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.


Football: D’Amato is Bears’ lonely all-Pac-12 pick

This is what happens when your team goes 1-11. It’s what should happen.

Senior placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato was Cal’s lone representative on either the first or second All-Pac-12 football teams, chosen by the coaches and announced Monday. D’Amato, a first-team selection a year ago, was named to the second unit this time.

D’Amato was 17 for 20 on field goals, never missing inside 46 yards, and converted 31 of 32 PAT kicks. He was 6 for 9 from 40 yards or longer, including a 51-yard field goal against UCLA.

Defensive lineman Deandre Coleman, quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Bryce Treggs were honorable mention picks for Cal.

Running back Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona, who rushed for 1,716 yards, was named Offensive Player of the Year, Will Sutton of Arizona State was given the the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season, and Arizona State’s Todd Graham was named Coach of the Year.

UCLA’s Myles Jack, in an unprecedented outcome, was voted the league’s Freshman of the Year on offense and defense. Jack accumulated 70 tackles and an interception as a linebacker, then rushed for 267 yards and seven touchdowns when given the chance to play offense late in the season.


Football: Academic honors for Bears

Offensive linemen Chris Adcock and Mark Brazinski were named to the All-Pac-12 Academic first-team, the conference announced.

Adcock, a junior center, made the team for the second time after compiling a 3.54 grade-point average as a business administration major. Brazinski, a grad student, has a 3.58 GPA in legal studies and information management systems.

Cal players named to the second team were offensive tackle Christian Okafor (3.35/undeclared), defensive lineman Ted Agu (3.28/public health) and linebacker Hardy Nickerson (3.36/undeclared).

Given honorable mention status were defensive end Todd Barr, offensive tackle Alejandro Crosthwaite, placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato, cornerback Cedric Dozier, punter Cole Leininger and wide receiver Bryce Treggs.


Football: Track All-America honor to Muhammad

Cal freshman running back Khalfani Muhammad has earned high school All-America honors from Track and Field News, which named him the top-ranked 200-meter dash runner in 2013, according to the magazine’s current issue.

Muhammad, who attended Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, earned the award after victories at the Mt. SAC Relays and the California state meet and runnerup performances at Arcadia and the USA Junior championships, where he was the highest-finishing high school entry. His season-best time was 20.73 seconds.

Muhammad also was ranked third by magazine in the 100 meters, owing to victories at Arcadia, Mt. SAC and the California state meet. His best 100 time: 10.33, although he ran 10.22 wind-aided.

No other prep sprinter was ranked among the nation’s top-3 by Track and Field News.


Football: Academic honor for Mark Brazinski

Cal senior offensive lineman Mark Brazinski was selected to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District 8 First-Team for NCAA Division I football.

“Years of work culminate into something like this,” Brazinski said in a statement. “I’m very grateful to be honored in this way and to be able to do it at the greatest university in the world.

“It makes a lot of those nights where you didn’t sleep very long worth it. I look forward to the next round and am hopeful I will be considered for Academic All-America honors.”

For all the negative reports that have come out recently regarding the football team’s academic performance, it’s pretty clear Brazinski isn’t part of the problem.

Brazinski received two bachelor’s degrees (Business Administration, Media Studies) in his first three years at Cal and is now in his second year as a graduate student in Cal’s Masters of Information Management Systems at the School of Information.

He compled a 3.58 grade-point average in his undergraduate work and has the same mark in his graduate courses.


Basketball: Cobbs on Cousy Award watch list

Cal senior Justin Cobbs has been named to the 50-player preseason watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, given to college basketball’s top point guard.

Cobbs enters the senior season as the Pac-12 Conference’s active career assist leader with 327 assists in only 67 games over two seasons at Cal.

A transfer from Minnesota following his freshman season, Cobbs owns a 4.9 career assist-per-game average, which ranks fourth all-time at Cal.

At Pac-12 media day last week, Cobbs told me one of his goals this season is to dish at least 200 assists and chase Jason Kidd’s single-season school record of 272. Only three times in Cal history — Kidd twice, Keith Smith once — has a Cal player totaled 200 assists in a season.

Cobbs last season was among the Pac-12 leaders in scoring (10th, 15.1 ppg.), assists (4th, 4.8 apg.), free throw percentage (4th, .841) and assist-to-turnover ratio (6th, 1.5) last season. His .822 career free-throw percentage is seventh-best in school history entering his senior season.

Cobbs started all 33 games last season for the Golden Bears’ 21-12 squad that finished second in the Pac-12 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

He led Cal (or tied) in scoring eight times with double-figures in the scoring column in 28 contests. Cobbs averaged 6.0 assists over his final eight games of the season.

Others nominated for the Cousy award include Cobbs’ Pac-12 rivals Jahii Carson of Arizona State, Kyle Anderson of UCLA, Spencer Dinwiddie of Colorado, Dominic Artis of Oregon and Nigel Williams-Goss of Washington.


Swimming: Missy Franklin snags major award

Cal freshman swimming sensation Missy Franklin added to her long list of accolades Wednesday night when she was named the Sportswoman of the Year for an individual sport by the Women’s Sports Foundation at the 34th annual Salute to Women in Sports gala in New York City.

Franklin is the third Golden Bear to earn a Sportswoman of the Year honor, joining soccer’s Alex Morgan and fellow swimmer Natalie Coughlin. Morgan, one of the heroes of the USA’s gold-medal-winning squad at the 2012 Olympics, won in the team category last year, while Coughlin picked up the honor for those competing in individual sports in 2003.

“For Missy to win this award is a testament to a young woman who is striving to reach her full potential and use athletics as a vehicle to do so,” Cal women’s swim coach Teri McKeever said. “At Cal, we talk about having it all, and Missy has demonstrated that through hard work, dedication and determination, this is possible.

“The Sportswoman of the Year honor is a fitting way to celebrate an extraordinary young lady, and I am honored to have her at Cal and swimming in a program with other exceptional student-athletes.”

Continue Reading


Football: A nice honor for linebacker Nick Forbes; is healthy playing time on the horizon?

Junior linebacker Nick Forbes’ priority is to get healthy and back on the field.

In the meantime, he has earned a pretty nice honor, named to the 22-player 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, co-sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association.

The award pays tribute to the positive impact student-athletes from all level of college football have had on their communities and the lives of others.

“Nick does a tremendous job in the community and is very deserving of this recognition,” Dykes said.

No kidding. Consider:

– Forbes has done volunteer work for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, City of Berkeley, Playworks, Read Across America, SAGE Mentorship Project and Swim with Mike.

– He has been the vice president of the Golden Bear Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (GBAC) since 2011 and has represented Cal at both the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Conference and the NCAA APPLE Conference.

– In addition, Forbes has been a speaker at a local elementary school and to youth football teams speaking on the importance of education, respect, treating others right and staying out of trouble. He even found time to host Cal’s Oski Student Awards show in the spring of 2013 and organized both a fashion show fundraiser and a student-athlete formal earlier this year.

“It’s awesome to be recognized for doing a few unselfish things here and there,” Forbes said.

Continue Reading