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Basketball: Your favorite all-time Bear?

By Jeff Faraudo
Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 3:11 pm in Alumni, Basketball.

With Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp set to play their final home game on Saturday, I got to wondering . . .

Who is your favorite all-time Cal basketball player?

Not necessarily the best player, but your favorite.

Do Gutierrez or Kamp figure in your discussion?

How about Jason Kidd, Al Grigsby, Kevin Johnson, Jerome Randle?

Darrall Imhoff?

Max Zhang? Or did his sudden departure knock him from your list?

No doubt, I’ve overlooked plenty of other deserving candidates.

Tell me about your favorite Cal player and I will compile the results and post them Saturday before tipoff.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • DaveintheHills

    Kevin Johnson and Jorge are heads and shoulders above the rest IMO (never saw Grigsby or Imhoff).

    Jason is hard to root for because of his marital issues.

    I love Harper (much underappreciated), but Jorge leaving is HUGE deal. Even my wife, who is almost 9 months pregnant, will make the pilgrimage to Haas on Saturday to watch and honor his accomplishments for Cal.

  • David Swartz

    Leon Powe

  • Juancho

    Alex Pribble.

    Me and my friends got drunk with him once at Kips after a game.

  • Juancho

    Other guys who I really really liked to watch play, in no particular order:

    Brian Weathers
    Joe Shipp
    Sean Lampley
    Gino Carlisle
    Shantauy Leggins
    Leon Powe
    Ed Gray
    Amit Tamir
    Richard Midgley
    Shareef Abdur Rahim
    Lamond Murray
    Jason Kidd

    And even though he was only here for a year, the most electrifying player for my money, was Marquise Kately. Guy could absolutely fly.

  • Esquire Joe

    What Leon Powe gave this program and the heart he showed in repeatedly coming back from injury is hard to match. I think he’d be at the top of my list.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Daddy doesn’t use the computer but he voted for some kid named Circus King?

  • LR

    Leon Powe
    Kevin Johnson
    Richard Midgley
    Theo Robertson
    Leonard Taylor
    Randy Duck

    In that order. I’ll take effort over ability any day and effort plus ability above all.

    Guys I didn’t like to watch? All of the following seem(ed) to be working at 40% all the time:

    Devon Hardin
    Jamal Sampson
    Dom McGuire
    Richard Solomon

  • http://Capitolgoldbuyers.com BlakeStreetBear

    My alltime Cal starting five: Kidd, Jorge, Theo, Lamond, Leon.
    And coming off the bench: Randle, Shipp, Buckley, Benson, Yogi.
    Go Bears!

  • thesajidakhan

    In no particular order: Jerome Randle, Jorge Gutierrez, Jason Kidd.

  • Juancho

    Wow I forgot about Theo Robertson.

    And Patrick Christopher for that matter.

    And Sean Marks.

    And Ryan Anderson.

    If we’re going to also list our least favorite, these are the guys that frustrated me the most:

    Ayinde Ubaka
    Richard Solomon
    Bak Bak
    Eric Veirnesel
    David Paris
    Max Zhang Zhou The Genius (Seinfeld reference)
    Markuri Sanders Frison

  • SturdyGoldenBear

    My personal favorites are pretty much all of the 2009-2010 seniors, but I’ll give a ranking of the top 5. In my opinion you develop the strongest feelings for the guys you root for as a student. Not to say alums and other fans don’t feel the same way, just that for me I’ll always associate the most and best memories with the guys I watched play in person, as a student and band member.

    1. Jerome Randle
    -2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year
    -Holds Cal records for career points (1,835), 3-pointers (252), free throw % (88.1%), consecutive free throws (40), second in assists (524)
    -Dude missed 10 free throws during his senior season. 10. 139-149. That’s sickening.
    -Absolutely ridiculous handles, Haas Pavilion goes “OOOOHHHHHHH!” as he weaves between and under the trees to the rim
    -Drained 8 threes (many of them contested, deep and utterly beautiful) in a thrilling win @ Arizona: http://espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=290650012
    -That jaw-dropping 40-foot running swoosh to beat the halftime buzzer vs. Louisville in the 2010 NCAA tournament.

