Cal basketball: JC point guard makes it official

Don Coleman, a freshman point guard at Lawson State, a junior college in Birmingham, Alabama, signed his letter-of-intent to play for Cal, according to media sources.

Cal was yet to make an official announcement.

Coleman, who committed to the Bears during the season, will come to Berkeley next fall with three years of eligibility. He is expected to compete with Sam Singer for the starting point guard position.

A 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, Coleman averaged 20 points, 6.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds and shot 43 percent from the 3-point arc.


Cal football: Chase Forrest, Ross Bowers in front of QB race; Luke Rubenzer back on defense

With the end of spring workouts just five days off, the quarterback picture at Cal is coming into better focus.

And it’s not.

Coach Sonny Dykes acknowledged after Monday’s workout that redshirt sophomore Chase Forrest and redshirt freshman Ross Bowers have moved ahead of the crowd and are getting the most practice reps.

At the same time, junior Luke Rubenzer has asked to move back to safety after spending all of spring so far at quarterback. Rubenzer played QB as a freshman in 2014, then switched to defense last fall when it was clear he would not get much opportunity behind starter Jared Goff.

“Same deal, he just wants to help the team and feels like he has a better chance to do it there than he did at quarterback,” Dykes said.

There is at least one additional open spot at safety right now after senior Damariay Drew injured his knee last week. Drew is expected to undergo surgery in two weeks or so, although Dykes has not provided details on the nature of the injury.

Meanwhile, true freshman quarterback Max Gilliam is making sure neither Forrest nor Bowers gets too comfortable as the frontrunners.

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Cal basketball: Ex-aide Yann Hufnagel hired by Nevada

Former Cal basketball assistant coach Yann Hufnagel has a new job.

The day after he resigned his position at Cal amid an investigation of sexual harassment, Hufnagel was hired Friday as an assistant at the University of Nevada.

Cal announced Hufnagel’s dismissal on March 14, four days before the Bears opened play in the NCAA tournament, for his alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter. He was fighting the decision until Thursday when he withdrew his appeal, citing a “toxic environment” on a campus dealing with a widespread sexual harassment scandal.

Nevada coach Eric Musselman, a former Warriors coach, defended the controversial decision to hire Hufnagael.

“I’ve known Yann for nearly a decade and and he’s always been a guy who has an unbelievable work ethic and high character,” Musselman told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I made more than 20-30 calls about him and everybody had great things to say about work ethic and character and he has a reputation for being one of the best recruiters in the country.

“Nobody can match his energy and enthusiasm and we’re excited to add him.”

In its investigation, Cal found that Hufnagel tried to lure a female reporter to his apartment and sent her sexually suggestive text messages over the course of several months.

Hufnagel was in his second season as an assistant coach to Cuonzo Martin. He was credited with having a hand in the successful recruitment of five-star prospects Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb.

Hufnagel previously worked as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt and Harvard, and served as an intern for the New Jersey Nets.


Cal football: Depth at safety to be tested if Damariay Drew’s knee injury is serious

Cal’s potential defensive renaissance took a hit this week when senior safety Damariay Drew suffered a knee injury that will require surgery and leaves his status for the fall season unclear.

Coach Sonny Dykes said Drew would have surgery within a week or two. He did not speculate on the nature or severity of the injury or Drew’s prognosis going forward.

The injury occurred during Wednesday’s spring practice.

The Bears expect their defense to be stronger this season, partly thanks for improved depth. That could be tested if Drew — one of the team’s hardest hitters and most experienced defenders — is sidelined. Senior Khari Vanderbilt was listed as Drew’s No. 2 on a spring depth chart released this week and sophomore Evan Rambo has performed well enough that he is penciled in as the other starting safety.

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Cal football: Still no separation at quarterback during lengthy spring scrimmage

Three quarterbacks got significant playing time during a 130-play scrimmage Saturday, but the occasion did little to settle who might be the frontrunner for Cal’s starting job.

