Football: Bears land elite defensive end from Atlanta

Cal got a significant recruiting commitment Wednesday when Russell Ude, a top defensive end from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Ga., picked the Bears over a glut of top schools.

Ude, rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, announced his decision on Twitter:

“They Told Me I Couldn’t Do It. Proud To Announce I Am Committed to The University of California #GodIsGood #CalGang15

Scout.com rates Ude as a three-star prospect, but either way he helps address an area of need for the Bears.

Yeah, defense.

Ryan Gorcey of Scout.com reports that Ude actually gave Cal a “secret” commitment two months ago, but decided the time was right to make it public. Oral commitments, of course, are not binding until signing day, and Ude told Scout he still intends to take other visits.

Ude is 6-foot-3 and somewhere between 245 and 260-ish pounds, depending on which website you believe.

Others liked him, too: Oregon, Washington, UCLA and USC showed interest among Pac-12 schools. Wisconsin, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Michigan State also made offers.


Basketball: Ryan Anderson scores 22 in Pelicans’ opener

Former Cal star Ryan Anderson, who didn’t play after Jan. 3 last season because of a neck injury, scored 22 points in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 101-84 season-opening win over the Orlando Magic.

Anderson, 26, also grabbed nine rebounds in his 22-minute stint off the bench.

Now beginning his sixth NBA season,  Anderson played 22 games last season before the injury that led to surgery for a herniated cervical disk. He averaged 19.8 points a year ago.


Basketball: Lineup taking shape as exhibition nears

I watched about 90 minutes of Cal basketball practice this afternoon and it seems coach Cuonzo Martin has at least tentatively decided to go with a three-guard, two-post lineup.

Based on several sessions of scrimmaging, here’s what the Bears starting five looks like entering Friday’s exhibition opener against Cal State East Bay:

– PG Tyrone Wallace

– SG Jabari Bird

– SG Jordan Mathews

– PF/C David Kravish

– PF Christian Behrens

The alternative is to start four guards, with Sam Singer moving in at point guard and the 6-foot-6 Wallace sliding to forward.

To be sure, Martin will use that smaller lineup at times. It will require the likes of Wallace and Bird to contribute significantly on the boards. But the drawback to the four-guard alignment is that it gives Martin fewer backcourt options coming off the bench.

Figure senior transfer Dwight Tarwater to be the first frontcourt player off the bench. At 6-6, 230, Tarwater appears to be an aggressive offensive rebounder, a player who will provide hustle to mix things up.

Freshman Kingsley Okoroh, a 7-1 center from England, will also get the chance to show what he can do. And sophomore wing Roger Moute a Bidias, who shows promise in practice, may also get some playing time.

Eventually, Martin likely will settle on about an eight-man rotation.


Football: Cal, Auburn sign two-year deal for 2019, ’20

Cal has signed a two-year, home-and-home deal with Southeastern Conference power Auburn, the national runnerup last season and the 2010 national champion.

The Bears will visit Auburn on Sept. 21, 2019, with the Tigers making a trip to Berkeley on Sept. 19, 2020.

The teams will be meeting for the first time.

Cal also scheduled three home games for the 2016, ’17 and ’18 seasons.

South Dakota will visit on Sept. 3, 2016, Weber State comes to town on Sept. 9, 2017, and Idaho State will travel to Berkeley on Sept. 15, 2018.


Football: Cal-Oregon postgame notes

Stats, notes and leftovers from Cal’s 59-41 loss to No. 6 Oregon on Friday night at Levi’s Stadium:

* Jared Goff’s 360-yard passing night was his school-record 11th 300-yard game — in just 20 games over two seasons – breaking the mark of 10 set by Pat Barnes (1993-96).

* With two more touchdown passes, Goff has 26 on the season, which ranks third on Cal’s all-time list. Barnes holds the record with 31. Goff also hiked his career total to 44, moving past Aaron Rodgers (2003-04) into seventh.

