Bears Host Howard, Meet Georgia in Wooden Classic
Dec. 2, 2002
Howard Bison (1-2) at California Golden Bears (2-0)
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
John Wooden Classic
California vs. Georgia Bulldogs (1-3, at Colorado Dec. 3)
Saturday, Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m., Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, CA
TV: KRON (Channel 4)
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
After playing its first two games on the road this season, Cal finally makes its 2002-03 Haas Pavilion debut when the Golden Bears host Howard Tuesday night. However, the stay won't last long as Cal packs its bags again for the weekend with a contest against Georgia in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim.
At 2-0, the Bears can match their best start under head coach Ben Braun this week. Two more wins will make Cal 4-0, a record the Bears achieved last year on their way to a 9-1 non-conference mark and a 23-9 overall record.
So far, the Bears have received the bulk of their offensive production from expected sources. Senior F Joe Shipp is averaging a team-high 22.0 ppg after pouring in 30 Saturday night at Cleveland State. He is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor (17-31), including 4-for-6 from behind the arc.
Senior G Brian Wethers is right behind his classmate with 17.5 ppg (55.2 FG%), while sophomore F Amit Tamir led the Bears in points (20) and rebounds (12) at New Mexico, and in assists (7) in Cleveland.
On the defensive end, junior point guard A.J. Diggs has shown why he is one of the best pickpockets on the West Coast. He had an impressive four steals in the New Mexico opener, then tied Jason Kidd's school record with eight thefts vs. Cleveland State. Perhaps most importantly, five of the steals Saturday came in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime.
Freshman Richard Midgley has made the biggest impact of Cal's newcomers. Playing both guard spots, he adds an element of toughness as evidenced by his six rebounds in both games. He is also averaging 7.0 ppg and 3.0 apg.
In addition, junior F Conor Famulener, who saw limited playing time his first two seasons, is scoring at a 6.5 ppg clip in 19.5 minutes per game. He shot 5-for-6 from the floor on his way to a career-high 11 points at New Mexico.
Golden Bear Notes
Cal Escapes with 73-64 OT Win at Cleveland State
F Joe Shipp scored 30 points and PG A.J. Diggs tied a Cal record with eight steals to lead Cal to a 73-64 overtime win at Cleveland State last Saturday. The Bears built a 49-30 lead with 13:39 left in the game, only to watch the Vikings tie the score at 59-all with 45 seconds left in regulation. In the overtime, Cal scored the first five points and took a 70-62 lead on a Richard Midgley three-pointer with 53 seconds to go. Brian Wethers added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Amit Tamir tied his career high with seven assists.
Cal Hosts Latest Home Opener since 1990
When Cal plays Howard Tuesday night, the Bears will be making their latest home debut since they met San Jose State on Dec. 3, 1990 - a game Cal won, 93-53. Back in 1993, the Bears 'hosted' Santa Clara in the first round of the Preseason NIT. Although that Nov. 17 contest was played at the San Jose Arena, it was considered a home game for the Bears. Cal's first 1993-94 contest in the East Bay was a Dec. 4 date against the same Santa Clara Broncos at the Oakland Arena.
Bears Seek Fifth Consecutive Home Opening Win
Cal will be seeking its fifth straight victory in a home opener when the Bears host Howard Tuesday. Cal's last loss in its first home game came in 1998-99 when the Bears dropped a 64-61 decision to Saint Mary's. Last year, Cal defeated Princeton, 70-58, in the first round of the BCA Classic in Berkeley to begin the season.
30-Point Effort Pushes Shipp to 23rd on Scoring Chart
Senior F Joe Shipp just missed his career high when he poured in 30 points in Cal's 73-64 OT win at Cleveland State last weekend. Shipp, who tallied 19 of his total in the first half, made 12-of-18 shots from the floor, including 3-of-4 from three-point range. As a result, he moved up another two spots on Cal's career scoring list and now occupies the 23rd position with 1,078 points. With only nine more points, Shipp will bypass both Ed Gray and Andy Wolfe for 21st. Shipp established his career mark with 31 points against Fresno State on Dec. 11, 2001 when he drained a school-record nine three-pointers.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders
19. Butch Hays (1981-84) 1,14520. Andy Wolfe (1946-48) 1,11221. Ryan Drew (1988-91) 1,08622. Ed Gray (1996-97) 1,08225. Joe Shipp (2000- ) 1,078
Diggs Ties Kidd with 8 Steals at Cleveland State
Defense has always been a strong suit for junior point guard A.J. Diggs, and he has proven his point in Cal's two games this season. In the New Mexico opener, Diggs picked off four steals, blocked a shot for the first time in his career and took a charge under the basket. Then in the Bears' win at Cleveland State last Saturday, he tied the school record for steals in a game with eight - matching the total set by Jason Kidd against Washington on Jan. 28, 1993. Two of Diggs' thefts came in the final two minutes of regulation, and he added three more in overtime. Named the preseason Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year by Athlon magazine, Diggs led the Bears with 47 steals last year.