“Hard to know,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ll go back and look at it.”

Chase Forrest, Ross Bowers and Zach Kline got most of the quarterback reps as the Bears emphasized creating a fast tempo.

“We want to play as fast as we ever have,” Dykes said. “We showed some signs . . . but we’ve got a long way to go.”

“Last year we were pretty fast,” Forrest said, “but this is another level.”

New offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said Luke Rubenzer and Max Gilliam — who got fewer reps Saturday — will get more opportunity later.

He called the quarterbacks’ overall performance “OK,” adding, “I think their thought process is improving.”

Forrest, a redshirt sophomore who was Jared Goff’s backup last season, is perceived to be the frontrunner for the job. But Bowers and Kline aren’t conceding anything.

Bowers, a redshirt freshman, understands the coaching staff is eager to see some separation.

“There has been urgency as soon as Jared Goff declared for the draft,” Bowers said. “As soon as he said those words, all gas, no brakes.”

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Cal football: QB competition still unsettled

Cal will scrimmage Saturday morning with the hope that its quarterback competition develops a bit more clarity. The Bears have been giving reps to five players in a spring battle to replace NFL-bound Jared Goff, but no one has yet secured the job.

“We’ll know a little bit more after (Saturday),” coach Sonny Dykes said of the 10:30 a.m. practice at Memorial Stadium that is open to the public. “We’ll have a long, extended scrimmage, put those guys in as many game situations as we can, and kind of try to evaluate it from there.”

Redshirt sophomore Chase Forrest, who was Goff’s backup last fall, often operates with the first unit and looks the part of a confident quarterback during drills.

“They’ve all had good moments. Chase to this point has probably been the most consistent,” Dykes said after Friday’s practice.

Earlier, Dykes talked about how Forrest’s demeanor is serving him well.

“He’s an emotionally mature guy,” Dykes said. “That steadiness is really important.”

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Cal football: Prolific JC linebacker to join Bears

Cal has signed Jordan Kunaszyk, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker from American River College, who will join the Bears as a sophomore in the fall.

Kunaszyk led all California JC players with 118 tackles and earned Freshman All-American and Defensive Player of the Year honors for the NorCal division of the California Community College Athletic Association.

“Jordan was as productive as any junior college linebacker in the country last season,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “He’s a good athlete with excellent size and great range. We expect him to compete for a starting spot at linebacker right away, as well as jump into the mix on special teams because of his size, strength and athleticism. Jordan is exactly the type of player we are looking for.”

A native of Roseville, led ARC to a 7-4 record and a bowl bid last season. He has three seasons to play for the Bears.


Cal basketball: Steve Kerr speaks up for Cuonzo Martin

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin got a vote of confidence Wednesday from Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose son played this season for the Golden Bears.

First, Kerr posted a note of gratitude on Twitter:

Huge thank you to @CuonzoMartin and @CalMensBBall for taking care of my son @NickKerr this season. Fantastic experience, exceptional people.

Later, during an interview session, Kerr expanded on his reasons for reaching out on Martin’s behalf.

“My son was a walk-on there this year,” Kerr said. “He had an incredible experience with his teammates, with the coaching staff, with Cuonzo. I wanted to say thanks for the season that Cal had and for the experience that my son had.

“All I wanted to vouch for is (Martin’s) character. He’s been an incredible mentor for my son, phenomenal coach and I just wanted to say thanks for that.”

Martin was in the spotlight last week after questions arose about whether he promptly reported knowledge of sexual harassment claims against assistant coach Yann Hugnagel, who was fired four days before the Bears’ NCAA tournament opener.

The university said it planned to review the entire handling of the Hufnagel situation, including Martin’s role.

“I know that the program is going through some turmoil with the issue that’s happening. I don’t have any comment on that,” Kerr said.

“I just know from my son and getting to know Cuonzo what kind of person he is, and I wanted to support him.”


