Basketball: A familiar faces watches Brown and Bears in win over UC Santa Barbara

Freshman Jaylen Brown had a familiar face from home watching him at Haas Pavilion on Monday night. A familiar face for Cal fans, too.

Former Bears star Shareef Adbur-Rahim – who attended Brown’s high school in Marietta, Georgia – was courtside for No. 15 Cal’s 85-67 victory over UC Santa Barbara.

“He can be as good as he wants to be,” said Abdur-Rahim, who was Pac-10 Player of the Year as a freshman 20 years ago. “He has all the tools. He’s very talented, works hard. It’s up to him how good he wants to be.”

Brown, the 6-foot-7 forward, had 17 points and seven rebounds and senior Tyrone Wallace provided 24 points and six assists as the Bears (2-0) ran out to a 19-point halftime lead and never were threatened.

With Warriors forward Harrison Barnes also in the crowd, Jordan Mathews scored 17 points, freshman Ivan Rabb had 12 – including 10 for 10 from the free throw line – and Jabari Bird scored 10 as all five starters reached double digits for the second straight game.

Cal was lax to start the second half and UCSB crept within 56-44 with 14 minutes left. “I thought it was unacceptable,” Wallace said. “We came out a little flat and they were aggressive.”

It was no surprise to Abdur-Rahim.

“They’re good but it looks like they’re still figuring out how to play together,” said Abdur-Rahim, who averaged 18.1 points during a 13-year NBA career. “It’s still early in the year. I think they’ll probably be one of the most talented teams that Cal has had. It’s exciting.”

Abdur-Rahim, 38, often watched Brown at Wheeler High because his own youngest brother played on the team. He said fans shouldn’t be concerned that Brown at times has appeared to be pressing a bit.

“There’s a lot of expectations and he probably wants to do really well. That’ll happen,” Abdur-Rahim said.

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Athletics: Cal sweeps Pac-12 awards for football, basketball

A busy Monday on the awards front for Cal.

The Bears swept Pac-12 weekly awards in football and men’s and women’s basketball.

— Football: Jared Goff was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after passing for a season-high 453 yards and six touchdowns in the Bears’ 54-24 victory over Oregon State that gave the Bears a sixth victory and made them bowl eligible for the first time in four seasons. Goff was 26 of 37, and hit 22 of 25 attempts during one stretch.

— Men’s basketball: Tyrone Wallace was given the season’s first Pac-12 Player of the Week award following a 20-point, six-rebound, nine-assist stat line in Cal’s 97-65 season-opening win over Rice. Wallace, a senior point guard and all-Pac-12 selection, shot 9 for 12 from the field and his assist total was a career high. This was the fourth time over three seasons that Wallace has won the award.

— Women’s basketball: Courtney Range won the Pac-12 Player of the Week award after contributing 23 points to a win over Austin Peay, then 19 points and 13 rebounds to the Bears’ road win over then-No. 8 Louisville. Meanwhile, Kristine Anigwe won Pac-12 Freshman of the Week by averaging 15.0 points in the two victories.


Basketball: Cal faces UC Santa Barbara

Fourteenth-ranked Cal (1-0) returns to action Monday night against UC Santa Barbara (1-0) with a 7 p.m tipoff at Haas Pavilion. The game will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks.

The Bears are 10-1 all-time vs. the Gauchos of the Big West Conference, but the lone defeat came in the teams’ most recent meeting. UCSB beat Cal 72-65 two seasons ago.

Cal comes off a 97-65 rout of Rice in its opener Friday night. Senior point guard Tyrone Wallace had 20 points, six rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Freshmen Ivan Rabb (14 points, 13 rbounds, 5 blocks) and Jaylen Brown (14 points) successful college debuts.

The Gauchos are picked to finish second in the Big West a year after posting a 19-14 record. The team returns three double-digit starters: senior guard Michael Bryson (13.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg), sophomore guard Gabe Vincent (10.1 ppg) and senior forward John Green (11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

Green had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Vincent scored 16 points in UCSB’s season-opening 60-59 road win over Omaha. Bryson served a one-game suspension in the opener for playing in an non-sanctioned game during the summer. He is scheduled to play against Cal.


Basketball: How performances by Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown compare to other top freshmen debuts

Cal got 14 points apiece from its freshman duo of Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown on Friday night.

Here’s how the nation’s top freshmen performed in their debut games:

— Antonio Blakeney: LSU’s rookie guard had a big opening night with 22 points and 10 rebounds in an 81-70 win over McNeese State.

— Jaylen Brown: Cal’s talented small forward shot just 5 for 15 and struggled with fouls, but scored 14 points in the 97-65 win over Rice.

— Thomas Bryant: The Indiana center had 11 points and 9 rebounds in an 88-49 win over Eastern Illinois.

— Devonte Davis: A forward from Michigan State, Davis had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks in an 82-55 win over Florida Atlantic.

— Malik Dime: Part of a strong Washington recruiting class, the forward had 10 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks in a 77-71 win over Texas in Shanghai, China.

— Tyler Dorsey: The Oregon shooting guard – heavily recruited by Cal — made the most of 5 for 6 from the field, totaling 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in an 80-52 rout of Jackson State.

— Brandon Ingram: The Duke guard had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, but shot just 5 for 16 in a 92-74 win over Siena.

— Skal Labissiere: The forward had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks in Kentucky’s 78-65 win over Albany.

— Jamal Murray: The Kentucky guard had 19 points, 8 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds against Albany.

— Ivan Rabb: The former Bishop O’Dowd High star had 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in the win over Rice.

— Malachi Richardson: The Syracuse forward contributed 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in a 57-47 win over Lehigh.

