Football: Are Lynch, Mebane, Rodgers stiffing Cal during NFL pregame intros?

Where is the love for Cal from alums being introduced before their NFL games on Sunday?

Why does Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch identify himself as being from Oakland Ice City when many others provide their college alma mater?

Or defensive tackle Brandon Mebane of the Seahawks, who cites Crenshaw High School?

Is it personal when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announces his school at Butte College?

Why do none of them acknowledge attending Cal?

For Lynch and Mebane, there are no hidden agendas, according to Kevin Parker, who is director of player development for Cal and an on the board of directors for Lynch’s 1st Fam Foundation, which serves inner-city youth.

“His motivation is inspiring the kids in Oakland. That’s why he always says Oakland. He wants the kids to understand you can come from Oakland and still make it,” Parker said. Continue Reading


Football: Chris Harper lands spot with Patriots


While his former teammates were piling up 73 points on Saturday, ex-Cal wide receiver Chris Harper made news on the far coast.

An undrafted free agent, Harper survived the final cut to make the 53-man roster of the New England Patriots.

“Happiest man in the world. Extremely blessed,” Harper tweeted.

The Boston Globe said Harper “unofficially led the Patriots in highlight plays throughout the summer.”

Cal coach Sonny Dykes on Sunday talked about how proud he is of Harper.

“I think probably when he started camp he might have been considered by some people a longshot to make the team,” Dykes said. “I’m really happy for him, proud of him. I think he’ll do well.

“That the hard thing about the NFL – right place, right time is very important. When you’re in the right place at the right time, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunity. Looks like Chris did that.”

Harper was the team’s leading receiver in preseason play, catching 15 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. He also averaged 23.8 yards on kickoff returns.

“I think Chris has had a good year for us from the spring through training camp,” coach Bill Belichick told reporters. “He’s been productive as a receiver and in the return game. He did all the things we asked him to do and he did them pretty well.”

Harper earned a spot on the roster after New England cut veteran wideout Reggie Wayne.

Harper finished his three-year Cal career with 159 receptions for 1,969 yards and 13 touchdowns. But his decision to enter the NFL draft last spring was met with some raised eyebrows because the 5-foot-11 native of Northridge was not projected to drafted.


Basketball: Ex-Bear Theo Robertson hopes to complete championship education as Warriors’ video intern

Five years ago, Theo Robertson was part of Cal’s first conference basketball title in 50 years ago.

In a couple weeks, he hopes to share in the Warriors’ first NBA crown in 40 seasons.

“It’s been amazing,” said Robertson, who serves as a video intern for the Warriors. “To be at this level is a dream come true. And to have a part in what we’re doing here has been just a phenomenal experience, one that I couldn’t have imagined.

“Hopefully, we can continue this thing and really do something special here the next couple weeks.”

Robertson, 28, is a Bay Area native, so you can imagine his excitement as the NBA Finals approach. He played at De La Salle High, then averaged 14.2 points as a senior in 2010 when Cal ended a championship drought that extended back to coach Pete Newell in 1960.

He landed an administrative fellowship with the Pac-12 office after graduation, and thought he was on track to someday becoming an athletic director or conference commissioner.

Then Robertson returned to Cal to work two seasons as then-coach Mike Montgomery’s director of basketball operations, and he was hooked. He quickly knew coaching was his calling. “This is something I’m fully committed to,” he said.

His job with Golden State involves splicing together videotape of opposing teams so the coaching staff can prep for each game. It’s long hours – spent working at the Warriors’ facility and at home – but Robertson believes it’s the perfect introduction to the pro game.

“It’s really a job I wanted to do coming into the league,” he said. “I think it’s the best way to get an understanding of the NBA game and coaches’ philosophies.”

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Basketball: How may Bears had NBA’s best numbers?

The sports apparel company Mitchell & Ness, on behalf of ESPN.com, has compiled a list of the best NBA players to wear each uniform number.

For instance, Oscar Robertson was named the top player to wear No. 1 (and No. 14), Bill Russell won at No. 6 (over LeBron Jones) and Pete Maravich was tabbed for No. 7.

