Cal NCAA Tournament Game Notes

March 14, 2006

Cal's Complete NCAA Tournament Media Guide

North Carolina State Wolfpack (21-9, 10-6 ACC) vs. California Golden Bears (20-10, 12-6 Pac-10)
6:20 p.m. CT/4:20 p.m. PT, Friday, March 17
America Airlines Center (20,107), Dallas, TX
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: CBS

California earned its 14th bid to the NCAA Tournament this March and will face North Carolina State in a first-round game Friday in Dallas. The Golden Bears are seeded seventh in the Atlanta Regional, while the Wolfpack is the 10th seed.

The winner of Friday's contest will play the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Texas (27-6) and No. 15 seed and Ivy League champion Pennsylvania (20-8). The regional semifinals and final will be held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta March 23 & 25, with the Final Four at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis April 1 & 3.

The Cal-NC State game represents a rematch from the Bears' last appearance in the NCAA Tournament. At Oklahoma City's Ford Center in 2003, Cal, as the No. 8 seed, upended the ninth-seeded Wolfpack, 76-74, in overtime on then-freshman Richard Midgley's three-pointer from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds left in the extra period. The Bears later lost to top-seed Oklahoma in the second round, 74-65. Midgley, now a senior, is the only player on the Bears' roster who saw significant action in the tournament three seasons ago.

This year's Cal squad finished the regular season with a 20-10 overall record and a 12-6 mark in the Pac-10, good for third place. Last week, the Bears defeated USC, 82-67, and Oregon, 91-87, in double overtime to reach the final of the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time. But playing less than 16 hours after its marathon with the Ducks ended, Cal fell to UCLA, 71-52, in championship game on Saturday.

The 2005-06 Bears are built around All-America forward Leon Powe, Cal's 6-8, 240-pound sophomore who enters the postseason atop the Pac-10 in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg). If he maintains his lead, he will become just the sixth player ever to pace the conference in both categories, joining Ike Diogu (Arizona State, 2005), A.C. Green (Oregon State, 1985), Mark McNamara (Cal, 1982), Bill Walton (UCLA, 1972) and Lew Alcindor (UCLA, 1967-69).

Despite Cal's runner-up finish, Powe was named MVP of the Pac-10 Tournament after a record-setting performance that saw him set a tournament rebounding mark in a 22-point, 20-board effort against USC and a tournament scoring record when he poured in 41 points vs. Oregon. A two-time All-Pac-10 selection, Powe has been named to several All-America squads this year, including ESPN.com (second team), USBWA (second team) and The Sporting News (second team).

The Bears boast a second All-Pac-10 performer in junior guard Ayinde Ubaka, who averages 14.8 ppg and 3.8 apg. Like Powe, he was also voted to the all-tournament squad at the conference tourney. Ubaka has drained 61 three-pointers this year - tying for No. 3 on Cal's season list - while shooting a career-high 37.9 percent from behind the arc. He scored a personal-best 29 points at home against Oregon in January and has reached double figures 27 times in 30 games.

Midgley joins Ubaka in the backcourt, and the four-year starter should gain his 100th career start against NC State Friday. Midgley, who averages 8.8 ppg, ranks 20th on the Bears' career scoring list with 1,173 points, and he is second all-time in three-pointers made with 182. This season, Midgley has drained 48 three-pointers. If he hits two more, he and Ubaka will be the first Cal teammates to sink 50 apiece in the same year.

Sophomore Omar Wilkes rounds out the Bears' starting trio at guard. A transfer from Kansas who was a reserve on the Jayhawks' Elite Eight team in 2004, Wilkes adds 7.5 ppg for Cal. accurate long-range shooter, he leads the squad with a 44.0 percent rate on three-pointers (22-50).

Sophomore center DeVon Hardin, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, completes the opening five. Hardin also averages 7.5 ppg, and he ranks among the league leaders in both rebounding (5th, 6.7 rpg) and blocks (3rd, 1.60 bpg). His 48 total blocks are the fifth-highest total ever at the school

Wing Theo Robertson was voted honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman and leads the Bears' reserves with 6.1 ppg. He has played particularly well down the stretch, boasting a career-best 18 points against Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament.

Senior Rod Benson also provides strong support off the bench. Now finally healthy after heel and knee ailments limited his production earlier in the year, he contributes 4.5 ppg. Last season when he was injury free, Benson paced Cal in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg).

At guard, freshman Nikola Knezevic joined the Bears from Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, in December and has become the primary backup at the point. A solid defensive player, he scored five points vs. UCLA and dished out four assists without a turnover against USC during the final weekend of the regular season.

Other players to watch for Cal are freshman center Jordan Wilkes, younger brother of Omar; sophomore forward Eric Vierneisel, who chipped in with 10 points and a career-high five rebounds vs. Oregon last Friday; and junior guard Alex Pribble, a former walk-on who received a scholarship during the offseason.

Probable StartersPos  No  Name             Ht    Wt   Yr  PPG   RPGF    44  Leon Powe        6-8   240  So  20.7  10.0C    35  DeVon Hardin     6-11  235  So  7.5   6.7G     1  Ayinde Ubaka     6-4   200  Jr  14.8  3.8 apgG     2  Omar Wilkes      6-4   185  So  7.5   1.4G    15  Richard Midgley  6-3   195  Sr  8.8   2.5

Bears Making 14th NCAA Tournament Appearance
Cal earned its 14th invitation to the NCAA Tournament this March and fifth during Ben Braun's tenure as head coach. The Bears own an 18-13 all-time NCAA playoff record, which includes three trips to the Final Four. Cal captured fourth place in 1946, won the national title in 1959 and finished as the NCAA runner-up in 1960. Since then, the Bears have advanced to the Sweet 16 round twice - in 1993 and again in 1997. Under Braun, Cal has gone to the tourney in 1997, 2001 (1st round), 2002 (2nd round) and 2003 (2nd round), in addition to this season.