Cal Familiar with Georgia Coach Harrick
When Cal faces Georgia Saturday afternoon in Anaheim, the Bears will be seeing a familiar foe on the opposite bench in Bulldog coach Jim Harrick. Prior to accepting his current position, Harrick spent eight seasons at UCLA, where his teams were 10-6 vs. Cal. Then when Harrick moved to Rhode Island, he split a pair of contests against the Bears, winning 72-63 on Feb. 7, 1998 in Providence, R.I., and coming out on the short end of a 71-64 decision on Dec. 5, 1998 in at the Oakland Arena. Finally, Cal claimed an 85-64 victory over Harrick's Georgia team in the 2000 Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland.
Georgia Second of 12 Cal Foes to Reach '02 Playoffs
Georgia, which reached the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, is the second of 12 Cal opponents who reached either the 2002 NCAA or NIT playoffs last season. In addition the Bulldogs, the Bears' pre-Pac-10 slate includes UC Santa Barbara (NCAA), Kansas (NCAA), New Mexico (NIT), Louisiana-Lafayette (NIT) and Detroit-Mercy (NIT). Once league play begins in January, Cal will face six schools which advanced to the postseason - Arizona (NCAA), UCLA (NCAA), USC (NCAA), Stanford (NCAA), Oregon (NCAA) and Arizona State (NIT) - a total of 12 times.
Braun Passes Newell for Third in Cal Coaching Victories
With Cal's 73-64 win at Cleveland State, head coach Ben Braun notched his 120th victory with the Bears, edging him past Hall of Famer Pete Newell for third on the school's all-time list. Braun now owns a 120-70 record in his seventh season, while Newell, who guided the Bears to the 1959 NCAA championship, was 119-44 from 1955-60.
Wethers Report: Senior Making Impact on Both EndsAccording to head coach Ben Braun, senior guard Brian Wethers, Cal's most athletic player, has the ability to dictate play on both ends of the court. In the New Mexico opener, for example, the 6-5 wing scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Wethers then raised his numbers to 18 points and eight boards at Cleveland State. During each of his first three seasons with the program, Wethers has increased his scoring average from 5.5 ppg as a freshman, to 8.5 ppg, to 10.3 ppg last season. In addition, he leads all current players on the roster with 157 career assists.
Tamir Gives Bears Triple Threat
As Cal's most experienced frontcourt player, 6-11 sophomore Amit Tamir knows that much of the Bears' success this season depends on his performance. In his opening game at New Mexico, he displayed his all-around ability, leading the team in scoring (20 points) and rebounding (career-high 12 boards) and tying for team honors with four assists. Tamir sank a pair of three-pointers and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line, including 6-for-6 in the final 1:18 of the contest. In the Cleveland State game, he tied a career high with seven assists, in addition to his eight points and five boards. Last year, Tamir averaged 9.9 ppg, including a 39-point effort vs. Oregon that earned him ESPN.com National Player of the Week honors, and was chosen to the Pac-10 All-Freshman unit.
Bears Sport International Flair
On a campus that prides itself on diversity, the Cal basketball team sports a roster that includes players from three foreign countries. Sophomore forward Amit Tamir hails from Jerusalem, Israel, while freshman guard Richard Midgley is a native of Burgess Hill, England, and freshman forward Jordi Geli Vilardell came to Berkeley by way of Girona, Spain. By no means does this trio represent all of the overseas players who have suited up for Cal under head coach Ben Braun. Others who have needed student visas before joining the squad include Sean Marks (New Zealand, 1995-98), Shahar Gordon (1999-00, Israel), Francisco Elson (1998-99, The Netherlands) and Saulius Kuzminskas (2001, Lithuania).
Fathers and Sons Share Athletic Backgrounds
Four members of the 2002-03 Cal team can point to their fathers as men who paved their way into the athletic arena. Junior guard A.J. Diggs, for example, is the son of Shelton Diggs, who was a wide receiver at USC from 1973-76 and played for the NFL's New York Jets in 1976. Redshirt-freshman forward Erik Bond hails from a family of basketball players - his father, Jay, starred at Washington, while both of this brothers (Jason at Gonzaga and Jesse at Saint Mary's) played at the collegiate level. In addition, freshman forward David Paris is the son of former San Francisco 49er lineman Bubba Paris, and freshman guard Martin Smith is the son of the late Phil Smith, who played college basketball at San Francisco and was a two-time NBA All-Star.
Bears Notes ...
With its victories at New Mexico and Cleveland State this season, Cal has won at least two non-conference games on opponent home courts for the first time since 1999 when the Bears defeated BYU during the regular season and DePaul in the second round of the NIT ... Cal has added two walk-ons to the roster who are not in the media guide - 6-3 freshman guard Joe Abrahams from Crossroads HS in Los Angeles and 5-11 freshman guard David Brutocao-Kemp from Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd HS ... seven former Bears were on NBA opening night rosters ... senior guard Donte Smith underwent quadriceps surgery in September and is not expected to return until the Pac-10 opener vs. Stanford in January.