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Cal basketball: Jaylen Brown named to all-Pac-12 first team; Ivan Rabb on second team

Cal’s Jaylen Brown was named to the 10-man all-Pac-12 first team and fellow freshman Ivan Rabb earned a spot on the five-player second team, the conference announced Monday.

Later Monday, Brown was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Voting is done by the league’s 12 coaches.

Brown, a small forward from Atlanta, leads the Bears in scoring at 15.3 points per game and posted five games of at least 20 points.

Rabb, a power forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, averages 12.2 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds and shoots 60.5 percent from the field.

Both top-10 consensus national recruits a year ago, Brown and Rabb also were voted to the five-player all-freshman team.

Senior guard Tyrone Wallace, a first-team all-Pac-12 selection a year ago, was named honorable mention after missing five games at midseason with a broken hand.

Utah center Jakob Poeltl was named Player of the Year and Dana Altman, who guided Oregon to the regular-season Pac-12 title, was named Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

Also named to the first team: Stanford’s Rosco Allen, Arizona’s Ryan Anderson, Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook, USC’s Julian Jacobs, Oregon State’s Gary Payton II, Utah’s Poeltl and Colorado’s Josh Scott.

The rest of the second team was UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton, Washington’s Dejounte Murray, and Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York.

Joining Brown and Rabb on the all-freshman team are Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey, Arizona’s Allonzo Trier and Washington’s Murray.

Cal opens play in the Pac-12 tournament as Las Vegas on Thursday as the No. 3 seed. The Bears will play either Oregon State or Arizona State in an 8:30 p.m. game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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Cal football: Job 1 of spring ball is identifying QB Jared Goff’s replacement

Cal begins its search for quarterback Jared Goff’s replacement with the start of spring workouts on Monday, and coach Sonny Dykes says there is no timetable for identifying a starter.

“Three practices in if someone is a lot better than everyone else, then we’re going to have a starting quarterback. Certainly I don’t expect that to happen,” Dykes said. “It could be three weeks into fall camp.”

Realistically, it could be that the Bears never find a replacement who can provide what Goff did, breaking virtually every school passing record in three seasons before entering this spring’s NFL draft. But there is no shortage of candidates.

Redshirt sophomore Chase Forrest, Goff’s understudy last fall, will get the chance to show he’s ready. His competition includes junior Luke Rubenzer, back at quarterback after a year playing safety, redshirt freshman Ross Bowers and incoming freshman Max Gilliam, who graduated from high school at midyear and is on campus.

Joining the mix is senior Zach Kline, a former elite prospect out of Danville, who returns to Cal after one season each at Butte Junior College and Indiana State.

Kline may face the longest odds of any of them, but Dykes said the field is wide open.

“The great lesson in all this is to go back to our first spring here,” he said, referring to 2013. “If you had taken bets from coaches, fans, everybody, Jared Goff would be pretty low on the list, I imagine.”

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Cal football: QB Zach Kline returns to Berkeley

Quarterback Zach Kline is back on the Cal football roster.

A former four-star recruit from San Ramon Valley High in Danville, Kline transferred out of Cal two years ago after Jared Goff established himself as the Bears’ starter.

Kline spent a year at Butte Junior College then enrolled last year Indiana State, where was a backup for the Sycamores last season, completing six of 13 passes for 47 yards with no touchdowns.

Now he’s back as a senior walk-on who will participate in spring ball beginning Monday.

But Kline must be accepted into grad school at Cal in order to be eligible to play next fall.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he enters spring workouts with no expectations for Kline’s possible role. The Bears have three returning quarterbacks and incoming freshman Max Gilliam in the mix for the starting job after Goff’s departure to the NFL.

“Zach’s a great kid, a very hard-working kid, popular kid,” Dykes said. “I expect him to try his best and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Kline was rated the No. 2 pro-style quarterback prospect by Rivals in the 2012 recruiting class and was the No. 9 overall prospect, according to Athlon.

But he could not hold off Goff for the starting job before the 2013 season and transferred after the season.

“He just wants to come back and be part of this team and graduate with the guys he came in with,” Dykes said.

Meanwhile, Dykes confirmed that linebacker Jake Kearney, a senior from Livermore, is retiring from football because of an ongoing back injury. Kearney played in 10 games last season, one as a starter, and totaled 21 tackles, including 3.5 for loss.