    2. Jorge Gutierrez
    -Hardest worker, biggest heart, bleeds blue n gold. Need I say more?
    -Hip Hip, Jorge!
    -Probable Pac-12 Player of the Year
    -Max effort and hustle on every single play, pure basketball passion and a heart of blue and gold.

    3. Harper Kamp
    -Epitome of a Cal student-athlete
    -Youth chess master (broadcasters just loved this tidbit last year)
    -Awesome guy, friendly and approachable, and very humble
    -Not the flashiest, not the best stat line game-to-game, but he always seems to be involved in the clutch plays when we need it the most

    4. Ryan (Rhino) Anderson
    -What a shooter and rebounder! Just wish he would’ve stayed longer than two years, but ya can’t blame him for leaving.
    -Making his first appearance in the 3-point Shootout next weekend!

    5. Patrick (PC) Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal (is my) Boykin
    -What a starting five that was. PC had the all-around game, Theo led the nation for much of the year in 3PT%, and Jamal was a great contributor and hustle guy (and an amazing artist).

    Honorable mention: Ayinde Ubaka
    -Cal upset eventual final four UCLA team in the 2007 Pac-10 tournament in OT. Ubaka had 31 in the game and 8 in the extra period. Considering almost every player from UCLA’s roster that year is now playing in the NBA, it was a great victory.

    Note: Leon Powe doesn’t make my list because I shamefully didn’t pay much attention to basketball my freshman year. I know, I know. I suck.

  • Will

    Leon Powe.

  • inkbowl02

    I am surprised Brian Wethers and Joe Shipp aren’t getting more love here. Both contributed all four years, improved markedly each year, and took the team with them. Their senior year (which, full disclosure, I covered for the Daily Cal) was supposed to be rebuilding with Sean Lampley graduating, but they shouldered the load, blossoming into all-conference players, and led us to a memorable year culminating with a classic win over NC State in March Madness before falling to Oklahoma.

    Wethers in particular was a super-versatile player who seemed to contribute whatever the team needed on a particular night–defense, slashing, ball movement, even posting up, he could do a bit of everything. He was responsible for one of the most memorable stretches I’ve ever seen–in that game against Oklahoma, who was a #2 seed playing in front of a hometown crowd, with the Bears down 15 in the second half, he took over the game at both ends for a half-dozen possessions and willed them back to 5 or 6. It came up short in the end, but I’ll remember that feeling forever.

    Some other hits from the turn-of-the millennium era: Dennis “the Sheriff” Gates, Ryan Forehan-Kelly, Conor “Mr. Fundamental” Famulener, AJ Diggs… walk-ons that turned into valuable glue guys–possibly Ben Braun’s only elite coaching skill.

  • Rocko

    I have three – Russ Critchfield, KJ and Jorge all three gave their heart and souls while at CAL.

  • Rollonubears

    Nice post JF. I gotta go with powe. Go bears!

  • ken1w

    Jerome Randle. But Jorge is next, and maybe he’ll be my favorite all-time player by the end of the season… :)

  • Stevini

    I’ll have to concur with DaveintheHills (1st post). KJ is number one for me. I was there when The Streak was broken….best sporting event I’ve ever attended.

    Next is Jorge. How can you not love that guy.

  • discdude

    Monty Buckley
    Leon Powe
    Lamond Murray
    Brian Hendrick
    Leonard Taylor
    Kevin Johnson
    Jorge Gutierrez

    And absolutely Chris Washington for his amazing steal against UCLA.

    (And of course, Hartmut Ortman and Richard Chang…kidding. They were fun to watch, though)

  • Eric

    Al Grisbgy – hardest working man at Cal.

    Honorable mention – Monte Buckley (THAT dude could fly, Juancho) and Randy Duck (who as a frosh thought he could dunk over anyone and by the time of the 1997 season had become a great all-around player).

    Least favorite – Jelani Gardner.

  • H8sRed

    Tie: Al Grigsby and Leon Powe. Despite repeated injuries, they both played with heart. Tough not to root for that. Honorable mention: Jorge.

    (Really, Juancho? “Me and my friends?” Are you sure you sure you’re a Cal alum?)

  • ConcordBear

    I’m going with Theo Robertson.
    DLS so played HS local and led Cal to first Conference Championship I’ve ever seen.
    Did it all with a body that was starting to break down.
    Jorge and Harper will be at same level as Theo if they win the Pac too.

