Basketball: The Day after The Shove

Catching up one day after Mike Montgomery made the wrong kind of news with his angry shove of star guard Allen Crabbe during Cal’s 76-68 come-from-behind victory over USC:

— The Pac-12 Conference office issued Montgomery an official reprimand Monday for his actions. Click here for commissioner Larry Scott’s statement.

— Montgomery admits making “a mistake” in this video interview with the Pac-12 Networks. Monty said it won’t happen again, adding, “A bad choice of motivational techniques by me.”

— Crabbe was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second straight week after his performances against UCLA and USC. Crabbe averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists over the two games.

— BANG columnist Tim Kawakami suggests that Montgomery may owe Crabbe his job.

— BANG columnist Monte Poole weighs in, calling Montgomery’s action “shameful.”

— Former coach and ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg accepts that Montgomery is remorseful for the incident.

— The Bears’ win over USC, on the heels of victories over Oregon, Arizona and UCLA over the past three weeks, elevated Cal to No. 53 in the latest RPI computer rankings. As recently as a week ago Saturday, on the eve of the Arizona game, Cal was at No. 75.

— The Pac-12 level no further punishment on Oregon center Tony Woods, who was called for a “flagrant 2” foul Saturday vs. Washington State. So Woods will play Thursday vs. Cal.

— No official word from Ducks coach Dana Altman on the status of one-time Salesian HS star and UO freshman point guard Dominic Artis, who has missed seven straight games with a foot injury. But Oregon senior E.J. Singler was quoted in the Spokane Spokesman-Review saying Artis has a stress fracture and likely would miss another week or two. So, he seems unlikely to face the Bears.



Jeff Faraudo

  • joey

    Why doesn’t crappy Pac 10 officiating get one quarter this much attention?

  • BlueNGold

    Yahoo sports has an article about the incident and the comments following are almost entirely pro Monty. I won’t say what he did was great judgment, and I understand why some people are upset. But in the world college and other non professional (nod, wink, nod) sports, I don’t think its the worst thing that has ever happened. I also expect Monty to keep much better control in the future, which is a factor in my less than outraged attitude about the matter.

  • Older Blue

    Obviously, Monty had tried his best to get Crabbe to wake up and was at the end of his rope. His career is in the hands of a sleep-walker!
    Crabbe is so un-motivated, so often, I gave up going to games and even to listening to most. He’s a head-case, and needed waking up. Of course Monty shouldn’t touch his players, but we all make mistakes, and I’m convinced Monty has Crabbe’s best interests at heart. Monty’s trying to teach this kid how to care, how to be responsible.

  • wehofx

    I have only read Kawakami a few times over the past few years so I don’t have an opinion of him as a columnist.

    imo his column was fine – hitting many of the points made on the previous threads – until the last third. Then, if, if, if, if, speculation. Yeah, well none of that IF sh*t happened.

    The scenario played out exactly like Monty intended.

    poole is a perfect example of the PC police and its wimpy sanctimonious self righteousness.

    In Monty I trust. Go Bears!

  • BlakeStreetBear

    A bad choice by Monty would have turned disastrous had Cal not come back and won. But in the end, Crabbe, the “victim”, just saw his draft stock tic up another spot or two. Crabbe owes Monty an apology for how he was playing defense early in the game. Then Crabbe owes Monty a thanks for snapping him outta his funk late in the game. Sports are weird.

    Go Bears!

  • bigdruid

    I’m not going to come down hard on Monty for a momentary lapse, but I will say this: Crabbe is a class act and handled the situation about as well as could have been hoped.

    I’ll also say that an ongoing problem for this team is that the *coach* has to get in the face of the team’s best player to get him to play hard. You’d really like to have leadership on the team itself (Cobbs, for example) to do that.

  • Jimbo

    Very impressed with Cobbs.

  • rollonubears

    I still can’t believe that comeback. After the shove, Crabbe actually didn’t play well at all, initially, turning the ball over and missing 3 or 4 straight shots. It wasn’t until there were about 10 minutes left, that he started to catch fire. The crowd was a big factor, late as well. I think the team had a big letdown since the football team can’t be there for every game. The stadium didn’t sound packed while watching it on TV. It needs to be, if we are to win our last 3 at home. We have to win all three, unless we sweep the oregon schools. Even still, we’d need to win 2. I really don’t like the idea of a play-in game, again.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    It’s funny that the Pac 12 didn’t suspend Monty for a game, and yet tools like Poole think the “shove” is not worth really analyzing to see how minimal it was.

