Football: Avery Sebastian to transfer for senior year

Cal redshirt junior safety Avery Sebastian, plagued by injury the past two seasons and due to graduate in two weeks, said Friday he will transfer to play his senior season and pursue a post-graduate degree at another school.

“I loved it here at Cal,” Sebastian said in a phone interview. “I always have to look ahead and do what’s best. After reviewing my four years at Cal, talking with my family and friends, this is the best decision. I’m just excited about the future.

Sebastian, 21, played just seven games this fall because of nagging quadriceps injury. He tore his Achilles tendon in the 2013 opener and missed the rest of the season.

A native of McDonough, Georgia, Sebastian said he’s open to play anywhere that fits his football skills and his desire to earn a Masters degree in communications or sports management.

Because he graduates this month with a sociology degree, Sebastian will be eligible to play next season without sitting out.

“Avery Sebastian has been an outstanding representative of the University of California and our football program both on and off the field since his arrival at Cal,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “I congratulate Avery on graduating from the No. 1 public university in the nation in four years and wish him nothing but the best in all of his future pursuits.”

Sebastian leaves despite what he called “an awesome experience” at Berkeley.

“The Bay Area has a lot of things that attract people,” he said. “I had a great time here. It really helped me mature, being away from home. I had great teammates, a great experience. I had everything.”

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Football: Bucs release Jeff Tedford from contract

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford from his contract Friday, allowing the former Cal head coach to pursue other opportunities.

Might those other opportunities include possible interest in vacant jobs at Oregon State or Colorado State? Other collegiate head coaching positions may also become available.

Tedford, 53, underwent a coronary angioplasty prior to the NFL season and was granted an indefinite leave of absence shortly thereafter. Former Cal and San Jose State assistant coach Marcus Arroyo has served as interim offensive coordinator.

“Throughout these difficult circumstances, our primary concern was for Jeff’s health and well-being,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said in a statement released by the club.

“After speaking with Jeff in recent days, it became obvious that a mutual decision to release him from his contract was the best way forward. We wish Jeff continued success in the next phase of his career.”

Tedford coached at Cal for 11 seasons through 2012 and is the school’s winningest coach with 82 victories.

After taking off the 2013 season, Tedford was hired to handle Tampa Bay’s offense. Health issues derailed that move almost before it got started.

Tedford thanked Smith and everyone in the Bucs organization in a statement, and said his health is better.

“When my health issues arose, I simply tried to ignore them and then I made the mistake of twice trying to come back too early,” he said. “At that point, the organization proposed, and I agreed, that an indefinite leave of absence would allow me the proper amount of time to rest and rehabilitate myself.

“I am happy to state that I’m healthy now and feeling great.”

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Basketball: Why RPI ratings don’t matter on Dec. 5

How concerned should Cal fans be that the Bears, with a 6-1 record, are No. 103 in the NCAA’s official RPI rankings that were released on Thursday?

Hint No. 1: Green Bay is ranked No. 2, one spot ahead of Kentucky, which would win a head-to-head matchup by 55 points. At least.

Hint No. 2: Sacramento State, whose 4-2 record includes two non-Division I wins and a 56-point loss to Gonzaga, is rated No. 27. Ahead of all but one team from the Pac-12.

That’s right, breathe easy.

Rankings this early in the season, with such a small sample size, mean nothing.

Does anyone really believe there are 12 better teams than Arizona in the country?

For what they’re worth – and we’ve established what that is – here are the RPI rankings for Pac-12 teams: 13. Arizona; 48. Colorado; 58. Utah; 61. Washington; 70. Stanford; 102. Oregon; 103. Cal; 121. USC; 154. UCLA; 155. Arizona State; 245. Oregon State; 271. Washington State.

It’s a long season, and the computer ratings will gradually shake out properly.

Up next for the Bears: Sunday vs. Nevada in Reno. The game won’t do much for Cal’s strength of scheduled — Nevada is No. 305 in this week’s RPI.


Basketball: Ryan Anderson Q&A

Here is more from my Wednesday night interview with former Cal star and New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson at Haas Pavilion:

What’s it like to be back at Haas?