* With 2,842 passing yards in eight games, Goff is on pace to pass for 4,263 yards, which would shatter his year-old school record of 3,508.

* Running back Daniel Lasco had career-high totals of eight receptions for 101 yards. He also rushed for 85 yards on 15 carries, giving him 608 yards on the season. He now has seven touchdowns.

* After averaging just 60.7 rushing yards over the previous three games, the Bears had 193 yards on the ground. Their four rushing touchdowns were the most they’ve had in a game in two seasons under Sonny Dykes.

* Cal’s 41 points marked the fifth time in 2014 the Bears have topped 40 in a game, a total the Bears never achieved last season. They hadn’t reached 40 points five times in a full season since 2006.

* The Bears have now scored 332 points — 56 more than they totaled all last season. Their 41.5 scoring average is on pace to be their highest since World War II.

* Cal was 6 for 6 in the red zone — all touchdowns. That improves its season mark to 30 for 34 (88.2 percent), including 24 touchdowns. In 2013, the Bears had 21 red-zone TDs all season and ranked last overall in the Pac-12 at 72.1 percent.

* Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, in three career games against the Bears, has thrown for 817 yards with 13 TDs and just one interception, sparking totals of 59, 55 and 59 points.

* This was the third game this season in which Cal and its opponent combined for at least 100 points — the others were the Bears’ 60-59 win at Washington State and their 59-56 overtime win over Colorado. Previously, dating back to 1937, Cal had taken part in just five games where at least 100 points were scored.


Basketball: Ivan Rabb trims list to 5, including Cal

Five-star East Bay basketball prospect Ivan Rabb has trimmed his list of potential colleges from seven to five, and Cal remains in the hunt, his high school coach confirmed Friday.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward from Bishop O’Dowd High and a top-10 national recruit, eliminated North Carolina and Georgetown from consideration.

Still in play are Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA . . . and Cal. It’s heady competition for the Bears, but new coach Cuonzo Martin has made Rabb a priority since he was hired last spring.

“He seemed very relieved today to have it down to five,” O’Dowd coach Lou Richie said. “He called all the schools before it went public. It’s taking a long time, but he’s handling it the right way.”

Richie said Rabb is making his first official campus visit this weekend, leaving Saturday for Kentucky. He has not yet scheduled his other four trips.

Rabb was not available for comment.


Basketball: Montgomery likes what he sees in Martin

The old Cal basketball coach has met the new Cal coach and he likes what he sees.

Both Mike Montgomery and Cuonzo Martin were at Pac-12 basketball media day on Thursday, and Cal senior forward Kravish was a bit amused by the new assignment his former coach has taken on as a TV analyst for the Pac-12 Networks.

“It’s interesting to see him with a little media tag on,” Kravish said. “He would always answer your guys’ questions a little sarcastically and now he’s on the questions end.”

Montgomery, who worked in TV before his six-year stint as coach at Cal, said he always knew he’d try to land back in that role.

“I was on the beach in Mexico last week. I’ve never been on the beach in October before,” he said. “It’s a nice change, but a little bit of that goes a long ways.”

Montgomery met Martin for the first time on campus during the offseason and is impressed.

”He seems like a first-class guy. He’s quiet, doesn’t say very much. He watches before he speaks, which is a good thing,” Montgomery said. “But he has the players’ respect. He’s no-nonsense. That’s good – that’s what that group needs.”

Martin’s first Cal team features veterans in Kravish and junior guard Tyrone Wallace, along with a promising sophomore class.

“He inherited a very good group. He’s got a very good locker room, great leadership,” Montgomery said. “They’ve been getting up at 6 to practice and I was, `Yup, they’ll do it.’ In years past we’d have had a little trouble getting everybody up at 6.”

The Bears have minimal frontline depth, but Montgomery believes that can be overcome. “If they stay healthy,” he said, “I think they can compete.”