Cal Hosts San Jose State, Akron
Nov. 29, 2005
San Jose State Spartans (3-1, vs. Santa Clara 11/29) at California Golden Bears (3-1)
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Akron Zips (1-0, vs. Duquesne 11/30) at California
Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California continues with its six-game homestand this week when the Golden Bears host San Jose State Wednesday and Akron Saturday.
So far, Cal is 3-0 inside Haas Pavilion and is averaging 84.7 ppg on Pete Newell Court - a far higher rate than the Bears scored in Berkeley last season (68.9 ppg)
Despite being short-handed - at least two players have been sidelined by injury each game - Cal defeated Long Beach State, 88-69, and captured last weekend's Golden Bear Classic with victories over Northern Colorado (83-59) and Northeastern (83-76).
Now, the Bears expect to add Leon Powe to the mix, as the sophomore forward has been cleared to play after a stress fracture in his right foot kept him out the first two weeks of the year. The 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Powe is rated the No. 1 power forward in the country by CBS Sportsline.
In his absence, sophomore center DeVon Hardin has demonstrated that he may be one of the nation's most improved players. He has broken his career scoring high in three consecutive games, culminating with a 23-point, 14-rebound effort vs. Northeastern last Saturday to earn Golden Bear Classic MVP honors.
In addition to Hardin, Cal has received support throughout the lineup, with at least four players scoring in double figures in every game. Ayinde Ubaka, who had as many as 10 points just twice last year, is the only Bear to reach the plateau four times, with four other players doing so on three occasions (Richard Midgley, Theo Robertson, Omar Wilkes and Hardin).
Perhaps the biggest surprise in that group is Robertson, a 6-5 freshman who has started in place of Powe. He tallied 12 points in his debut at Eastern Michigan and tossed in a high of 14 points vs. Long Beach State. Robertson ranks second on the squad with 5.0 rpg and is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor.
Cal has also benefited from strong ball-handling. The Bears have averaged just 12.0 turnovers per game and had only 10 against both Eastern Michigan and Northeastern. Overall, Cal owns a +5.5 average turnover margin.
San Jose State Scouting Report
A Look at San Jose State
Since an 88-54 loss at Texas Tech to open the season, San Jose State has won three straight games heading into Tuesday's contest vs. Santa Clara. Demetrius Brown scored 26 points in a 79-68 victory over San Diego Nov. 23 and had 23 more at Cal Poly Nov. 20. The Spartans out-rebound their opponents, 38.0 to 34.8, but are shooting only 19.0 percent from three-point range (8-42).
Cal-San Jose State Series History
Cal holds a 17-3 all-time record against San Jose State, but the schools have only met once since the 1991-92 season. In just the third game ever in Haas Pavilion, the Bears edged the Spartans, 67-52, on Dec. 7, 1999. Cal is 17-0 vs. San Jose State in Berkeley and 0-3 against the Spartans in San Jose.
San Jose State Head Coach George Nessman
George Nessman is in his first year as head coach at San Jose State. A 1981 Cal grad who served as an assistant coach for the Bears last season, Nessman previously served 17 seasons as a head coach at the high school and junior college levels. He was 155-48 in seven years at De La Salle HS from 1987-93, 180-76 in eight seasons at Porterville College from 1994-2001 and 24-32 in two years at Bakersfield College from 2003-04.
For more information: www.sjsuspartans.com
Akron Scouting Report
A Look at Akron
Picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference East Division, Akron was rated 18th in the preseason Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Zips, who opened the year with a 67-62 win over Youngstown State last Saturday, return four starters from last season's squad that finished 19-10 overall and 11-7 in the MAC.
Cal-Akron Series History
Cal and Akron have not play previously.
Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot
Keith Dambrot is in his second season at Akron and guided the Zips to a 19-10 mark last year - most wins for a first-year coach in the history of the program. An assistant coach under Ben Braun at Eastern Michigan from 1986-89, Dambrot has also served as head coach at Tiffin, Ashland and Central Michigan, and owns a 128-80 career record.