Defensive back Derron Brown is now listed as a linebacker and Dykes said safety Evan Rambo and cornerback A.J. Greathouse also could be moved to linebacker.

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Cal women’s basketball: Kristine Anigwe is Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year

Cal’s Kristine Anigwe was voted Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on Monday in a vote of the league’s coaches.

There was little drama involved in the news, as Anigwe had accumulated eight Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards, the most recent one also coming on Monday.

The highest-scoring freshman in Cal history with 567 points, Anigwe also was the only freshman named to the 15-player All-Pac-12 first team. And she landed a spot among the honorable mention selections to the All-Defensive Team.

“This season her production as a freshman, with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, has been nothing short of remarkable,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in a statement. “To be recognized as the top freshman in the Pac 12, as well as a first team All-Conference selection amongst so many great players, is an accomplishment that our whole program is proud of.”

Anigwe averages 20.3 points — most of any freshman in the Power Five conferences — and 8.9 rebounds. She also shoots 56.3 percent from the field.

Junior forward Courtney Range was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 and Asha Thomas was picked to the All-Freshman honorable mention list. Sophomore Gabby Green also was named All-Defensive honorable mention.

 

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Cal football: Trevor Davis posts strong combine marks

On a day when former Cal quarterback Jared Goff distinguished himself throwing the ball, one of his receiving targets also had a strong day at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Trevor Davis showed his speed with a 4.42-second clocking that was third-fastest in the 40-yard dash among receivers who were tested on Saturday. Davis, who also returns kicks, was second among wideouts in the 3-cone drills (6.60 seconds), second in the 60-yard shuttle (10.94) and fourth in the vertical jump (38.5 inches).

All-Pac-12 wide receiver Kenny Lawler didn’t have as good a day and will need to impress scouts at Cal pro workout day in Berkeley. Lawler ran the 40 in just 4.64 seconds, had a 31-inch vertical leap, and a 7.13-second mark for the 3-cone drill — failing to crack the top-10 in any of those categories.

Tight end Stephen Anderson’s 38-inch vertical was best at his position. But Anderson did not run the 40 and ranked just 10th among tight ends in the vertical leap at 38 inches.

Goff, for the record, ran the 40 in 4.82 seconds, had a 27-inch vertical, a 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump and clocked 7.17 seconds for the 3-cone drill. In his case, given his passing skills, it’s likely none of those numbers will have any real effect.

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Cal football: Jared Goff impresses scouts with throws

This report is courtesy of colleague Cam Inman, who is at Indianpolis covering the NFL scouting combine:

Watching Jared Goff impressively pass the football Saturday sure trivialized all the NFL scouting combine’s other nuances.

How a quarterback can throw in a pass-oriented league arguably should trump reports about body measurements, interview questions and medical reviews in a draft prospect’s evaluation.

Goff, a Cal product, lived up to his billing as a polished passer, perhaps the best available come draft day.

Watching quietly together from Lucas Oil Stadium’s stands were 49ers coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. They, you well know, might be in the market for a quarterback, especially if they acquiesce to Colin Kaepernick’s trade request and scour for a new challenger to Blaine Gabbert.

“(Goff) looked good. He was the standout,” said Bill Polian, an ESPN analyst who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year for his front-office expertise.

Polian cautioned that he doesn’t know what Kelly wants to do with the 49ers once-sacred quarterback throne. But Polian didn’t hold back in praising Goff.

“He rose to the occasion,” Polian added. “Everything he does is athletic. The ball came out on time. He throws a nice ball. His feet are really good. His balance is good.”

Polian watched from a luxury suite as Goff and eight other quarterbacks delivered in the combine’s first throwing sessions.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cal football: Big day at combine for Daniel Lasco

Former Cal running back Daniel Lasco, who arrived at Indianapolis under the radar after an injury-plagued senior season, delivered a huge performance Friday at the NFL scouting combine.

Lasco had the day’s best marks in the vertical leap (41.5 inches) and broad jump (11 feet, 3 inches) and ran a swift 4.46 for the 40-yard dash, fourth-best among all running backs who participated.

Here’s a report from NFL.com, including comments from draft expert Mike Mayock:

Lasco was among the workout wonders on Friday, and now has hope that an injury-riddled 2015 won’t cost him a draft spot.

