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Swimming: Franklin up for sportswoman of year

Cal swimmer Missy Franklin, who won a record six gold medals at last summer’s world championships, is among six nominees for the 15th annual Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year.

The freshman from Centennial, Colo., who won four gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, joins a list of high-profile female athletes nominated for the award.

Also up for Laureus honors are German soccer star Nadine Angerer, the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year; Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, winner of three sprint gold medals at the world track and field championships; Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, winner of the world title; Slovenia skier Tina Maze, the overall World Cup champion; American tennis star Serena Williams, winner of the French Open and U.S. Open titles.

It’s the second straight year Franklin was nominated.

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Basketball: Earl Shultz ready for his big day

Sunday’s game against USC is big for Cal, coming four days after a lopsided loss to UCLA.

But the occasion is no less significant for Dr. Earl Shultz, who will be honored at halftime with the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award.

For Shultz, who played on Newell’s two Final Four teams at Cal and became a lifelong close friend of the late coaching legend, there can be bigger honor.

“For the guys who played for Pete,” Shultz said this week, “it’s the ultimate to be associated with Pete.”

Shultz was a sophomore reserve guard on the 1959 Cal team that won the NCAA title, then became a starter the next season when the Bears returned to the Final Four at the Cow Palace, losing to Ohio State in the title game.

He jokingly refers to himself and his teammates as “dinosaurs,” but these were Cal’s greatest teams. His first two seasons as a varsity player, the Bears went 53-6, won a pair of conference titles and helped Newell close out his career with the last of eight straight victories over John Wooden and UCLA.

The Bears haven’t been back to the Final Four since.

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Basketball: Cobbs among Cousy Award finalists

Cal’s Justin Cobbs is among four Pac-12 players on the list of 23 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard.

Cobbs is averaging 16.0 points and 6.0 assists and had the game-winning shot in the Bears’ upset of then-unbeaten Arizona.

“It’s a blessing,” Cobbs said. “Shows you what hard work can do. Just gotta keep getting better. Never be content with yourself. Keep striving for greater goals.”

Asked when he’d first heard of Bob Cousy — the Hall of Famer who retired after the 1963 NBA season — Cobbs admitted, “Bob Cousy . . . I don’t know. My Pops probably knows him.”

Cal coach Mike Montgomery was thrilled for Cobbs, who came to Cal as a transfer after his freshman season.

“It’s great,” Montgomery said. “He leaves Minnesota years ago and comes here and nobody much knows about him.

“He’s had his trials and travails and I think it’s quite an honor for him. And he deserves it.”
 Other Pac-12 nominees are UCLA’s Kyle Anderson, Arizona State’s Jahii Carson and Arizona’s T.J. McConnell.

Also up for the award are Xavier Thames of San Diego State, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, DeAndre Kane of Iowa State, Shabazz Napier of Connecticut and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart.

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Women’s basketball: Another honor for Boyd

Cal junior guard Brittany Boyd has been named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Midseason 30 list, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced.

Boyd has also been named to the midseason lists for the Dawn Staley Award (Phoenix Club of Philadelphia), the Nancy Lieberman Award (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame) and the Wooden Award (Los Angeles Athletic Club), in addition to being included on the initial and updated Wade Trophy (WBCA) award lists.

Boyd is one of just four players in the country to be named to all five of those lists, joining Jerica Coley (FIU), Bria Hartley (UConn) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor).

The former Berkeley High star averages 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.1 steals for the 16-7 Golden Bears.

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Rugby: Clark to enter Hall of Fame

Cal’s Jack Clark will be inducted into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame, the United States Rugby Football Federation announced.

To which I pose the question: What took them so long?

The induction ceremony takes place June 7 in Houston.

“I am very appreciative of the recognition,” Clark said. “I want to thank all the coaches and support staff who have so significantly contributed to this career and well as my opposition colleagues around the country and rugby world for their friendship and partnership in growing rugby.

“I am so appreciative of my old teammates and coaches for the game and teamship example they set. Mostly, I want to thank the players I have been blessed to coach.”

In his 31st year as head coach of the Golden Bears, Clark has led the rugby program to 22 national collegiate titles in 15s and, in 2013, its first collegiate 7s title in the Olympic version of rugby.

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Football: Cal’s Super Bowl influence

Three former Cal players will be in uniform at MetLife Stadium today for Super Bowl XLVIII.

The headliner, of course, is Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who has waited all week to let his legs do his talking.

The former Oakland Tech HS star rushed for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season and leads all ball carriers with 249 postseason rushing yards.

Seahawks teammate Brandon Mebane and Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson help give the Bears representatives in the Super Bowl for the 12th time in 13 years.

Lynch, Mebane and Anderson all are making their Super Bowl debuts.

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Three other ex-Cal players took bows Saturday at the NFL Honors show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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Women’s basketball: Boyd in good company

Cal junior guard Brittany Boyd is one of 29 players named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced.

The award is given to the top point guard in women’s Division I basketball. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.

Boyd, who earlier was named to the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists, is averaging 13.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.47 steals per game for the No. 15 Golden Bears. Her 3.47 steals mark ranks second in the NCAA.

The Berkeley High grad is averaging 19.8 points and 4.0 steals through four Pac-12 games.

The list will be narrowed down to a final 20 candidates in February, with a final five to be decided by March. The Lieberman Award winner will be announced during Final Four weekend activities in April.

Other candidates include Odyssey Sims of Baylor, Amber Orrange of Stanford and Bria Hartley of Connecticut.

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Basketball: Cobbs is Pac-12 Player of Week

Justin Cobbs, who averaged 20 points, 10 assists and 5.5 rebounds in road wins over Oregon and Oregon State, has been honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

It’s the fourth weekly honors of Cobbs’ career. He joins teammate Tyrone Wallace among Cal players to get the award this season.

The Bears are 12-4 overall and off to their first 3-0 start in conference play since 2009. They have won their first three road conference games for the first time since 1957 and opened league play with a 3-0 start after three road games for the first time since 1939.

Cobbs had 20 points and a season-best 11 assists in the Bears’ win at then-17th-ranked Oregon on Thursday. He scored all 20 of his points in the second half and totaled nine assists as Cal rallied past Oregon State on Saturday.

The Pac-12’s active career assist leader, Cobbs moved into fifth place on Cal’s all-time assist chart with 430 in 83 career games. With his point total for the week, the senior moved up four spots to 28th on Cal’s all-time scoring list with 1,166 in his career.

Cal hosts Washington on Wednesday at p.m., then faces Washington State on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Cal has climbed to No. 34 in the latest RealTimeRPI rankings.

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Football: Coleman to play in Senior Bowl

Cal senior defensive tackle Deandre Coleman has accepted an invitation to play in the 65th annual Senior Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder from Seattle will become the 35th former Cal player to appear in the all-star game that showcases the nation’s best senior players.

An honorable mention all-Pac-12 selection by the league’s coaches, Coleman was one of three Cal players to start at all 12 games last season. He had 40 tackles, including a team-best nine tackles for loss.