Cal basketball: Tyson Jolly asks out of letter-of-intent

A bad week for Cal basketball got worse Sunday when four-star shooting guard Tyson Jolly asked to be released from the letter-of-intent he signed in November.

Jolly, who played this season at Elev8 Sports Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, announced his change-of-heart on Twitter.

“Given the uncertainty at Cal, I have decided 2 ask out of my LOI and re-open my recruitment. This was not an easy decision, but the right 1,” he tweeted.

Jolly was referencing the firing last Monday of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel, who was found to have sexually harassed a female reporter, and a subsequent announcement by the university to review whether head coach Cuonzo Martin reported the incident to the athletic department in a timely fashion.

Jolly later added via Twitter: “I do whatever I want! I realized I was going to get criticized regardless so why worry about it.”

Seeded No. 4 in the NCAA tournament, the Bears dropped their opening game Thursday to Hawaii.

Jolly, who originally signed with Cal in November 2014 then decided to spend a year at prep school, was the Bears’ only signed recruit in this year’s class.

Cal also has an oral commitment from Dontae Coleman, a point guard from Lawson State Community College from Birmingham, Alabama.


Cal football: Ex-Texas A&M O-lineman joins Bears

Offensive lineman Jeremiah Stuckey, a Pacifica native and recent graduate of Texas A&M, has signed a financial aid agreement to play football for Cal next season as a graduate transfer.

Stuckey, a 6-foot-4, 300-pounder, saw action in 14 games over two seasons, starting five times at left guard in 2015. Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he expects Stuckey to be healthy for the start of fall camp.

Stuckey played for the Aggies under offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who now holds that position at Cal.

Previously, he played at City College of San Francisco, helping his team into the California state title game as a freshman in 2012.


Cal football: Quarterback Jared Goff shows he can fire a wet football at pro day

Staff writer Dan Brown covered Cal’s pro day today while I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament. Here’s his report on Jared Goff’s day in front of the NFL scouts:

On an otherwise gray, cool day at Memorial Stadium, it rained specifically for Jared Goff.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton made sure of that by dousing a few footballs with water before handing them to the Cal quarterback.

It was a Pro Day wrinkle designed to see if Goff — and his reportedly small hands — could throw with velocity and accuracy in adverse weather conditions.

Goff launched the wet ones just fine, including a 45-yard deep shot on the final throw of his session Friday in front of NFL draft evaluators.

Asked later about the wet footballs, Goff saw the sunny side.

“Yeah, growing up in California, they probably wanted to see that,” the Novato native and former Marin Catholic High star said. “That makes sense.

“At the same time, I’ve played in cold weather before. I wouldn’t be the first quarterback to go from California to cold weather. I think Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have done pretty well.”

The Browns have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on April 28 and are believed to also be considering North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson, a former Cal offensive coordinator, was on hand Friday for Goff’s workout.

Also in attendance was 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, whose team has the No. 7 overall pick.\

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Cal basketball notebook: Jaylen Brown shoulders blame

Jaylen Brown called it “a humbling moment, truly.”

The Cal forward and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year took the heat for the Bears’ 77-66 first-round NCAA tournament loss to Hawaii on Friday.

“A lot of the blame is on me,” he said.

Certainly Brown didn’t skirt the issue after shooting 1 for 6 and scoring a season-low four points to go with seven turnovers. He fouled out with 6:22 left.

Rated as one of the nation’s elite recruits last spring, Brown said he chose Cal with a vision of doing something really big his freshman season.

“I expected us to win it all. That was my goal,” he said. “I didn’t do what it takes to help my team get over the hump.”

Instead, the Atlanta native, who this week was voted Freshman All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers, skidded to the finish line of what is expected to be his lone college season. Brown shot just 10 for 48 and averaged just 8.2 points the final five games.

“I’ve just got to get better. Point-blank, period. Got to get better,” he said, adding that he hasn’t given any thought yet to whether he will enter the NBA draft.

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Cal basketball: How much change is coming for Bears after sudden March Madness exit?

No one in the Cal locker room was saying so, but Friday felt like the end of an era.

A very short era.

Where the Bears go from here is anyone’s guess after a disappointing and sudden end to their season with a 77-66 loss to underdog Hawaii in the opening round of the NCAA tournament at the Spokane Arena.

Do freshman Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb exit for the NBA draft?

Neither was ready to address the topic after the game, but both are projected as lottery picks and few anticipate they will remain at Berkeley.

Does second-year coach Cuonzo Martin return?

Amid an expanding campus inquiry into his response to a scandal that led to assistant coach Yann Hufnagel’s firing Monday for sexual harassment of a female reporter, no one can predict the next chapter of his career.

Even, perhaps, Martin, who sounded largely unrattled by everything that transpired all week.