Cal basketball: Can social media aid coach Cuonzo Martin? Fan creates online petition seeking support

Cal fan Erik Bruvold of San Diego started an online petition Monday in support of basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

Click here to go to Bruvold’s petition at change.org.

The petition will be delivered to Cal athletic director Mike Williams, according to the website.

Here is Bruvold’s letter to Cal chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Williams:

“The undersigned are Cal alumni, faculty, staff, and fans. We have collectively supported both the university’s athletic and academic programs with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations. Many of us have held season tickets to the Cal’s Mens Basketball for decades and it is with regards to that program that this petition is addressed.

“Many of us have personally come to know our current head coach. He has conducted himself in ways that exemplify the very best of the university and its proud traditions. While we are severely disappointed with the actions of his assistant who was terminated last week, we have all read the redacted report that was shared publicly and fully support Coach Martin’s handling of the situation.

“Given the report took eight months to generate, the fact that Coach Martin is now being separately investigated strikes us as both unnecessary and short sighted. The individual who was affected by Coach Hufnagel’s behavior was not forthcoming of details when she first reached out and upon learning those details Coach Martin took immediate and proper steps.

“Some two years ago when Coach Martin was brought to the university, Chancellor Dirks noted how impressed he was with Coach Martin’s commitment to not just balancing academic and athletic achievements but how he saw those endeavors as complementary. The academic efforts of Coach Martin’s recruits as well as the team members he inherited are testimony to how that vision has been acted upon. An 18 and 0 home record speaks for itself in respect to the team’s excellence on the court.

“The near-daily evolution of Title IX rules and administrative guidance has made it very difficult to completely understand the roles and responsibilities of reporting parties, and the myriad of types of complainants and respondents. As you know, Title IX and The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is first and foremost about protecting students who are subject to a sexually hostile campus environment. So when you have you employees, third parties, vendors and visitors to campus involved, and especially when no students are involved, the duties and obligations are not clear. Back in 2015 when this situation was happening, it was even more muddled since this area of law has changed and evolved even from that time. OCR itself has had to clarify and withdraw many of the public notices they have made. If the enforcing body is not clear about the application of its rules, how can we expect non-subject matter experts who are administrators to be held to some all-knowing, overbearing standard? Please keep in mind that no one is excusing the conduct of the assistant coach or that the complainant’s concerns were not valid. We just urge that you do not become reactionary to appease certain constituents, as it would not be just. Sanctioning Coach Martin under these set of facts, precipitating his separation from Cal, would be one of the most unfortunate outcomes we have seen at Cal. Please do not let this happen .

“We fear that if Coach Martin’s situation is not dealt with immediately, we will lose the services of a tremendous coach and representative of Cal. Student athletes will be negatively impacted as they will have had 3 Head coaches in less than four years. For many of us, our support for the university’s programs will be materially compromised and our confidence and respect for the institution as a whole will be damaged. We urge both of you to bring this matter to a close this week and publicly affirm your support for Coach Cuonzo Martin.”


Cal basketball: Mike Montgomery voted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Cal and Stanford coach Mike Montgomery has been voted into the 11th class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It is a great honor to be recognized for a job well done over a lifetime of work,” Montgomery said. “I am really honored and pleased to be included among such a special group.”

Montgomery, 69, is joined in the 2016 induction class by DePaul’s Mark Aguirre, Kansas State’s Bob Boozer, Illinois State’s Doug Collins, La Salle’s Lionel Simmons, UCLA’s Jamaal Wilkes, Georgia’s Dominique Wilkins, and fellow coaching legend Hugh Durham.

Enshrinement ceremonies will take place on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City.

Montgomery won 677 games as a college coach, directed Stanford to a Final Four appearance in 1998 and led Cal to its first conference title in 50 years in 2010. He recorded 31 winning seasons in 32 years as a coach and ranks third on the Pac-12 career victory list with 282 league victories.

In 2004, he received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award.

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