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Football: From free agent to Pro Bowl pick

Former Cal running back C.J. Anderson, a second-year, former free agent signee with the Denver Broncos, has been selected as a replacement for Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell in the Pro Bowl.

“It’s a chance to showcase my talent against the best and show I belong,” Anderson said.

Undrafted after his senior season at Cal in 2012, Anderson signed with the Broncos but hardly played in 2013. He got his chance this fall and responded by rushing for 849 yards and eight touchdown in barely half a season.

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Football: Cal makes O-line coaching hiring official

Cal coach Sonny Dykes announced Monday that Brandon Jones has been hired as the Golden Bears’ run game coordinator and offensive line coach. We first reported the news Friday.

“We are hiring someone in Brandon Jones that has all the qualities we’re looking for,” Dykes said in a statement. “Brandon shares in our philosophy of recruiting and developing the entire student-athlete to ensure success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“Brandon is a quality individual as well as an effective coach and recruiter that our players will learn from and enjoy playing for.”

Jones spent the past five seasons as the offensive line coach at East Carolina. He has been a member of six bowl staffs during the first eight seasons of his coaching career, including four of his five campaigns at East Carolina, where he coached seven all-conference players.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Cal coaching staff,” Jones said. “A lot of what Cal does on offense is similar to what I’m accustomed to, and I’m looking forward to our offensive line putting a good product on the field.

“I’m also excited about what being a student-athlete at Cal represents off the field because I know how important it is for college football players to receive a strong education. I’m ready to get to work by finishing up this recruiting class and signing the next group of Golden Bears.”

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Athletics: Five power conferences overwhelmingly approve NCAA autonomy, including stipends for athletes

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby called it “a big day for student-athletes.”

A panel of 15 student-athletes and representatives from the 65 schools in the five football power conferences voted 79-1 on Saturday to give those five leagues autonomy from the remainder of the NCAA. The legislation included a full cost-of-attendance measure added to athletes’ scholarships.

“The benefits now available to student-athletes are more significant,” said Bowlsby, the former Stanford athletic director, from Saturday’s NCAA convention near Washington D.C. “This is a big step forward and a response to a changing circumstance for the 21st century athlete.”

Cal interim athletic director Michael Williams called the changes “a huge milestone” for the schools involved and college sports in general.

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Football: East Carolina aide hired as O-line coach

Cal’s new offensive line coach interviewed for the position on Wednesday, was promoted at his old Thursday and hired by the Golden Bears on Friday.

“It’s been crazy, kind of a whirlwind,” said Brandon Jones, who comes to Cal after five seasons as offensive line coach at East Carolina. For one day he also was the Pirates’ run-game coordinator.

On Sunday, he will visit the campus in Berkeley for the first time.

“I’m happy to be part of the Cal program,” said Jones, 31, whose hiring was not immediately announced by Cal. Jones replaces Zach Yenser, hired last week by Kansas.

Jones’ connection to Bears coach Sonny Dykes traces back to their time together at Texas Tech. Dykes was the Red Raiders’ receivers coach through 2006, when Jones was a senior center and Rimington Award finalist.

Both Texas Tech, coached in those days by Mike Leach, and East Carolina in recent seasons operated fast-tempo offenses not unlike what Jones will see at Cal.

“It’s extremely similar,” said Jones, who coached three first- or second-team all-American Athletic Conference offensive lineman last fall on a team that was 8-5, averaged 35.8 points and piled up nearly 7,000 yards of offense.

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Basketball: Bears see progress in defeat

It was another defeat, sure.

But Cal’s players viewed their 69-59 loss to Stanford as progress.

The Bears played hard, they played with passion, they played together.

The were up 31-26 at halftime against a more experienced team, and trailed just 53-51 late in the game. Stanford’s seniors took over late and the Bears couldn’t answer back.

The aggressive start was the key, according to forward David Kravish.

“It’s something we haven’t done in a while. We got really juiced for this game,” he said. “We had been coming out really slow. One of our focuses is we had to come out with that fire and passion from the very beginning. We did that.

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Football: Ex-Vikings aide interviews for O-line job

UPDATE: A source with knowledge of Cal football tells me that Ryan Silverfield will not become the Bears’ next offensive line coach.

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Former Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield, 34, has interviewed with Cal for its vacant O-line position, according to the website coachingsearch.com.

Silverfield,a native of Jacksonville, Fla., worked with the Vikings in various capacities from 2008 through 2013. He served as assistant offensive line coach in 2008 and again from 2011-13.

