Swimming: Franklin, McKeever earn Pac-12 honors

Sophomore Missy Franklin and coach Teri McKeever, who led the Cal women’s swim team to Pac-12 and NCAA championships, were named Swimmer of the Year and Coach of the Year in the Pac-12.

Franklin won the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke and swam a leg on the victorious 200 free relay and 800 free relay at the NCAA meet. Her 200 free time of 1:39.10 broke the American record by more than a second. Franklin was recognized as the NCAA Swimmer of the Year for her efforts.

“It’s an honor to be named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year,” Franklin said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the season from both an individual and team standpoint. Cal’s win at NCAA Championships was truly a team effort and we didn’t just come together as a team, but we came together as a family. I am so grateful to have such wonderful teammates and an amazing coach staff.”

McKeever is the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career. Under her directions, the Bears won their fourth NCAA Championship in March, setting a school record with 513 points.


Football: UC Davis, Cal Poly added to future schedules

Cal has completed its 2019 and 2020 nonconference football schedules by adding home games against UC Davis and Cal Poly.

The Bears will face Davis in their season opener on Aug. 31, 2019, and will play Cal Poly on Sept. 12, 2020.

Cal is 9-0 all-time vs. Davis, all of the games in Berkeley. This will be the Bears’ first game against Cal Poly.

Here are Cal’s future nonconference schedules:

2015 – Grambling State (Sept. 5); San Diego State (Sept. 12); at Texas (Sept. 19)
2016 – South Dakota (Sept. 3); at San Diego State (Sept. 10); Texas (Sept. 17)
2017 – at North Carolina (Sept. 2); Weber State (Sept. 9); Mississippi (Sept. 16)
2018 – North Carolina (Sept. 1); at BYU (Sept. 8); Idaho State (Sept. 15)
2019 – UC Davis (Aug. 31); San Jose State (Sept. 14); at Mississippi (Sept. 21)
2020 – TCU (Sept. 5); Cal Poly (Sept. 12); at Auburn (Sept. 19)
2021 – at TCU (Sept. 11); Auburn (Sept. 18); 1 TBA


Football: Wide receiver Chris Harper remains confident his decision to enter the NFL draft was correct

Former Cal wide receiver Chris Harper, in his first public remarks about his decision to leave school a year early for the NFL draft, said Tuesday he was concerned his production would drop in the Bears’ diverse offense.

“The fact that there’s a lot of receivers and the ball’s going to be spread around a lot more, just like it was this year,” Harper said after participating in Cal’s Pro Day workout in front of scouts from 29 NFL teams.

“It was more about my draft stock. I feel like next year it wouldn’t have been as high. With my production dropping every year, going into next year I wouldn’t have had as many balls or as many opportunities as I’ve had these last couple years.”

Harper caught 41 passes as a freshman in former coach Jeff Tedford’s offense, then had 70 and 52 catches the past two seasons playing in coach Sonny Dykes’ pass-oriented attack. He caught 11 touchdown passes the past two seasons.

Cal returns the rest of its receiving corps next season, including Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs.

Harper made what he called an “educated decision” to leave Cal after talking with family and mentors. He did not involve Cal’s coaching staff in the conversation. “No, because I felt it was my decision,” he said.

Harper said he was surprised and disappointed when he was not among the 44 receivers invited to the NFL combine last month in Indianapolis. But he remains confident he will be selected somewhere between the third and seventh rounds in the NFL draft, which begins April 30.

The website NFLDraftScout.com rates Harper as the No. 48 receiver prospect.

Harper, joined by six other former Cal players who were measured and tested in various areas at Pro Day, thought he fared well. He said he did 11 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and had a 35-inch vertical leap. His 40-yard dash times were in the low 4.5-second range.

“I dropped a ball — I was pretty frustrated by that,” he said. “Other than that I think I tested really well.”

Harper’s agent, Los Angeles-based Jerome Stanley, said neither Pro Day nor the draft will dictate Harper’s future as a professional football player.

“Chris is the kind of guy that’s successful in the NFL,” Stanley said. “It’s not a draft thing, it’s a can-you-play thing.”

Other former Cal players who participated at Pro Day were safety Michael Lowe, offensive lineman Alejandro Crosthwaite, defensive end Harrison Wilfley, kickers James Langford and Vincenzo D’Amato and long snapper John Sheperdson.


Football: Cal’s pro day set for Tuesday morning

Cal’s pro day workout will be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

The workouts, in front of NFL scouts, are open to the public and free.

Cal players who have completed their collegiate career are eligible to compete. Expected participants include Alejandro Crosthwaite, Vincenzo D’Amato, Chris Harper, James Langford, Michael Lowe, John Sheperdson and Harrison Wilfley.


Football: Brennan Scarlett statement

Here is a statement from Brennan Scarlett, explaining his decision to transfer to play his senior football season at Stanford:

I have made many great memories here at Cal, with secial thanks to my brothers with whom I have had the pleasure to share my blood, sweat and tears. It is a brotherhood unlike anything else I have been a part of, and I am very thankful to them all. In addition, I would like to thank the Cal football staff: coaches, academic advisors, trainers, and doctors. I also would like to thank the Walter A. Haas School of Business and all of the professors and counselors. All of these people have been a fundamental part of my amazing experience at Cal, as I have always been supported both athletically and academically. Overall, I would like to thank the University of California, Berkeley community as a whole for four incredible years. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have attended and to graduate from such an amazing institution.