How many former Cal players made the list?

Exactly one.

Jason Kidd, right?

Nope. Kidd wore No. 2 (Moses Malone), No. 5 (Kevin Garnett) and No. 32 (Magic Johnson). He certainly wasn’t going to beat out Magic, but you could make an argument he was just as deserving at Garnett.

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Basketball: Ex-Cal guard Jarod Haase, UAB to face UCLA 22 years after his first experience against the Bruins

For Alabama-Birmingham coach Jarod Haase, Saturday’s NCAA tournament game against UCLA will be framed by an entirely different set of circumstances than the first time he faced the Bruins.

At stake for Haase and the 14th-seeded Blazers is a spot in next week’s Sweet 16. For a school that dropped its football program in December, the opportunity is a joyous occasion.

In 1993, when he and Jason Kidd formed an all-freshman backcourt at Cal, Haase took on the Bruins with a somber heart.

His father, Gary Haase, a 55-year-old Cal grad, had died unexpectedly the day before of causes stemming from an infection in his spleen after being checked into a hospital with an ankle infection.

Then-Cal coach Lou Campanelli gave Haase the option of returning to his family home in South Lake Tahoe rather than remain with the team in Los Angeles. He stayed, explaining that his father would have wanted it that way.

Haase and the Bears responded with a spectacular performance, routing the Bruins 104-82. It was UCLA’s worst loss at Pauley Pavilion since its opening 27 years before, and prompted legendary Bruins coach John Wooden – who attended the game – to say, “I never thought we’d be behind by this margin at home to anybody.”

Haase played 30 minutes and contributed 16 points and five assists to Cal’s most one-sided win over UCLA since 1923. Afterward, he allowed himself a quick smile as he left the court.

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Football: Marshawn Lynch re-signs with Seahawks

Former Cal star Marshawn Lynch is not retiring, after all.

Nor will the Oakland native close out his career with the Raiders.

Lynch signed a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks through 2017. He will earn $12 million in 2015 — a raise from the $7 million he was due on his previous contract.

Here’s the story from ESPN. Here’s a report from the Seattle Times, along with a photo slideshow of 25 moments with Lynch in 2014.



Basketball: Ex-Cal great KJ a Hall of Fame nominee

Former Cal star Kevin Johnson, a two-time all-Pac-10 selection and three-time NBA all-star, has been nominated to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

KJ, who played at Cal from 1984 through ’87, joins Kentucky coach John Calipari and former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo among 12 nominees for the Hall of Fame. The Class of 2015 will be announced April 6.

“You look up there at some of the players and you don’t deserve to be in that category,” Johnson said. “These are people who, I had their pictures on my walls growing up. Having a chance to stand with them is remarkable.”

One of the most popular players in Cal history, Johnson finished his college career as the Bears’ career scoring leader. He currently sits sixth on the school’s all-time list with 1,655 points to go with 521 assists

A 12-year NBA veteran and the current mayor of Sacramento, the 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 17.9 points and 9.1 assists as a pro. He averaged better than 20 points in five seasons and four times averaged double-digit assists.


Basketball: Bucks sign Gutierrez to 2nd 10-day deal

Former Cal star Jorge Gutierrez signed a second 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Gutierrez signed with the Bucks on Jan. 28 after point guard Kendall Marshall suffered a season-ending knee injury. Gutierrez, the former Pac-12 Player of the Year, averaged 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 14.8 minutes over four games.

He tied a career high with 13 points in the Bucks’ 117-113 loss in Houston last Friday and also started for Milwaukee in a victory in Toronto on Feb. 2.

“He did everything we’ve asked, on and off the court,” fellow Cal alum and coach Jason Kidd said.


Football: Aaron Rodgers is NFL’s MVP again

Former Cal star Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press for the second in four seasons.

Rodgers completed 341-of-520 passes (65.6%) for 4,381 yards with 38 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2014 for a 112.2 quarterback rating that was second-best in the NFL and the second-best of his 10-year NFL career. He led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.

Previously, Rodgers also was named first-team All-Pro and was chosen to the Pro Bowl.