    How the pundits don’t see a substantial difference between a pop to the chest with “Are you going to play?” and a Knight-type actual shove with “What the F— are you doing!” speaks volumes. Anything they can make noise about will preclude objectivity from their opinions.

    It’s just sad. I actually think Monty did cross the line. Yet, it’s pretty obvious he was J-Walking, not driving drunk.

  • joey

    Larry Scott is a douche bag.

  • MDbear

    There are two key facts here: 1) Monty made a mistake but it was not a huge mistake. 2) Monty has coached for more than 30 years and never had an incident like this before. Enough said.

  • Gobears49


    In response to your comment, Haas was not packed but was about 7/8ths full, but was still very loud. For the UCLA game, the place was about 3/4 full and only about one-third full when the game started at 6 p.m., not getting its full attendance for the game till about halftime.

    We also play at 6 p.m. against Utah, where I suspect we will also get a bunch of latecomers who are will at the game from work. I think someone in the athletic department needs to check to see if Cal received an inordinate amount of 6 p.m. Pac-12 games this year, because if we did, that is not fair. That dilutes the home court advantage, which is important.

    Regarding the shove incident, my views on it have changed a bit. It’s hard to distinguish between a “mean shove” and a “wake up shove” and everything in between. So I think a simple “no touching” rule makes sense, as it provides an easily understood bright line rule, with perhaps an exception of a single finger on the chest being allowed, but even then that simple exception raises all sort of subjectivity, as people will start to distinguish between a soft finger touch and a hard one.

    I do think that punishment for a shove should be minimal if there are mitigating circumstances, which include no prior behavior like that which was noticed (that would exclude prior incidents that some people said Monty was involved with that involved touching, since they will be difficult to prove), what the player thought about it (though what player wants to get in trouble with his coach in the future and call him out on it). That minimal punishment (essentially a reprimand) was done here, which I stated at the outset was all I thought was appropriate.

  • ConcordBear

    Have guys like Poole and Kawa even been to a Cal game or two this year or watched the team?
    Why is it that their first college basketball piece this season is on this?
    They have no idea the team dynamics or anything about how this year has evolved.
    Yes the wake up push is news worthy but I think even more news worthy is the reasons behind it.
    Golden Bears were a team going no where a few weeks ago. They are now still on the bubble but in position to make an NCAA tournament run. What’s the reason for that?
    Problem is this team, even though we have very little depth blew at least 3 games due to sleep walking through games. We have those and they are a sure tournament team barring collapse down stretch.
    Crabbe has tools that are nba worthy and Cobbs had some skills that should make him unstoppable in certain phases of the game. They have played great the past 3 weeks. But why the blown gimme games, why the sleep walking through stretches of important games?
    It is hard to play so many minutes and also consistently perform. But the opportunity is a blessing for guys with talent like Crabbe has.
    Monty saw the season slipping away and everyone pulled together to move themselves back into the conversation.
    It’s still a process and any more lapses and NCAA dreams will be shot. Players and coaches have done a great job mostly playing hard and fighting with passion to win these critical games.
    To me that is the story and why do the players need so much motivation to get them to compete. Who are the leaders of this team?
    If they complete the turnaround and make the ncaas Crabbe will surely have led us there.
    Rooting for him and his team, lead us their Allen!
    And local media, if you cover the story, understand it and cover the entire deal. Leave sensational drive by media to national hacks.

  • bearable

    Crabbe should thank Coach for having him become player of the week, 2 weeks in a row. 🙂

    hey, I’m just sayin’

  • joey

    Well said Concord.

  • Gobears49

    I think Monty realized, mid-season, his team was not playing up to potential and needed to up his coaching game. In part, he did that by making several statements about his team lacking heart, which were very unusual for him. Eventually, after several of those comments, the team started to play with a lot of heart. That started about three weeks ago. I wouldn’t put it past Monty to have his shove of Crabbe planned, in the back of his mind, to get him going.

