Bears Open Season vs. Cal Poly
Nov. 18, 2003
Cal Poly Mustangs (0-0) at California Golden Bears (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California opens the 2003-04 season Friday night when the Golden Bears host Cal Poly Friday at 8 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. The basketball game follows a volleyball match between ninth-ranked Cal and Oregon, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
The Bears' basketball team returns 10 lettermen and three starters from last year's squad that finished 22-9 overall, placed third in the Pac-10 and reached the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Cal Poly was 16-14 last season, but nearly reached the NCAA field, falling by just three points in the Big West Conference final to Utah State.
When the Bears take to the court, they will be laying a 25-game non-conference home winning streak on the line. Cal has not lost to a team outside the Pac-10 in Haas Pavilion since it fell to Penn, 74-71, on Dec. 29, 1999 - the first year the renovated facility opened.
The current Bears are ranked by both Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (25th) and The Sporting News (24th), and they are barely out of this week's Associated Press poll, standing in the 28th position.
The 2003-04 squad features All-Pac-10 senior F/C Amit Tamir, who averaged 14.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 3.0 apg in 2003, and sophomore G Richard Midgley, a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman unit last year who averaged 9.2 ppg and ranked second in the Pac-10 in three-point accuracy at 44.9 percent. Both players are on Lindy's magazine's preseason All-Pac-10 team, with Tamir on the first unit and Midgley on the third team.
The third returning starter is senior C Gabriel Hughes, who led the Bears in blocks last season (32) and had the best game of his career in Cal's first-round NCAA Tournament win over North Carolina State (14 points, 9 rebounds).
In the Bears' two exhibition games leading up to Friday's opener, Cal claimed a pair of victories, defeating Athletes in Action, 83-75, and EA Sports, 86-49. Freshman F Leon Powe, a McDonald's All-American at Oakland Tech HS and the preseason Pac-10 Freshman of the Year as selected by ESPN.com and The Sporting News, was impressive in both wins. He scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the AIA contest, then added 16 points and eight boards in 19 minutes vs. EA, shooting a combined 16-for-27 from the floor (70.4%).
Cal Poly Scouting Report
A Look at Cal Poly
Cal Poly, which finished 16-14 last season, nearly reached the NCAA Tournament by advancing to the Big West Tournament final, where the Mustangs lost to Utah State, 57-54. Cal Poly's top two scorers from a year ago return in senior F Varnie Dennis (17.5 ppg) and senior F Shane Schilling (13.6 ppg). Seven newcomers dot the roster, including G Kameron Gray from Fremont, Calif., and F Nick Enzweiller, who hails from nearby Moraga.
Cal-Cal Poly Series History
Cal owns a 1-0 series lead over Cal Poly, having defeated the Mustangs, 77-59, in the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic in Berkeley on Dec. 29, 1996 - Ben Braun's first season at the helm of the Cal program.
Cal Poly Head Coach Kevin Bromley
Kevin Bromley enters his third full season as head coach at Cal Poly with a career record of 35-38. He previously served six years as associate head coach on the Mustang staff before taking over the program on an interim basis midway through 2000-01. Bromley has also coached at Southern Utah, Colorado State and Chemeketa CC in Oregon.
Golden Bear Notes
Bears Seek Sixth Straight Opening Win
Cal enters Fridays' Cal Poly game seeking its sixth consecutive season-opening victory. Last year, the Bears came back from a 13-point deficit to defeat New Mexico, 76-68, in Albuquerque. Cal started the run with a 71-60 victory at Hawaii in 1998, and followed it up with wins over TCU (91-83 at the 1999 Top of the World Classic), Mississippi State (83-76 OT in the 2000 Preseason NIT) and Princeton (70-58 in the '01 BCA Classic). The Golden Bears' last loss in Game 1 came at North Carolina in 1997 (71-47).
Cal Wins Two Exhibition Games
Cal won both of its exhibition game leading up to the 2003-04 season, defeating Athletes in Action, 83-75, Nov. 10 and routing EA Sports West, 86-49, Nov. 14. Behind 27 points and eight rebounds from freshman F Leon Powe, Cal built a 22-point lead against AIA before the visitors rallied in the closing minutes. Against EA Sports, the Bears scored the first six points of the game and never looked back. Senior F Amit Tamir had 17 points and 11 boards to pace Cal, as all 16 players on the roster saw action in the contest.