“Daniel Lasco, nobody knows about because he had a hip injury and only played three or four games,” Mayock said. “At the East-West game, he opened my eye. He ran well in the 40 and caught the football well. He’ll be a natural out of the backfield for somebody next year.”

Lasco missed much of the season with hip and ankle injuries, but said recently he was fully healthy and ready to perform well at the combine. He came through.

He participated in every workout event — not everyone does that — and posted solid marks in most categories: 7.22 seconds for the 3-cone drill, 4.26 seconds for the 20-yard shuttle, 11.31 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle and 23 reps in the bench press.

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Football: Jared Goff says hand size is no issue

This story is courtesy of colleague Cam Inman, who is at Indianapolis covering the NFL scouting combine:

Cal product Jared Goff laughed off what has become a hot story at the NFL scouting combine: his 9-inch hands, diminutive by league standards for a quarterback.

“I’ve been told I have pretty big hands my whole life. I heard I have small hands yesterday, apparently,” Goff said Thursday. “Naw, I’ve never had a problem with that or expect it to be a problem at all.”

Goff is projected as one of the top quarterbacks in April’s draft, so every detail about him is being unearthed by NFL personnel evaluators this week.

Chip Kelly, the 49ers’ new coach, described any quarterback’s hand size as: “Huge. You better have big hands. Russell Wilson is 5-101/2 but he’s got 101/4 hands. You better have a big paw to manipulate the football.”

OK, then what about a quarterback with, say, 9-inch hands?

Kelly responded: “They’re measureables. They’re guidelines. They’re not like, ‘He has 9-inch hands. He’s out.’ ”

Of the 21 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2008, only Miami’s Ryan Tannehill had hands that small, according to ESPN.

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Cal football: Daniel Lasco geared up for NFL combine

Daniel Lasco understands what this week’s NFL combine means to his football future.

“It’s the most important job interview we ever undergo in our lives,” the former Cal running back said. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about ever since I was a little pipsqueak with a football in my hand.”

For Lasco, who rarely got on the field last fall because of hip and ankle injuries, his four-day audition for NFL teams beginning Tuesday is monumental.

Among the 27 invited running backs who got pre-combine grades on NFL.com, Lasco ranked in a tie for 20th. The focus will be on Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, Alex Collins and Devontae Booker. Lasco needs a big week to turn some heads.

But Lasco believes he is ready for a week that includes interviews, a medical exam, psychological testing and strength and skill events. He showed a glimpse of his talents at the Jan. 23 Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was the game’s leading rusher with 62 yards, including a 41-yard burst.

“I don’t believe my confidence ever completely vanished. It was just a little rusty,” said Lasco, who started just three games in 2015 and was limited to 330 rushing yards. “I had to shake that rust off. Luckily, the game went great and I came out healthy.”

Lasco’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, says NFL scouts this week will see a versatile and motivated player who is ready to demonstrate he’s the same guy who rushed for 1,115 yards as a junior at Cal.

Lasco offers no guess on whether an NFL team might draft him, but Steinberg is adamant.

“This is my 42nd year, and I’m going to have to live with what I tell you,” Steinberg said. “There’s no chance (he won’t be picked). He absolutely will be drafted. You may be surprised where he goes in the draft.”

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Cal football: Bears make staff assignment changes

Garret Chachere will become Cal’s running backs coach after three seasons working with the team’s linebackers or defensive ends, coach Sonny Dykes announced Saturday.

Chachere will take the assignment handled last season by former offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who moved on to Middle Tennessee State. Chachere, who turns 47 next month, previously coached running backs at Arizona in 2011.

Meanwhile, Art Kaufman will add linebackers to his role as defensive coordinator.

“These moves will strengthen our coaching staff,” Dykes said in a statement. “Garret is an outstanding teacher who will do a fantastic job as our running backs coach. He has a tremendous amount of expertise with this offense from his time on the coaching staff at Arizona and that was critical to us being able to make these moves. Garret is quite comfortable with this offense. He speaks the same language as the rest of the staff, and I am extremely confident that he will fit right in and be on the same page with Jake Spavital and all of our coaches on the offensive side of the ball.”

“This also gives Art the opportunity to work directly with a position group that he has coached successfully for most of his career,” Dykes added.

Dykes will continue to coach the Bears’ outside receivers.