    My biggest concern is not lack of heart or lack of talent but lack of sufficient players that get decent playing time. We could get worn down this year like we did at the end of last season. I really hope that doesn’t happen. I have been become a real fan of this team and have started to go to every game, which I will the rest of the season.

    BTW, for those who go to the games and watch the warmups, watch Frid warm up (the tallest guy on the team). I think his warmups show he has very good potential as a basketball player, though the real test for him is, of course, how he performs in a game. He is my surprise player for Cal next year.

  • discdude

    Good post Concord. Guys like Poole and Kawa only want to comment on things “around” sports (check out Jemele Hill on ESPN…). They don’t have a good feel for dynamics.

    That being said, I would have preferred not to see it. But Monty knows this already, he’s apologized, Crabbe seemingly is ok, and we’ll all move on. I guess answers are coming this week in Oregon.

    BTW, did anyone notice that the biggest game this week, between the conference leader (Oregon) and the best team of the last 3 weeks (Cal), is on ESPNU?!? This “new” contract is bs, as far as I know, that station is barely available and although I get it, it’s not HD. Ridiculous. Larry, you have some serious tv contract work to do.

  • covinared

    I don’t even think what the coach did even amounts to a shove. All involved, including Crabbe, overreacted. Glad to see the team come back, and am encouraged by the way they are playing.

  • Gobears49

    It wasn’t a big one but it was clearly a shove. Can’t see what else you could call it.

    This point may have been made, but if Crabbe had done the same thing to Monty, I think he’d end up in a heckuva lot more trouble than Monty did, most likely resulting in a one game suspension. If true, that would show a double standard, to some extent. Monty sort of lucked out because of his longstanding good behavior as a coach. A player couldn’t point to the same extended good track record.

  • Gobears49

    Maybe Crabbe would not likely get a one game suspension for a shove of a coach, but it would be more likely to occur than it would for Monty.

  • covinared

    49: does not a shove assume some type of motion in the direction of the force by the recipient?

  • covinared

    gobears49: saw it again. by my defintion it was a shove, but more of a chest pop.

  • southseasbear

    If he had shoved Monty, Crabbe’s draft stock would have plummeted; instead, the way it turned out, it rose. By waking up from his somnambulatory play and finishing strong, Crabbe has become a legitimate contender for the NBA draft – something that may not have occurred had Montgomery not reacted so dramatically.

  • Gobears49


    Good point. And welcome to Jeff’s blog, as I don’t think I’ve seen your handle before. Our group is pretty active for basketball, but football seems to be our true love (sometimes over 150 posts). The more the merrier, as long as you can handle some people occasionally disagreeing with you, which could include me.

  • Gobears49


    Never heard of a chest pop, but that is a good description for what happened. However, I believe a chest pop should be classified as a subset of, or within the same overall description of, a more general term, a shove. My main point is you can’t have a rule that a “chest pop” is allowable but a “shove” is not. They are so close to being the same thing, and would be classified as the same thing by most people, that you cannot legally distinguish one from the other. And from the recipient’s standpoint, even if they can be distinguished, both are likely to be viewed as just as offensive.

  • covinared

    Gobears49: you are right. I guess I am from a different era when coaches could use a little physical force to motivate. I guess the Bobby Knight throat grab ruined it for everyone.

  • Gobears49

    Covinared, I agree with you and wish we were back in that era, as I think an occasional shove can be helpful to everyone involved. But times have changed and we have to respect that. Most people, or at least a very large percentage of them, think any shove is too invasive. It’s just too difficult to make distinctions based upon what is an acceptable shove and what is not one, so what we are left with is, perhaps unfortunately, a “no shove” rule.

  • BlueNGold

    The days of coaches putting physical contact on players, regardless of how mild or well intentioned, are over. Some may think this is appropriate; some may hate it. But it is reality, so better get used to it. I do not necessarily agree that every incident justifies the uproar that has ensued following MM’s shove. But you have to know what the likely response to doing it will be. In most cases, the fallout and negative publicity is going to far outweigh whatever benefits or positive results might be claimed.