For more information: www.gozips.com
Golden Bear Notes
Hardin Leads Cal over Northeastern for Golden Bear Classic Title
Tournament MVP DeVon Hardin topped his career scoring high for the third straight game, finishing with 23 points and a personal-best 14 rebounds, to lead Cal to an 83-76 win over Northeastern in Golden Bear Classic final last Saturday. Cal trailed by as many as eight points in the first half before taking the lead for good just prior to intermission, 35-34. Two free throws from Hardin with 28 seconds remaining - which gave Cal an 81-76 advantage - helped seal the game for the Bears. Ayinde Ubaka (career-best 21 points) and Richard Midgley were also voted to the all-tournament team.
Powe Expects to Return Wednesday vs. San Jose State
For the first time since March 11, 2004 - a span of 629 days - F Leon Powe is expected to suit up and play for the Golden Bears Wednesday night vs. San Jose State. Powe first underwent a pair of surgeries on his left knee in 2004 that kept him out all of the '04-05 campaign. Cleared to play last May, he earned MVP honors at the San Francisco Pro-Am and averaged 23.6 ppg and 10.4 rpg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. But just before the Bears' exhibition game vs. Humboldt State Nov. 14, Powe was diagnosed with a minor stress fracture in his right mid-foot, putting a hold on his return. Now, he has been cleared to play again, and the 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year hopes that his health woes are completely behind him.
DeVon Hardin Just Keeps Setting Career Highs
Sophomore C DeVon Hardin didn't realize what he was starting when he totaled 14 points in Cal's 88-69 win over Long Beach State Nov. 21. With that career-high effort, he began a run of three consecutive games setting personal bests in the points column. Hardin followed his Long Beach State effort with 21 points vs. Northern Colorado Nov. 25, then added 23 points against Northeastern Nov. 26. Named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic for his 44-point performance in the tournament, he also has a string of three straight double-doubles, including a career-high 14 boards vs. Northeastern. Last year, Hardin scored at least 10 points only two times and had just one double-double. This season, he is averaging 15.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg and shooting a team-high 59.5 percent from the floor (22-37).
Win Would Give Bears Longest Streak since 2003
Now in the midst of a modest three-game winning streak, a victory by the Bears over San Jose State Wednesday would give Cal four victories in a row for the first time since Feb. 6-15, 2003. Over the past two seasons, the Bears put together only three, three-game runs - Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2004, Dec. 11-23, 2004 and Jan. 22-29, 2005.
Cal on TV 19 Times in Next 22 Games
Cal fans will get plenty of opportunities to watch the Bears the rest of the season as Cal will appear on television 19 times in the next 22 games, and every road contest will be shown during the span. Five games, starting with San Jose State and Akron this week, will air on Comcast SportsNet. Other contests will be televised by Fox Sports Net, ABC, ESPN and CSTV. Comcast SportsNet broadcasts in Northern California are on Channel 400 for Bay Area digital cable subscribers, on DirecTV channel 656 and on Dish Network channel 409. Other channel locations can be found at www.comcastsportsnet.com. Note: The Cal-San Jose State game will air live in the Bay Area only and on a delay basis throughout the rest of Northern California (check local listings for exact dates and times).
Ayinde Ubaka a Confident Leader at the Point
Junior G Ayinde Ubaka entered this season with a career scoring high of 13 points. But through the year's first four games, he has already topped that total three times, including a personal-best performance vs. Northeastern when he finished with 21 points to earn Golden Bear Classic all-tournament honors. Ubaka opened the campaign with 17 points at Eastern Michigan, scoring 15 points in the second half and nearly leading the Bears back from a 10-point second-half deficit. In addition, Ubaka paces Cal with 19 assists and is shooting 40.0 percent (8-for-20) from three-point range - up from 29.7 percent last year.
Bears Find Free Throw Line Twice as Nice
Through the season's first four games, Cal has earned more than twice as many trips to the free throw line as its opponents, 102-50. As a result, the Bears have outscored their foes, 70-36, at the charity stripe, or 8.5 ppg. DeVon Hardin has already taken 32 free-throw attempts, and although he is shooting just 59.4 percent, that rate is significantly higher than last season's 38.6 percent pace. In addition, five players are sinking better than 77 percent of their free throw tries.