Silverfield also has experience coaching at the University of Central Florida, at Jacksonville University and at Hampden-Sydney College.

He is a 2003 graduate of Hampden-Sydney, where he earned a degree in economics.

As a player at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., Silverfield helped his team to a pair of Florida high school championships.

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Basketball: Cal-Stanford game thread

FINAL SCORE: Stanford 69, Cal 59. Cal delivered one of its most inspired efforts in weeks, but ultimately had no answer for Stanford’s clutch seniors.

Chasson Randle scored 25 points and Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic combined for 33 more as the Cardinal maintained its hold on second place in the Pac-12 Conference with a 69-59 victory before an announced crowd of 8,819 at Haas Pavilion.

Brown had 18 points and nine rebounds and Nastic contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, and the three seniors scored 27 of the Cardinal’s final 32 points. Stanford (12-4, 4-1) won for the sixth time in seven games.

Tyrone Wallace had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Bears (11-7, 1-4), but shot just 6 for 22. Cal, which led 31-26 at halftime, lost for the sixth time in seven games after shooting 35.5 percent for the game.

10:29 2nd H: Stanford 47, Cal 43. Dwight Tarwater answered a 3-pointer by Brown with one of his own — the senior transfer making a difference with 8 points and 8 rebounds. But Randle came back with another 3-pointer — this one from about 23 feet. Randle has 19 points.

15:53 2nd H: Stanford 37, Cal 37. Stanford much more aggressive to start the second half — a reversal since the first half. Rebounds are 5-1 for Stanford so far. Brown shoot 2 FTs after the timeout.

HALFTIME: Cal 31, Stanford 26. Bird scored eight points and Wallace had six points, five rebounds and three assists before sitting down with two fouls. Cal shot 38.7 percent in the half, Stanford 41.7. Cal with a 22-14 rebounding edge.

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Basketball: Sean Lampley named to Hall of Honor

Sean Lampley, who retired as Cal’s career scoring leader, has been chosen for induction into the Pac-12 Conference Hall of Honor.

One representative from each conference school will be recognized during ceremonies prior to the Pac-12 tournament championship game on March 14 in Las Vegas.

Lampley, the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2001, finished his career with 1,776 points, a school record since eclipsed by Jerome Randle. Upon his departure from Cal, Lampley was the only player in school history ranked among the program’s top-10 in scoring, rebounding and assists.

He averaged 19.5 points as a senior and two years earlier was named MVP after Cal’s run to the postseason NIT title.

Others selected to the Hall of Honor were former Arizona coach Fred Snowden and players Ron Riley of Arizona State, Jim Davis of Colorado, Anthony Taylor of Oregon, Jim Jarvis of Oregon State, Dave Meyers of UCLA, Alex Hannum of USC, Casey Jacobsen of Stanford, Danny Cranes of Utah, Jon Brockman of Washington and Bennie Seltzer of Washington State.

Past Hall of Honor selections from Cal include Pete Newell, Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Darrall Imhoff and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

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Basketball: Bird says he’s ready to provide a spark

Declaring that he is “feeling great” after missing 10 games with a foot injury then suffering cramps in his return at UCLA, Cal guard Jabari Bird he hopes to provide his slumping team with a spark against rival Stanford on Wednesday night.

The Bears (11-6, 1-3 Pac-12) have lost five of their past six games, and even leading scorer Tyrone Wallace is being hemmed in by defenses determined not to let him beat them.

“I’ve got to knock down shots, keep the defense honest, help Tyrone out by doing that. I’ve got to play defense, rebound the ball,” Bird said. “Just provide some energy off the bench, be a spark.”

Coach Cuonzo Martin doesn’t want Bird to put too much pressure on himself against the Cardinal (11-4, 3-1), which has won five of six.

“Just play. When you’re thinking, it consumes you and you’re not as effective as you need to be,” Martin said. “You’ve got to play the game.”

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Basketball: As they prepare to clash Wednesday, why Cal and Stanford are headed in opposite directions

Stanford and Cal, which meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion, are headed in opposite directions two weeks into the Pac-12 schedule.

The Cardinal (11-4), which got a split in Los Angeles last weekend, sits alone in second place in the Pac-12 standings at 3-1. Stanford has won five of six.

The Bears (11-6), swept by USC and UCLA, have sunk to a tie for ninth in the conference at 1-3. Cal has lost five of six.

A look at how they compare in four areas helps explain their current trajectories:

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