NCAA report, but has not determined whether it will appeal any aspects of it.

Here is a link to the NCAA website with the official 15-page report from the infractions committee.