“It’s the first time I’ve been to a game here. Man, just sitting with Omar Wilkes, we were just talking about how much we miss that community, being around so many great friends and being able to play the game, walk home together, grab a bite to eat, talk about the game. I miss that community a lot. It’s all business now.

“What’s hard is this is my seventh year gone. They’ve gone by so fast and so much has happened. It gives me that sentimental feeling walking through here, old memories. I get that sentimental feeling like, `Man, I wish I could just teleport and go back to college.’ ”

How are you playing right now?

“The important thing is just being consistent and confident. Consistent doesn’t always mean the ball is going in the hoop every night. I just want to play confidently.  I always feel like I can play better, but I think I’m finding my way.”

How big was the Pelicans’ win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night?

“Showed us the way we need to play. When we’ve won big games like that, it’s because we’ve played with that energy and moved the ball the way we have. We started the season off really well as a group, then had a shaky time. We’re still coming together as a new team. For me, I’m trying to feel my role out. I think everyone else is, too.”

How good can Anthony Davis become?

“I have no idea. How can he be much better than he is? He’s barely scratched the surface. It’s exciting watching him play every night. He’s incredible and he’s 21.He’s a humble guy and he works his butt off.”

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Basketball: Ryan Anderson finds a purpose in tragedy

Ryan Anderson wants you to know he is OK.

And he wants you to talk about a subject that will make you uncomfortable: suicide.

“This needs to be talked about,” Anderson said. “This is something that happens. And it’s taboo in this country we live in.”

It happened to Anderson, the 26-year-old former Cal basketball star and forward for the New Orleans Pelicans. Sixteen months ago, his girlfriend, Gia Allemand, took her life.

At Haas Pavilion on Wednesday night, on the eve of facing the Warriors, Anderson watched Cal play for the first time since entering the NBA in 2008. He was smiling, laughing, embracing old friends.

“It’s been a pretty crazy rollercoaster of a time,” he said during an interview in the building where he blossomed into a first-round draft pick after just two college seasons. “Coming back here, it’s kind of that innocent-to-the-world ride. Like, how the heck did I get here?”

Anderson he is a different man now than when he left the Bay Area. His game is coming back to him after last season was cut short by a freakish spinal injury that required neck surgery.

Anderson also has had to grapple with a tragedy that he hopes people never experience, but one that kills more Americans each year than car accidents.

Anderson and Allemand met in the Bahamas during the 2011-12 NBA All-Star break. She was a model and a popular contestant on the TV reality show, “The Bachelor.” Their relation grew serious.

But Anderson didn’t know Gia suffered from depression, perhaps triggered partly by a condition called premenstrual disphoric disorder (PMDD), which can lead to severe mood swings.

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Basketball: Cal vs. Montana game thread

There was a lot not to like about the way Cal played in a 78-76 double-overtime win over Montana on Wednesday night.
“Whatever the mistakes may have been,” coach Cuonzo Martin said, “I’d rather watch film after a W than an L.”

The Bears (6-1) survived 22 turnovers and a spirited effort by the Grizzlies (2-4), who arrived on the heels of a 19-point loss to USF and nearly gave first-year coach and former Cal aide Travis DeCuire a huge victory in his homecoming to Haas Pavilion.

David Kravish scored six points in the second overtime, including the decisive putback with 29.5 seconds left.

Tyrone Wallace had a monster game with 22 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and five assists, but he missed two foul shots with 6.5 seconds remaining in the second overtime and the Bears up by just two points.

Freshman guard Brandon Chauca, who gave Cal a nice lift in his first game since being ruled eligible, then inexplicably fouled Montana’s Jordan Gregory with 4.7 seconds left.

Did Chauca think the Bears were up by three points?

“I haven’t asked him what happened,” Martin said. “That’s more me as a coach, making it clear to everybody what the time and score was.”

Gregory missed both free throws – the second one intentionally – and Jermaine Edmonds could not get a last-second 3-pointer to fall.

