Football: Spring practice preview — quarterbacks


Spring practice begins a week from tomorrow. The Bears will be on a Tues-Thurs-Sat schedule, practicing in the afternoons (unlike the season, when they practice in the morning). Media guidelines will be the same as the season, meaning we will only have access to the first 20 minutes and final 10 minutes of each session. The exceptions will be three Saturday practices that will be open to the public. Coach Jeff Tedford is going to take those practices  off-site in different locations. It’s not totally finalized yet but one of them will be in Sacramento, one in San Jose and another one likely in the East Bay. As soon as that information becomes official, I will of course pass it on.

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Basketball: Gutierrez injury update

Some additional news about what happened to Jorge Gutierrez early in the second half of Cal’s 89-72 loss at Colorado on Saturday evening.

Coach Mike Montgomery said in his postgame remarks that Gutierrez suffered an ankle injury along with getting banged in the head. But a Cal spokesman emailed tonight to clarify.

He said he asked Gutierrez what happened and was told a Colorado player swiped him in the back of the knee with his knee and as Jorge was falling to the floor he was accidentally kicked in the head by teammate Emerson Murray.

Gutierrez was tested after the game for a possible concussion, but results weren’t immediately available.


Basketball: Cal post-game quotes

Here are post-game quotes from Colorado’s 87-72 win over Cal:

Cal coach Mike Montgomery:

On Jorge Gutierrez’s injury: “He fell and sprained his ankle, then hit somebody’s knee with his head, so he got a double-whammy. The ankle part was sore, but knowing Jorge he would have come back in and played. But the concussion part, and I’m not sure it was a concussion, but it was iffy enough that we weren’t going to risk that. That was really unfortunate, both for him being home in Colorado and for us; we had gotten back to eight. There have been three or four things that have been constants for us. One is Markhuri Sanders-Frison who dislocated his shoulder Tuesday, and the other of course is Jorge. Now we’re down both of them and at that point, there’s nothing we can do.”

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Basketball: Buffs rough up Bears

Cal’s season ended tonight with an 89-72 loss at Colorado in the second round of the NIT.

The Bears (18-15) trailed just 37-34 at halftime, but ex-Monte Vista HS star Cory Higgins made three 3-pointers in the first 2:14 of the second half as the Buffaloes immediately took charge.

Jorge Gutierrez, who scored 16 first-half points, was injured in the second half and came out of  the game for good with 14:24 left. (Update: Turns out Gutierrez suffered what may have been a concussion along with an ankle injury).

Colorado (23-13), now one victory away from reaching the NIT semifinals in New York City, led by double digits much of the second half.

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Basketball: If Cal beats Colorado . . .

The Bears’ quarterfinal round NIT game, if they get there, apparently will be played Tuesday at Berkeley. Cal tells me they haven’t gotten definitive word from NIT officials, but that Colorado was told it would play Tuesday.

The NIT official bracket is not updated with schedule information on the quarterfinals, except that there are two slots for games on Tuesday, and one of them is slotted for a 9 p.m. EDT tipoff on ESPN. That’s 6 p.m. here, and that’s the one I think you can count on for the Bears.

That is, if . . .


Basketball: While the NCAA tourney roars on . . .

Here’s hoping none of you utilized my NCAA tournament picks in our Thursday editions. My bracket already is in flames . . .

Bears face Cory Higgins

— Here’s my story from this morning’s paper on former Monte Vista HS star Cory Higgins, who leads Colorado against Cal in tonight’s NIT second-round game at Boulder, Colo. (By the way, I’m not with the Bears, so we won’t have an in-game thread on tonight’s action, Apologies).

Higgins told me former Cal coach Ben Braun did not recruit him but insisted thay won’t be a motivating factor tonight. Maybe.  “I’ll never forget they didn’t give me any looks,” Higgins said. “I just hope over the course of my career the things I’ve done have shown people the player I am.”

Higgins’ father is Rod Higgins, the former Warriors forward who currently serves as Michael Jordan’s general manager for the Charlotte Bobcats. The older Higgins struggled to give purely a GM’s evaluation of his son’s professional prospects. “It’s probably going to be hard for me to give an unbiased opinion. He’ll play somewhere. I’ll leave it at that. He has a love for the game.”

Cory Higgins has scored 1,953 points at Colorado to rank third on the school’s career list. Rod Higgins had 1,402 points during his days at Fresno State.  Pointing to his dad’s 13 years in the NBA, Cory said, “He’s had a better career . . . I’m just getting started.”

WSU’s Bone drops bombshell

— Washington State coach Ken Bone, whose team plays at home Monday against Oklahoma State in the NIT, must have surprised Cougars fans Thursday when he suggested during a radio interview than junior power forward DeAngelo Casto is only 50-50 to return for his senior season.

Casto, averaging 15.8 points over his past nine games, is considering a jump to play professionally in Europe, Bone said.

“He’s had those thoughts. He’s got a child now and he has no money whatsoever and no real family support,” Bone explained. “I’m just saying there’s a chance he won’t be around. We hope he is. We think he will be (back), but it’s not a sure thing. I think it’s fair to say it’s probably about 50-50.”

USC’s O’Neill won’t pressure Vucevic

— USC coach Kevin O’Neill said he won’t try to lobby junior power forward Nikola Vucevic for a return to school next season. In fact, he said he will encourage the 6-foot-10 native of Montenegro to submit his name into the NBA draft and would help him collect information on his status.

“Everybody says, `Recruit Nik back,’ ” O’Neill told the Los Angeles Times. “That would be insulting to Nik. I’m going to tell him facts. Nik’s a smart guy. If I was to try to give him some schmoozy recruiting pitch, it ain’t going to work.”

Vucevic, who averaged 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds and had 22 double-doubles this season, has until April 24 to file for early entry into the draft, then until June 13 to possibly change his mind and withdraw.


Basketball: Colorado scouting report

When Mike Montgomery talked earlier in the week about his 1991 Stanford team bonding as if they were a band of gypsys crossing the country together during their trek to the NIT title, this probably wasn’t meant.

Here’s a review of the Bears’ challenging and unusual week:

— Tuesday: Senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison dislocates his right shoulder in practice, ending his season and two-year Cal career.

— Wednesday morning: Junior forward Harper Kamp is up early, vomiting so often that he requires IV fluids.

— Wednesday evening: The Bears defeat Ole Miss 77-74 in the opening round of the NIT and learn they will play their second-round game Friday night vs. Colorado at Boulder, Colo.

— Thursday morning: The team jets to Denver, practices (even Harper Kamp) and turns in for the night.

— Friday: Tipoff vs. the Buffaloes is at 6:30 p.m. PDT.

“This is worse is than the Seattle to Pullman deal, just because of the distance,” Montgomery said Wednesday night. “I would have been much more comfortable with a Saturday or Sunday game.”

Hey, welcome to the Pac-12 a year early.

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