Cal Poly: Big West, Part I
Cal Poly is the first of two Big West Conference opponents for the Bears this season. On Dec. 3, Cal will host UC Irvine in Haas Pavilion. In both the coaches' and media preseason polls, UCI was predicted to finish third in the league and Cal Poly fourth. In addition to the Big West, the Bears could face four teams out of the Mountain West Conference: BYU (Nov. 26), UNLV (Nov. 29), Wyoming (Dec. 9) and Air Force (possible opponent in the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic Dec. 28).
Bears Boast 25-Game Home Win Streak vs. Non-Pac-10 Schools
Cal enters Friday's game vs. Cal Poly with a 25-game winning streak against non-Pac-10 teams in Haas Pavilion. The Bears were 5-0 in Berkeley last year, 9-0 in 2001-02, 8-0 in '00-01 and won their final three non-conference games of the 1999-00 season. In fact, Cal's all-time non-league mark since Haas opened in the fall of 1999 is 30-1, with the only set back a 74-71 decision to Penn in the final of the Golden Bear Classic on Dec. 29, 1999. In all games, Cal is 44-5 at home over the past three seasons - best in the Pac-10.
Senior Amit Tamir Hauls in Preseason Honors
Senior F/C Amit Tamir - the only player in the league to earn both All-Pac-10 and first team Pac-10 All-Academic honors last year - has received his fair share of awards heading into the 2003-04 campaign. One of 10 players on the Playboy All-America team, Tamir is also one of 50 preseason candidates for the John Wooden All-America team and one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year prize. In addition, Lindy's magazine placed Tamir on its five-player All-Pac-10 squad for 2004.
Recruiting Class Ranked High Nationally
Cal's four-man recruiting class of F Leon Powe, G Ayinde Ubaka, G/F Marquise Kately and F Dominic McGuire has been ranked among the nation's Top 10 by several publications, including No. 9 by CollegeSports.com and No. 1 in the Pac-10 by The Sporting News. Powe earned first team Parade and McDonald's All-America honors at Oakland Tech HS, while Ubaka was a fourth-team Parade All-America choice. Kately is a former state player of the year out of San Francisco's Riordan HS, and McGuire, from Lincoln HS in San Diego, once had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 18 blocks in a game.
Cal to Retire Jason Kidd's Jersey before Stanford Game
Cal will retire Jason Kidd's No. 5 jersey in a ceremony before the Feb. 14 Stanford game. Kidd, an All-American guard for the Bears from 1993-94, was the 1993 National Freshman of the Year and the '94 Pac-10 Player of the Year. He led the nation in steals as a freshman (school-record 110) and paced the country in assists as a sophomore (school-record 272). Kidd is the third Bear male to receive the honor, joining guard Kevin Johnson (1984-87, #11) and forward Alfred Grigsby (1992-97, #4).
Bears Out to Keep Postseason, 20-Win Streaks Alive
Cal has advanced to postseason play for five consecutive years - two NIT, three NCAA - the longest streak in school history. The previous best run came from 1957-60 when Pete Newell's teams reached the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons. If the Bears can reach the NCAA playoffs again this March, they would match Newell's squads for the Cal NCAA record. In addition, the Bears have won at least 20 games each of the past three seasons - a feat accomplished only one other time, when Nibs Price guided Cal to records of 30-6 in 1946, 20-11 in '47 and 25-9 in '48.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Five games were added to Cal's television schedule last week; the Dec. 20 St. Joseph's, Jan. 4 Washington State and Jan. 31 Oregon State games will be on KRON (Channel 4), while road games at Arizona Jan. 8 and UCLA Feb. 19 will be Fox Sports Bay Area ... senior G A.J. Diggs attended the Public Policy International Affairs fellowship program for seven weeks at Princeton University over the summer ... with 120 steals entering the Cal Poly game, Diggs needs one more to tie Doug True (1977-80) for 10th place on Cal's all-time list; Keith Smith (1987-90) is next up at No. 9 with 129 steals ... Cal Sports Magazine, Cal's highlights show on Fox Sports Net Bay Area, will air a pre-Pac-10 special several times in December and will be shown on a weekly basis starting in January ... tickets for the Pete Newell Challenge at the Arena in Oakland, which are sold separately from Cal's own season-ticket package, are available through Tickets.com or at the Arena box office ... for Cal tickets, visit www.CalBears.com or call (800) GO BEARS.
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