“My situation will be what I determine it will be, so I am fine,” he said. “If you’re talking about Ivan and Jaylen, there’s plenty of time to talk about whatever they decide to do.”

The avalanche of bad news for Cal continued Friday, two days after senior point guard Tyrone Wallace broke his hand in practice, ending his college career.

Jabari Bird, the Bears’ other starting guard, was unable to play because of back spasms that first developed during a light Thursday practice, then worsened before the game.

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Cal basketball: A shocking and sudden end to Bears’ season — a 77-66 loss to Hawaii

A Cal basketball season that began with almost limitless optimism crashed to a sudden and shocking end Friday after a 77-66 defeat to Hawaii in the opening round of the NCAA tournament at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday.

Almost certainly the game marked the end of the brief college careers of freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, a pair of top-10 national recruits, whose arrival last spring sent expectations for the program soaring.

Also cloudy is the future of second-year coach Cuonzo Martin, whose team was 14th in the AP preseason poll and arrived in Spokane ranked No. 23 nationally and seeded fourth in the NCAA’s South Region.

The entire week was a nightmare for the Bears, and there was more bad news just prior to tipoff when starting guard Jabari Bird went to the locker room with back spasms. One of the team’s hottest players in recent weeks, the junior from Salesian High never played in Cal’s first NCAA game since 2013.

The Bears (23-11) already were at a manpower deficit because starting point guard Tyrone Wallace broke his hand in practice on Wednesday and did not make the trip. With Bird also out, Cal’s entire starting backcourt was shelved.

But Cal had bigger problems still leading into the game.

Assistant coach Yann Hufnagel was fired Monday after a long campus investigation which showed he sexually harassed a female reporter. Questions followed about whether Martin reported the issue promptly, with the university announcing it would conduct a broader review of the entire process.

By game time, Cal simply did not have enough answers for Hawaii (28-5), underdog champs of the Big West Conference. Quincy Smith and Roderick Bobbitt, a pair of East Bay natives, led the Warriors to their first-ever NCAA victory by scoring 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Cal junior Jordan Mathews, starting in Bird’s place, played aggressively and scored 23 points. Rabb, the former Bishop O’Dowd High star who is projected as an NBA lottery pick, had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Sam Singer, who replaced Wallace at the point, scored a season-high 12 points before fouling out in the final minute.

Brown’s afternoon was a disaster. He scored just four points on 1-for-6 shooting and had seven turnovers before fouling out wth 6:22 left. Considered a potential top-5 pick in the NBA draft, the 6-foot-7 forward from Atlanta finished the season by making just 10 of 48 shots over the Bears’ final five games.

Brown sat expressionless on the bench as the game’s final minutes ticked away.

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Cal basketball: How Bears, Rainbow Warriors compare

How Cal and Hawaii match up in their NCAA tournament opening-round game on Friday:

TIPOFF: Friday, 11 a.m. at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Washington.


RECORDS: No. 4 seed Cal is 23-10 overall, 12-6/tied for third in Pac-12; No. 13 Hawaii is 27-5, 13-3/tied 1st in Big West.

WHAT’S NEXT: Winner faces the winner of No. 5 seed Maryland vs. No. 12 South Dakota State on Sunday, tba.

VS. THE 2016 NCAA FIELD: Cal 7-7. Hawaii 1-2.

ALL-TIME NCAA RECORD: Cal, playing in its 19th NCAA tournament, is 20-18, including 12-6 in the first round. Hawaii, playing in its 5th NCAAs, is 0-4 with an average margin of defeat of 15.8 points.

CAL VS. HAWAII: Cal leads 11-1. The Bears won 73-57 at Berkeley in the 1989 NIT in their only postseason meeting. Hawaii’s only victory in the series came during the 1971-72 season.

TOP PLAYERS: Cal – SF Jaylen Brown (6-7 freshman) 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds; SG Jordan Mathews (6-3 junior) 13.2 points, .417 3-point; PF Ivan Rabb (6-11 freshman) 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds. Hawaii — PF Stefan Jankovic (6-11 junior) 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds; SG Aaron Valdes 6-5 junior) 14.6 points, 5.5 rebounds; PG Roderick Bobbitt (6-3 senior) 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists.

CAL NOTES: Junior Sam Singer will start at PG for senior Tyrone Wallace, who broke his right hand in practice Wednesday and is out for the NCAA tournament. Singer averaged 5.0 assists in his eight starts. . . The Bears are ranked No. 23 in both the AP and coaches top-25 polls. . . . Cal leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (67.0 points per game allowed), field-goal percentage defense (39.3) and fewest 3-pointers allowed per game (5.5). . . . Cal, which completed an 18-0 home schedule, is 5-10 in neutral and road games. . . . Jaylen Brown was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Freshman All-America team.