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Women’s basketball: Boyd, Gray lead high-scoring win

Seniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray put up huge numbers and the No. 10 Cal women (7-0) posted a 107-94 win over Sacramento State (1-5) on Wednesday at Haas Pavilion.

Boyd had her second triple-double of the season (the third of her career) with 11 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and 16 assists, matching a Cal school record in the latter category. She also had four steals.

Gray scored a season-high 37 points to go with 10 rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals.

The Bears, who are averaging 103.7 points over their past three games, also got 21 points from Courtney Range and 14 each from Mercedes Jefflo and Brittany Shine.

Cal returns to action on the road Sunday against Kansas at famed Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff is 3 p.m. on FoxSports1.


Basketball: Bears return home to face ex-aide Travis DeCuire, Montana . . . likely without ailing Jabari Bird

Cal (5-1) faces Montana (2-3) on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion in a homecoming game for ex-Bears associate head coach Travis DeCuire. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

Seems likely the Bears will be without sophomore guard Jabari Bird, who sustained a foot injury during Sunday’s 64-57 win at Fresno State and watched practice Tuesday from the side while wearing a protective boot.

Coach Cuonzo Martin told reporters after practice that Bird “felt a little pain” in his foot Sunday, but stopped short of declaring him out for Wednesday night. “He’s day to day,” Martin said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Martin declined to provide details when asked about the nature of the injury. Bird scored just four points at Fresno State, shooting 1 for 9 from the field. He’s averaging 11.7 for the season.

If Bird does not play, point guard Sam Singer or wing Roger Moute a Bidias will start.

Cal gets some reinforcements in the backcourt just in time as freshman guard Brandon Chauca is eligible to make his college debut. Chauca sat out the Bears’ first six games while awaiting clearance from the NCAA.

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Football: Goff, Lasco, 5 others named honorable mention

Quarterback Jared Goff and running back Daniel Lasco were among seven Cal players named honorable mention all-Pac-12 selections by the league’s coaches.

Other Cal players chosen were tight end Stephen Anderson, linebacker Michael Barton, offensive guard Chris Borrayo, defensive tackle Austin Clark and all-around/special teams player Bryce McGovern.

One interesting omission – wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who caught 54 passes for 701 yards and nine touchdowns, despite missing a game with injury.

Cal had no players selected to the first or second team.

Goff set single-season school records with 3,973 passing yards and 35 touchdown passes, both among the top marks in the nation. Lasco rushed for 1,115 yards, including five 100-yard games, and scored 14 touchdowns.

Anderson, a former walkon, slid from wideout to tight end and caught 46 passes for 661 yards and five touchdowns. Borrayo started 11 of 12 games at left guard for an offense that ranks 12th nationally at 38.3 points per game.

Barton led the Bears with 80 tackles, including 7.5 for losses, and Clark anchored a defensive line that improved from 86th to 38th nationally at defending the run.

McGovern was a standout on five of Cal’s six special team units, finishing with 27 tackles and the team’s lone blocked punt.


Women’s basketball: Bears host school kids before facing Sacramento State

More than 2,000 East Bay elementary and middle school students will make a special field trip to Haas Pavilion on Wednesday morning for “School Haas Rock,” an educational assembly preceding the 10th-ranked Cal women’s 11 a.m. game against Sacramento State.

Doors will open at Haas at 9:30 a.m. in advance a pre-game assembly at 10:20 a.m. Scheduled to appear at the event are David Surratt, Associate Dean of Students at UC Berkeley, former Golden Bear and current WNBA player Layshia Clarendon, members of the Cal spirit groups and the Cal Steel Bridge Team.

“It’s a really important part of our mission as a program to be involved with our community,” California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “’School Haas Rock’ is going to be an amazing event that allows our team to impact and inspire the youth of Berkeley, Oakland and the surrounding areas.

“Our student-athletes love getting out into the community and interacting with our fans, particularly kids. Wednesday will allow us to bring the kids into our environment, have them see campus, cheer on some exciting Cal Bear basketball, and walk away having had an experience that will continue to impact them positively even after the game is over.”

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