  • Gobears49

    Jumpin’ Jackie Ridgle, who everyone came out to watch as a freshman when he played on the freshman team, and then left after the freshman game finished but before the varsity game started. The guy was super quick and could drive around everyone. Too bad he wasn’t a good shooter.

    Amit Tamir — loved a guy that tall who was very good a making outside shots (though he was lousy inside).

  • SteveNTEXAS

    DaveintheHills. Don’t judge Jason based on marital issues. I’ve done divorce and criminal cases for many years and there is way more than meets the eye here.

    Jason is definitely one of my favorites the other has only been mentioned once ( by Juancho)

    Ed Gray – what a great clutch shooter! He had some issues which prevented him from becoming an NBA star.

  • Sean

    Dennis Gates. Guy got a Bachelor’s degree in three years and a Master’s in his fourth. At Berkeley. While playing Division I basketball. And he’ll be a head coach in the next 5 years.

  • http://www.thewisdomcow.blogspot.com/ The Wisdom Cow

    Brian Hendrick, hands down for me. I was fortunate enough to live down the hall from him our first semester at Cal. I didn’t know him well, but he was a genuine gentleman, a complement I do not hand out easily.

  • Mr. B

    Ryan Meyers.

    Came to CAL as a scholarship water polo goalie. Walked on to basketball and made the team. Played the year CAL won the NIT. He is a good friend of mine and I remember loving the “garbage time” of games when he would get some PT.

    Also enjoyed Sean Marks. He was fun, funny and could party like all Kiwis.

    Go BEARS!!

  • Ed

    For me it’s a coin flip between Randle and Jorge. They both played hard and left everything on the court. If every recruit could be cloned to be like them I wouldn’t complain. Go Bears!

  • http://capitolgoldbuyers.com BlakeStreetBear

    Forgot to mention Ed Gray too. 24.8 pts/gm his senior year. Had he not been injured in the final minutes of the last regular season game (after scoring 48!!), that Cal team could have seriously contended for an NC. They made the sweet 16 despite Gray’s injury – lead by a yet unmentioned Bear: Tony Gonzales.

    I remember a layup of Gray’s where he literally jumped over the defender who was trying to draw a charge – amazing! I was surprised his NBA career was so short, but then again, he did transfer twice to end up at Cal. Go Bears!

  • Uh Huh!

    To be honest, too many years have passed since I was only partially watching Cal from the east coast in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Thus, I cannot well enough recall guys from that era. Guys like Kevin Johnson and Dave Butler…. I was in high school. Monty Buckley, Leonard Taylor, Brian Hendrick… I remember rooting for them and that I liked them all a lot, but simply too many years have passed, and I was too young a viewer for the guys older than me to have a clear memory.

    So, limiting to more recently, I thought Lamond Murray was pretty much the bomb. He could hit jumpers, or glide to the rim. Smooth. Great talent! Also really liked Ryan Anderson – dude comes in as an under the radar recruit b/c he is only 6’8″, white and doesn’t attend the recruiting circuit, but is a great rebounder, always puts the right spin on the ball to get those tough layups (and 1) to go, and then could nail long bombs. Only 2 years remember! And Joe Shipp was a great outside shooter who could also drive, take some contact, dunk, and hit body leaners.

    What would be really helpful would be to see a list of all the players, year by year so the grey matter would flow better. But those guys stand out right now for whatever reason.

  • Esquire Joe

    Interesting that Sean Lampley isn’t getting more love. I have a feeling that, if you asked the same question of Stanford fans, you’d get a lot of Adam Keefes and Todd Lichtis.

    It seems that the Cal favorites aren’t necessarily the guys who poured in the points and had steady careers. Rather, they’re the ones who made a mark with their perseverance and character. Although I’m on record as having Leon Powe at number 1, I’m glad others have thrown out the likes of Dennis Gates and Richard Midgley.

    BTW, Juancho, I have to take you to task for deriding MSF. That was one guy who never failed for lack of trying. He spent his upper class years at Cal struggling against a body that was better suited to football than basketball and frequently breaking down as a result of the extraordinary effort he put out.

    He deserves much better than to be on someone’s “least favorite” list. Especially someone usually knowledgeable such as you.