As has been reported, I am leaving Cal following my graduation from the Haas School of Business in May. I have been accepted into the Stanford University Master’s of Management Science and Engineering program and I am intending to begin in the autumn quarter of 2015. This is a tremendous opportunity that I am very proud to have, as it is in alignment with my career goals and academic interests. It is a one year program that does not require prior work experience and allows me to potentially complete before I begin my life-long dream of playing in the National Football League. In addition, I also intend to play my last year of eligibility for the Stanford football program. Interestingly enough my brother, Cameron Scarlett, will also be attending Stanford as a freshman this Fall. This makes my intentions family-oriented as well, but the motivation is mainly educational and career-based. It is a unique fit that allows me to pursue my aspirations in the two equally important aspects of my life, football and academics.

I am not oblivious to the fact that my decision may not be taken very graciously by all. Regardless of the response to my decision, whether positive or negative, I believe it shows the passion that flows throughout the Cal community. It is a passion that I appreciate and will carry with me through my life journey.

Good luck to the squad. Thanks for the memories.

Much Love,
Brennan Scarlett


Football: AD says Cal won’t block Scarlett’s transfer

Cal will not stand in Brennan Scarlett’s way of transferring to play his senior football season at rival Stanford, interim athletic director Michael Williams said Tuesday.

“Cal athletics will support Brennan’s request,” Williams wrote in an email reply to questions from this newspaper.

The day after Cal football coach Sonny Dykes tersely confirmed that Scarlett will transfer, Williams took a different tone, offering the defensive end best wishes at his next stop.

Scarlett is expected to wind up at rival Stanford, where his brother, running back Cameron Scarlett, will be a freshman next fall.

Because Scarlett is graduating with a year of football eligibility remaining, he could play immediately at his next school. But he still will need Cal to sign a waiver, allowing him to make an intra-conference transfer.

Williams said the athletic department will grant Scarlett that waiver.

“Brennan Scarlett will be completing his degree and graduating from the Haas School of Business this spring,” Williams said. “We are proud of his efforts in the classroom and on the field (especially having to battle back from the injuries he sustained during his playing career).

“Brennan is a young man with tremendous character and has represented our program well. We understand he has chosen to pursue his master’s degree at another university and play his final year of eligibility alongside his younger brother.”

Dykes was a bit less gracious Monday after the team’s first spring practice. Asked about Scarlett, who has been plagued by injury the past couple seasons, Dykes said, “Gone.”

Pressed on whether Cal would sign a waiver to release him to Stanford, Dykes added, “Don’t know anything about it. Don’t care. Don’t know.”

Williams said he appreciates why Scarlett would want to make the move, even to Cal’s longtime rival.

“We, too, value the importance of family and understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him to compete on the same team with his brother,” Williams said. “Brennan has a bright future ahead of him and we wish him the best in his new endeavor.”


Football: Will Cal sign off on Scarlett transfer?

Coach Sonny Dykes gave terse answers after Monday’s first spring practice when asked about defensive end Brennan Scarlett’s transfer, ostensibly to Stanford.

“Gone,” Dykes said, when initially asked about Scarlett.

Pressed on whether Cal would sign an intra-conference waiver, allowing Scarlett to make the move, Dykes said, “Don’t know anything about it. Don’t care. Don’t know.”

Hard to blame him. It’s a natural reaction, especially in the heat of the moment.

But what will Cal do going forward? Will the Bears sign off on one of their potentially best players transferring to their rival school? Should they?

I have texted interim athletic director Michael Williams, asking him if the university has signed the waiver or what it will do if/when presented that paperwork.

Sure, if Scarlett does end up at Stanford — as all believe — where his brother is an incoming freshman running back, the move makes sense from Scarlett’s point of view on a family basis.  Who could blame him from wanting to play a season alongside his sibling?

Well, Cal fans will blame him, no doubt. You want to spend time with your brother? That’s what Thanksgiving is for, Old Blues might say.

Sounds like Dykes is in no mood to celebrate the family reunion, especially if it means the Bears might be lining up against their former player in the Big Game on Nov. 21 at Stanford.

Here’s the question: Does Cal come off looking petty if it blocks the move?

Or are the Bears correct if they decide they’re not helping their rival gain an edge at their expense?


Basketball: Wallace thanks teammates for all-Pac-12

Cal junior Tyrone Wallace said he doesn’t think most people expected he could earn first-team all-Pac-12 honors this season, but stressed he didn’t do it flying solo.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” Wallace said. “It just goes to show that with hard work you can accomplish pretty much anything. I mean, I don’t think anybody probably thought I would be first-team Pac. I worked hard.

“My teammates helped me get there, coaches trusting me also helped me get there. Just very appreciative.”

Cal coach Counzo Martin said he would have been surprised had Wallace not received the honor from the league’s coaches.

“I’m happy for him, he earned it,” Martin said. “When you’re in the top five in scoring, rebounding and assists in any league . . . that’s just a credit to his work and his ability to make plays.”

Wallace finished the regular season ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.2), fourth in rebounding (7.3) and fifth in assists (3.84).  No other player in the conference was among the top-10 in all three categories.

“What he doesn’t get a lot of credit for is transitioning into a point guard at this level against this type of competition,” said Martin, alluding to the fact that the 6-foot-5 junior played shooting guard a year ago. “To do it night in, night out, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

Wallace was home when he found out through social media that he’d made the all-conference team. He got phone calls from his dad, friends and former coaches.

“I’m happy to have that support back home,” he said. “It was a proud moment.”