HAWAII NOTES: Hawaii is 18-102 all-time vs. nationally ranked opponents. . . . Former Saint Mary’s assistant Eran Ganot, with 27 wins, passed legends Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olson for most victories by a Big West coach in his rookie season. . . . The Rainbow Warriors have tied the school for wins in a season set in 2001-02. . . . Castro Valley High grad Roderick Bobbitt is trying to become the first player to lead the Big West in assists and steals two years in a row.


Cal basketball: Bears ready to leave behind off-court issues, take on Hawaii in NCAA tournament

The mood of the Cal basketball team on the eve of its first NCAA game since 2013 was a reflection of the approach set Thursday by coach Cuonzo Martin.

After four days of controversy and the loss of starting point guard Tyrone Wallace to injury, the fourth-seeded Golden Bears (23-10) finally get down to the business of basketball when they face Hawaii (27-5) in a first-round South Regional matchup in the NCAA tournament.

The firing of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel because of a sexual harassment scandal and the sudden loss of leading scorer Wallace to a broken hand have shifted the headlines from on the court to off it.

Outwardly, Martin was cool and collected Thursday, sounding a business-as-usual tone in the wake of one of the most disturbing and unfortunate few days in recent Cal basketball history.

Martin fielded questions about the Hufnagel situation and potential fallout that could lead to the head coach’s office.

The second-year coach expressed disappointment for Wallace, who returned to school this season so that he could experience the NCAAs again. But he broke his right hand during practice on Wednesday before the team departed for Spokane and remained behind in Berkeley.

“We talk about how things happen in life, whether it’s basketball, the classroom, family members,” Martin said of how he addressed the issues with his players. “It’s a bump in the road, you keep moving forward. We don’t spend a lot of time on it. We’re not consumed by it. We talk about it, deal with it. That’s life.”

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s in the past,” junior guard Jordan Mathews said of the week’s events. “We’ve got to focus on Hawaii.”

The players were coached on how to respond to reporters’ questions Thursday, and they all said pretty much the same thing that Mathews did — Hufnagel’s firing will not be a distraction when the Bears play Hawaii.

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Cal basketball: Bears expecting success despite loss of PG Tyrone Wallace

Cal junior Jordan Mathews said it’s up to everyone on the team to fill the void for injured point guard Tyrone Wallace when the Bears face Hawaii on Friday in their NCAA tournament opener.

“He averaged 15, 5 and 5,” Jordan said of Wallace’s contributions scoring, rebounding and assists. “So we’re going to have to pick up the slack in all those areas.”

Wallace, the team’s leading scorer and a 2015 first-team All-Pac-12 selection, broke his right hand in practice Wednesday before the team traveled to Spokane.

Wallace did not make the trip with his teammates, staying behind to get medical treatment.

“Tyrone just really wanted to make sure the hand is OK,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin explained. “That was the biggest reason Tyrone is at home.”

Wallace previously broke a different bone in the same hand on Jan. 17, and missed five games. The Bears went 3-2 over that stretch, including a win over Arizona.

Junior Sam Singer will replace Wallace in the starting lineup, as he did two months ago, with freshman small forward Jaylen Brown available to slide into the position as well. Seldom-used sophomore Brandon Chauca also plays point guard.

“Big-time confidence in Sam,” Mathews said. “We saw it earlier in the year when Tyrone broke his hand the first time. Sam took the reins and there was very little dropoff.”

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Cal basketball: Cuonzo Martin says scandal won’t be a distraction in NCAA opener

On the eve of his team’s opening game in the NCAA tournament, Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said the firing of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel will not be a distraction or obstacle for the Bears.

Martin took at least a half-dozen questions related to the scandal that broke Monday, and did his best to calmly deflect them while painting a picture of focus in his team’s locker room.

“We talk about how things happen in life, whether it’s basketball, the classroom, family members,” he said of how he addressed the issue with his players this week. “It’s a bump in the road, you keep moving forward.

“We don’t spend a lot of time on it. We’re not consumed by it. We talk about it, deal with it, that’s life.”

Hufnagel was fired following a campus investigation in which he acknowledged inappropriate dealings with a female reporter. The university has since said it will review the entire situation, including whether Martin promptly reported the news to the university after learning what happened.

“I’m not going to deal with that right now because we’re playing in the NCAA tournament. It’s a university issue right now,” he said during a podium interview. “Right now the biggest concern is our basketball team in the NCAA tournament.”

Asked if he’s concerned there could be fallout that could put his own job in jeopardy, Martin said it’s not his priority right now.

“I don’t worry about those things, to be totally honest with you,” he said. “My job with this basketball team is to win games, graduate young men and develop young men. Anything else is a waste of time.”

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