— Ben Simmons: The LSU forward – who earned preseason All-America honors by AP Top-25 voters — had 11 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in an 81-70 win over McNeese State.

— Diamond Stone: The Maryland big man had 10 points and 7 rebounds in an 80-56 win over Mount St. Mary’s.

— Caleb Swanigan: The beefy low-post man – who picked Purdue over Cal – had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the 81-40 win over North Carolina A&T.

— Stephen Zimmerman: UNLV barely survived Cal Poly 74-72, but the freshman forward had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots for the Runnin’ Rebels.


Basketball: Bears rout Rice in promising opener


The No. 14 Cal basketball team gave a curious opening-night crowd of 10,530 plenty of reasons to return to Haas Pavilion this season.

The Bears introduced freshman Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown to a game-night atmosphere on the way to a 97-65 victory over Rice on Friday night.

Rabb, whose most recent official game on this floor was in a high school state championship win for nearby Bishop O’Dowd, had 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots over 16 minutes in his college debut.

Brown, a consensus top-5 national prospect out of suburban Atlanta, scored 14 points, despite four fouls and a second-half bloody nose that limited him to 15 minutes on the floor.

“They showed me they’re ready,” junior guard Jordan Mathews said of the two ultra-hyped freshmen. “They showed us all they’re ready.”

The buzz of expectation is significant for this team, which was didn’t even make the NIT last year but was projected by three ESPN analysts as a Final Four team. Cal’s most recent visit to the national semifinals was 1960 – when John F. Kennedy was a candidate for president and Wilt Chamberlain an NBA rookie.

With three starting guards back to provide leadership and stability, second-year coach Cuonzo Martin has a roster with more talent than any Cal team since the days of Jason Kidd more than two decades ago.

“It was definitely a great experience playing in the first game,” Brown said. “There was a lot of excitement building up. I had a good time. Ready for the next one. We’re just scratching the surface.”

Rabb, who said Martin had the team “overprepared,” was unhappy with his three fouls but thought he otherwise played well. “A few times I got a little confused out there,” he said.

Martin was satisfied with both rookies given the first time out.

“Offensively, they both played well,” Martin said. “Every game will present something different for those guys.”

Senior all-Pac-12 point guard Tyrone Wallace provided 20 points, six rebounds and eight assists against the visitors from Conference USA. Wallace shot 9 for 12 from the field.

Junior Jordan Mathews scored 13 points – including 11 in the first half – and junior Jabari Bird contributed 11.

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Basketball: Hype gives way to tipoff as Bears take on Rice

All the preseason hype will move to the side Friday night when the Cal basketball team opens its season against Rice at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 8:30 pm on Pac-12 Networks.

The buildup has been considerable for the 14th-ranked Golden Bears.

Three ESPN analysts have gone as far as projecting Cal as a Final Four team.

The last time that happened – in 1960 — JFK hadn’t yet been elected president and Wilt Chamberlain was an NBA rookie.

Second-year coach Cuonzo Martin is neither embracing the attention nor shunning it.

“As far as the predictions, we control what we control,” he said. “As a coach, I don’t try to steer those guys clear of that information. You can’t shelter guys their whole life. That’s information. We get it, we discuss and move on.”

So, no worries that his team – including highly touted freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb – might let all this go to their heads?

“The way they walk, I don’t see it,” Martin said. “They walk with a level of humility as a team.”

Senior Tyrone Wallace, the Bears’ all-Pac-12 point guard, says he mostly ignores the buzz.

I don’t really pay attention to it, so it’s easy for me,” he said. “We just try to keep our heads straight and focus on what’s in front of us.

“The most important thing is we believe in ourselves.”

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Basketball: How past Cal stars fared in their debuts

What should we expect from Cal freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb in their first games as collegiate players?

We’ll find out Friday night at 8:30 p.m. then the Bears take in Rice at Haas Pavilion.

Here’s a look at debut freshman performances by former Cal stars:

— Kevin Johnson (1983): The future NBA point guard and Mayor of Sacramento had 11 points in a 79-62 win over UC San Diego.

— Lamond Murray (1991): The small forward with a smooth stroke had 20 points in a 91-73 win over Nevada.

— Al Grigsby (1991): A monster power forward before injuries diminished his game, Grigsby had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the aforementioned defeat of Nevada.

— Jason Kidd (1992): The greatest high school player in Bay Area history stayed home and had 11 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and 6 steals in an 89-65 win over Sacramento State in front of 12,700 fans at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.

— Tremaine Fowles (1994): Fowlkes came off the bench to contribute 18 points and 8 rebounds to an 82-69 win over Texas Southern.

— Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1995): The forward from Murietta, Georgia – hometown of current Cal freshman Jaylen Brown – had 33 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocked and 2 steals in a 111-83 win over Northern Arizona. Over his first three games with Cal, Abdur-Rahim averaged 31.3 points.

— Joe Shipp (1999): Went all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska, to score 20 points in a 91-83 win over Texas Christian.

— Leon Powe (2003): The power forward from Oakland had 12 points and 10 rebounds but the Bears lost 63-62 to Cal Poly

— Ryan Anderson (2006): Anderson had 20 points and 8 rebounds in a 60-42 win over Utah Valley State.

— Allen Crabbe (2010): A modest beginning for the current Trail Blazers shoot guard, who had 8 points and 4 rebounds in an 80-62 win over Cal State Northridge.


Basketball: Cal to play in 2017 Maui Invitational

Mark your calendars — if you have one that includes November 2017.

Cal will participate in the 2017 Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center, Nov. 20-22 . . . two years from now.

Other schools confirmed in the field, according to the event’s website, are Michigan, Notre Dame, VCU, LSU, Marquette, Wichita State and host Chaminade.

Cal will make its third trip to Maui, having participated in 1996 and 2013.