  • pasadena dave

    Nick Vander Laan. Jk. Someone mentioned how they’re drawn to players that played while they were in school. I feel the same way. Sean Lampley who I believe was one of Braun’s first recruits is one of my favorite players. Shahar Gordon was a really nice dude that left early for military duties in Israel.

  • AKBear

    My two favorite would be Jason Kidd and Jorge because of their unselfish play. If we were able to play footage of all Cal players for Naismith and ask him to hold up the two players that epitomize how basketball was meant to be played, I think he would pick these two players from the long list of all-timers from Cal, and that’s good enough for me.

    Jason Kidd was fun to watch. He saw things on the court that the casual fan did not see until after the play happened. The first time that Kidd did the “inbound the ball off the opposing player’s back” play, we were all left speechless. I remember myself saying, “no, he didn’t; did he just do what I thought he did.” It was pure delight.

    Jorge plays every game as if it were his last. Win or lose; good game or lousy game, we all know that there is no one else on the court who gives more to the game or cares more about the play than Jorge. He is that unassuming player with his long hair and unorthodox cadence to the game that all Bears fans have come to admire. It’s hard to imagine that we will see another player like him. He is that player like Andy Dufresne (of Shawshank Redemption) who we will all be talking about long after he has left Cal. He is not only Harper’s celebrity crush, but all of ours.

  • LongtimeBlue&Gold

    A name that hasn’t come up yet, but was unselfish, hardworking, and absolutely pure excitement: Gene Ransom. Hometown player (King Jr. High, Berkeley High), and so fun to watch that he made it worth attending games during the mediocrity of the Edwards/Kuchen years.

  • ThisisCal

    KJ

  • JimBob

    Richard “Dick” Midgley.

    Great name.

  • covinared

    Doug True.

  • covinared

    Mark McNamara

  • covinared

    Michael Chavez

  • Tylurker

    Tony Gonzales. He was a beast on the football field and the glass. Dude could jump out of the gym. I got to know Tony playing open gym and eventually hanging out with friends. Tony has it all: intelligence, handsome, humble.

  • Mitchie V

    Oooh, tough. The criteria was a little vague:

    - Favorite to watch: Jerome Randle

    - Favorite to love: Jorge Gutierrez

  • Crawford

    Leon Powe

  • bigdruid

    Jorge would have to be a close second, behind Jason Kidd. Not sure if people have forgotten Jason’s style of play, but he played every bit as hard as Jorge does – that guy had a motor. How many other lottery picks routinely flew out of bounds chasing loose balls? But in terms of making the most of his potential, Jorge is #1 for me.

    When I play league games, I’ve always worn #4 in honor of Al Grigsby, but I think Leon Powe might actually be a better example of fighting through adversity.

    And, yeah, people don’t show Sean Lampley enough love. Seemed to have more fun playing basketball as a freshman than he did as a senior, though, which always puzzled me.

  • Kasaja

    I will be blown away if we ever have two players as talented, that delivered, on the floor at the same time as Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. How can any Bear basketball fan ever forget those two breaking our losing streak at UCLA by blowing them off the court and then getting us to the sweet 16 by taking out the legendary Duke program in the NCAA Tournament. Nobody will ever match what those two accomplished in two short years. It is not their fault that some might judge them because they played for Bozeman but remember they started with Sweet Lou who had no clue how to get out of the way and let Kidd go. And for somebody to judge Jason for getting rid of his wracked out first wife regardless of what went down or not is just crazy. Wouldn’t it be great if more northern California stud like Kidd stayed put and played for Cal!

  • Yoda

    Jorge. Four years, and has never taken a game off in effort or intensity. Never lost to Stanford at home. Has a shot at winning two conference championships. Dives into the crowd and then fixes his hair. Nicest guy, but mess with him and he’ll try to rip your throat out.

    Powe is second, persevering through injuries and working hard while stuck with a mediocre coach, but he wasn’t around four years so he can’t win.

    Kidd, played remarkably hard and at the highest level of any Cal player I’ve seen, but only for two years.

    Guys I also loved, in no particular order, were Randle, Lampley, Wethers and Shipp (a pair in my mind), Grigsby, Duck, Hendrick, KJ, Ryan Anderson, Gene Ransom, Ryan Forehan-Kelly, Theo Robertson.

  • inkbowl02

    Oh yes, Sean Lampley was also the man… bonus points for being courtside at so many games the last couple of seasons.