Cal Scoring Up Significantly - Even without Powe
With consecutive outputs of 88 points vs. Long Beach State and 83 points against both Northern Colorado and Northeastern, Cal has topped the 80-point mark in three consecutive games for the first time since a three-game run against Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2004. No Bear team has had four straight 80-point outings since a four-game streak from Jan. 17-29, 1998. In addition, Cal's overall scoring average of 79.8 ppg is more than 12 points higher than last year's 67.4 ppg rate.
Braun Reaches 500th Career Win vs. Long Beach State
Head coach Ben Braun entered this season with 499 wins, and he picked up this 500th career win with an 88-69 victory over Long Beach State Nov. 21 in Haas Pavilion. Prior to moving to Berkeley in September 1996, Braun served as head coach at EMU for 11 seasons and compiled a 185-132 record that included three Mid-American Conference championships, three MAC Coach of the Year awards and three NCAA Tournament berths. Braun began his career at Siena Heights University, an NAIA school in Adrian, Mich., and was 148-103 in eight years from 1978-85. At Cal, he is the second-winningest coach in school history with a 167-111 record (Nibs Price was 449-294 from 1925-54) and has led the Bears to four NCAA Tournaments, a pair of National Invitation Tournaments (including the NIT title in 1999) and five 20-win seasons. Braun ranks 15th among active coaches with his 499 wins.
Pribble Comes to the Rescue
With guards Richard Midgley and Martin Smith sidelined by injury and Ayinde Ubaka in early foul trouble vs. Long Beach State Nov. 21, Alex Pribble entered the lineup at point guard with 5:56 remaining in the first half and Cal clinging to a 30-29 lead. But over the next four-and-a-half minutes, the Bears went on a 16-2 run to take control. Pribble, in his most extensive action at Cal, set career highs in minutes (23), rebounds (7) and assists (5), tying for team honors in the latter category. A third-year walk-on, Pribble was awarded a scholarship during the offseason.
Cal to See Familiar Foes on Opposing Benches This Season
When Cal finishes play Saturday, the Bears will have played four games against teams coached by former Ben Braun assistants. The first battle occurred in the season opener Nov. 18 in Ypsilanti, Mich., when Cal played Eastern Michigan against first-year head coach Charles Ramsey, who served as assistant to Braun at Cal from 1996-97 through 2000-01. Ramsey was also on Braun's staff from 1990-93 when Braun oversaw the EMU program. In the first round of the Golden Bear Classic, Cal met Northern Colorado, which is led by Craig Rasmuson, an assistant for Braun at Eastern Michigan during the 1990-91 season. And this week, the Bears host San Jose State, featuring first-year head man George Nessman, and Akron, which boasts Keith Dambrot as head coach. A 1981 Cal graduate, Nessman spent last year as an assistant on Braun's staff before accepting the position with the Spartans in the spring. Dambrot, in his second season with the Zips, was an assistant coach on Braun's Eastern Michigan teams from 1986-89.
Oh Brother! Another Pair of Siblings Plays for Bears
For the third time in Ben Braun's tenure as head coach, a pair of brothers will suit up in Cal uniforms together. This season, the tandem is sophomore guard Omar Wilkes and freshman center Jordan Wilkes. The first set of siblings to play on the same team was the Hughes brothers - centers Solomon and Gabriel. Solomon played for the Bears from 1999-02, while Gabriel was a part of teams from 2001-04. Lastly, Ryan and Tashaan Forehan-Kelly teamed up during the 2002 season. Ryan, a 6-5 wing, lettered for four years from 1999-02, and Tashaan walked on for the 2002 and '03 campaigns.
Like Father, Like Son with Smith, Wilkes Brothers
In 1975, the Golden State Warriors captured the NBA title with a couple of rookies playing key roles during their championship run - guard Phil Smith (7.7 ppg) and forward Jamaal Wilkes (14.2 ppg). Thirty years later, the sons of Smith and Wilkes are members of the California basketball team. Senior guard Martin Smith is a fourth-year walk-on who was rewarded with a scholarship for the 2005-06 campaign. Last year, he started 16 Pac-10 games and ranked fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.95:1). Omar and Jordan Wilkes join the squad as active members of the Bears this year. Omar, a 6-4 guard, sat out last season after transferring from Kansas and in his first action in a Cal uniform, poured in 17.8 ppg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. Jordan is a 6-11 center who averaged 20 ppg and 10 rpg en route to league MVP honors last year at Loyola HS in Los Angeles.
