Basketball: Cobbs taking on teacher role

* 3 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion (Pac-12 Networks)

For Cal senior point guard Justin Cobbs, the job doesn’t end with scoring (14.0 points per game) and dishing assists (6.6).

Cobbs also must help nurture his five freshmen teammates so that the Bears get the best from them.

His simple message: “Confidence. Just confidence, confidence, confidence. It’s all about building these guys up. It’s okay to make mistakes, but we just have to bounce back.”

The Bears (7-3) bounced back from a loss at UC Santa Barbara a week ago Friday to beat Nevada 92-84 on Tuesday.

On Saturday afternoon, they hope to stay unbeaten at Haas Pavilion when they face Fresno State (6-4).

Jordan Mathews, who replaced fellow freshman Jabari Bird in the starting lineup against Nevada, is averaging 17.5 points the past two games.

“Justin’s taught all the freshmen that you can’t really dwell on plays, because the game’s coming at you so fast,” Mathews said. “In high school it was like `Ah, I messed up, but I can get it back.’ But here your memory has to be really short.

“He’s taught us by example that your confidence almost has to border on cockiness because the guy you’re playing is just as confident in his abilities as you are in yours. So we’re just learning from the older guys every day. If they have anything to say to us, we learn.”

Bird remains the team’s third-leading scorer at 12.6 points after scoring 16 points off the bench Tuesday. Mathews is at 8.3 points per game and adjusting to greater expectations in college.

“Jordan is a coach’s son,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said, referring to Phil Mathews, the former USF head coach and UCLA assistant. “He takes criticism. His dad has probably told him a thing or two that would peel paint off the wall.

“He’s a tough guy and he wants to learn, so he asks questions. Justin likes people to come to him.”

Montgomery said Cobbs, who has handed out at least six assists in eight of Cal’s 10 games, needs to make special deliveries at this point to the freshmen.

“Jordan and Jabari are two of our better shooters but he’s got to give them the ball where they can be effective,” Montgomery said. “He understands that.”


Three of Fresno State’s six victories have come in overtime. One of the others was at the expense of San Diego Christian, an NAIA school.

The Bulldogs are led by sophomore guard Marvelle Harris, averaging 18.4 points. Among his four 20-point performance was a 30-point effort in the season-opener vs. UC Irvine.

Sophomore point guard Cezar Guerrero, a first-year team member, has scored at least 10 points in all 10 games. Freshman forward Paul Watson had 20 points in a loss to Utah.

Guard Tyler Johnson, a senior from Mountain View, averaged 14.3 points through the Bulldogs’ first six games, including 25 vs. Pacific. But Johnson has missed the past four games with a leg injury.


Cal’s 92 points against the Wolfpack were the most it’s scored since a 107-105 triple-overtime loss vs. Arizona on Feb. 5, 2011. The Bears hadn’t scored more in a regulation game since a 95-70 win over Arizona on Feb. 25, 2010, the year they won the Pac-10 title.


Junior forward David Kravish, averaging 13 points and 8.4 rebounds for the season, is scoring at a 15.5 clip the past six games after notching 16 on 8-for-9 shooting against Nevada.

Jeff Faraudo

  • unbearable

    As a senior, Cobbs needs to take over games, and will his team to victory. He gets frustrated, and kind of tentative, especially with zone defenses. He should always be in attack mode, drive to the basket. You either end up with a high percentage shot, an assist, or a defensive foul. C’mon Bears!

  • Kevin

    Come on. That is not true in the real world. If Cobbs is “always in the attack mode, driving to the basket”, there are more things that can happen in addition to ending up “with a high percentage shot, and assist, or a defensive foul”. The other things that can happen are ending up with a low percentage shot and missing it, or worse, having it blocked, losing the ball on the dribble, having the pass for an assist intercepted, or committing an offensive foul. Cobbs will have to pick his spots on when and where to drive, like he always does. You saw what happened when Cobbs took over a game, against Dayton where he scored 31 points: We lost badly. We don’t have a single player on this team who can take over games against good teams and win them, including Cobbs.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Maybe that stanky football team of yours should listen to Cobbs.

    Oh but a 1-11 season having the worst defense in college football doesn’t somehow deserve a cocky attitude.


  • Picard

    Why are you so dull? Are you embarrassed?

  • Dan

    MoreNumbnuts- really, you should stay away from anything basketball related. The Toejam$ are barely a program, and your Sad Sac State or Davis CC programs are not even that.

    You’re a bigger embarrassment than either of those programs or any 1-11 football program. Tell me, have you EVER done in your life that is worthy of your faux cocky attitude? Even your own daddy is embarrassed by you. Just go away and hide like you do every time $C embarrasses itself.

    Can you say Sun Bowl 2012? The inaugural anniversary of the Trojan’$ finest moment is just weeks away. You know, the day when you have no one to be at midnight to ring in each new year with… Right? L O L back at you !!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Well we all know that Cobb’s bravado isn’t being applied in the classroom by the football and basketball players!

    Even a generous allotment to those Mickey Mouse programs like Social Welfare, Sociology, American Studies and Ethnic Studies isn’t helping.