Stressful Start to the Season for Bears
California entered the 2005-06 season with three key contributors on the sidelines - all due to stress fractures. Senior C Rod Benson, who paced the Bears in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) last year, missed the Eastern Michigan opener with a stress fracture in his heel, then sat out the Nov. 26 Northeastern contest after re-aggravating it the night before vs. Northern Colorado. Senior G Martin Smith was kept out of Cal's first two games with a stress fracture in his pelvis. Finally, sophomore F Leon Powe missed the Bears first four games due to a minor stress fracture in his right foot discovered the week of the opener. In addition, senior G Richard Midgley sat out the Long Beach State game after suffering a stinger in his right shoulder at Eastern Michigan.
Richard Midgley Poised to Move Up Career Lists
Senior G Richard Midgley entered his final season at Cal poised to move up on several of Cal all-time lists. With 954 points, he needs just 46 more points to become the 34th player in school history to reach 1,000. In addition, Midgley is fourth in school history with 140 three-pointers, up from seventh at the start of the year. Finally, he stands eighth all-time with a 37.7 three-point shooting percentage after setting a Cal freshman record in 2002-03 when he drained 44.9 percent of his long-range attempts.
Cal Career Three-Pointers Made1. Ryan Drew 1988-91 2142. Joe Shipp 2000-03 1573. Randy Duck 1994-97 1534. Richard Midgley 2003- 140
Cal Posts 5-0 Record during Italy Tour
This past summer, the California basketball team took the trip of a lifetime when the Golden Bears traveled to Northern Italy for a 12-day tour that included five games against international competition. After departing from San Francisco International Airport Aug. 12, Cal started its adventure in Florence, then stayed overnight in Venice and Como, with many stops in between - including Pisa, Lucca, Verona, Milan and the Alps - before returning to the Bay Area Aug. 23. In the competitive portion of their trip, the Bears posted a 5-0 record with four of the wins coming by double-digit margins. Leon Powe led the offense by averaging 23.6 ppg, with four others at more than 10 points per game - Ayinde Ubaka (18.8 ppg), Omar Wilkes (17.8 ppg), Richard Midgley (14.0 ppg) and DeVon Hardin (11.6 ppg).
od Benson Finds Success on Two Courts
Last season, F/C Rod Benson may have been the most improved player in the Pac-10. After averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.7 rpg as a sophomore in 2003-04, Benson raised his rates to a team-best 13.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg last year. He ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and seventh in the league in field goal shooting (54.3%). But the 6-10 post hasn't limited his exploits to the basketball court as a college student. For the last two springs, Benson has competed as a member of Cal's men's club volleyball team, even helping the Bears to a national No. 1 club ranking in 2005. As a prep at Torrey Pines HS outside San Diego, Benson earned first-team all-league honors and receive recruiting interest in both sports.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Leon Powe has been listed a preseason first-team All-Pac-10 performer by Lindy's, CBS Sportsline College Basketball and The Sporting News ... Powe is also listed as a preseason candidate for both the Wooden All-America team and the Naismith Trophy ... Ivan Kovacevic, a 6-6 freshman guard from Laguna Beach HS (Laguna Beach, Calif.), has joined the team as a walk-on this year ... junior G/F Marquise Kately withdrew from school in October for personal reasons; he is eligible to re-enroll for the spring semester in January ... when Cal meets Kansas Dec. 10 at Kemper Arena, the Bears will be making their first visit to Kansas City since playing in the Big Seven Tournament in December 1954 ... at least 21 Cal games will be televised this season, with appearances on ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, Comcast SportsNet and CSTV ... with this season's win, Cal has captured nine of 13 Golden Bear Classics, including 8-of-10 under head coach Ben Braun.