Braun Leads Cal Coaches in Postseason Appearances
Cal head coach Ben Braun is leading the Bears into the postseason for the seventh time in his 10 years at the helm this March - more than any coach in school history. Braun has guided Cal to five NCAA Tournaments - 1997, 2001, '02, '03 and '06 - and a pair of National Invitation Tournaments - 1999, 2000. The Bears reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1997, while they won the NIT in 1999, defeating Clemson, 61-60, in the title game. Braun's postseason record at Cal stands at 11-5, which puts him No. 1 in school annals, just ahead of legendary coach Pete Newell.

Postseason Coaching Records at CalBen Braun      11-5   4 NCAA, 2 NITPete Newell    10-4   4 NCAALou Campanelli  4-4   1 NCAA, 3 NITTodd Bozeman    2-3   3 NCAANibs Price      1-2   1 NCAA

NCAA Flashback
California 76, North Carolina State 74 OT
March 20, 2003 - Ford Center - Oklahoma City, OK
Freshman Richard Midgley drained a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in overtime to lift eighth-seeded Cal to a 76-74 victory over No. 9 seed North Carolina State. The Bears led for most of the contest, going up by as much as eight points at 24-16 and holding a 63-56 advantage with 5:49 to go. NC State took its first lead at 66-65 at the 2:21 mark. Cal tied the score at 66 on a Conor Famulener free throw with 1:34 left. In OT, Brian Wethers gave Cal a 73-71 edge with 35 seconds left with a free throw. Scotter Sherrill put NC State up, 74-73, on a long three-pointer with 15 seconds left, setting up Midgley's heroics.

After Slow Start, Cal Steps Up Defensive Pressure
After the non-league portion of their schedule, the Bears ranked last in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to make 45.3 percent of their shots from the floor. Cal also surrendered 66.6 ppg, with six of 10 foes tallying at least 67 points. But with the start of conference action, the Bears seemed to have a change of attitude, and by the end of the league season, Cal ranked second in field goal percentage defense (41.7%) and third in scoring defense (62.1 ppg). During Pac-10 games, nine teams had FG rates of 40 percent or less, with the Bears going 7-2 in those contests. Cal limited Oregon State to 31.9 percent in Corvallis, while USC converted just 29.5 percent in the Bears' home finale. And in Cal's 68-61 victory at UCLA Dec. 31, the Bruins shot 36.7 percent from the field.

Cal Holds Teams to Lowest Average in 20 Years
Cal enters the NCAA Tournament allowing only 64.7 ppg - lowest for a Bear team since the 1985-86 squad surrendered 63.4 ppg when a 45-second shot clock was in use. Cal's previous record during the 35-second shot clock era was set in 2001-02 (66.6 ppg). This season, the Bears have given up more than 70 points only seven times, while holding opponents to 60 or few points on 10 occasions. Eight Pac-10 foes failed to break the 60-point mark, including Washington State, which was held to 41 points Feb. 23 - the lowest total for a Cal opponent since the Bears beat Eastern Washington, 56-27, on Nov. 16, 2001. Cal's 2005-06 average represents a significant drop from last year, when the Bears yielded 70.8 ppg.

Powe-tent Force on the Block for Bears
Sophomore F Leon Powe, who went 629 days between games due to knee surgery and a foot stress facture, has returned with a vengeance this season, earning All-America and all-conference honors as the leading scorer (20.7 ppg) and rebounder (10.0) in the Pac-10. If he can maintain his lofty status in both categories, he will become just the sixth league player ever to pace the conference on the two lists, joining Ike Diogu of Arizona State (2004-05), A.C. Green of Oregon State (1984-85), Cal's Mark McNamara (1981-82), UCLA's Bill Walton (1972) and UCLA's Lew Alcindor (1967-69). Powe is also on pace to be the sixth Bear to claim a Pac-10 scoring title since 1994, with the others being Lamond Murray (1994, 24.2 ppg), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996, 21.1 ppg), Ed Gray (1997, 24.8 ppg), Sean Lampley (2001, 19.5 ppg) and Joe Shipp (2003, 20.4 ppg).

Powe has scored at least 20 points 15 times (including in eight of the last 10 games), and 30 or more on three occasions. In back-to-back games vs. Stanford Feb. 9 and Arizona Feb. 16, he came through with 32 points against the Cardinal and 30 points vs. the Wildcats - both resulting in Cal victories.

But Powe saved his best for the Pac-10 Tournament. In the quarterfinals, he poured in 22 points and snared a tournament-record 20 rebounds (old mark: 18 by Arizona State's Ike Diogu in 2003) to become Cal's first 20-20 player since McNamara accomplished the feat three times during the 1981-82 campaign. One night later, Powe established another tourney record, this time with 41 points (14-17 FG, 13-18 FT) in the Bears' double OT win over Oregon in the semis. The old mark of 39 points was set by UCLA's Reggie Miller in 1987, and Powe's total ties for the third-highest ever by a Cal player.

Overall, he owns 28 career double-doubles - with a Pac-10-best 14 this season - and has led Cal in rebounding in 47 of the 53 games he has played, including 22 of 26 this year (includes ties).

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 until the Nov. 30 San Jose State game.

Leon Powe's 2005-06 Awards ListAll-Pac-10MVP, Pac-10 TournamentSecond-team All-American (cbs.sportsline.com)Second-team All-American (USBWA)Second-team All-American (ESPN.com)Third-team All-American (The Sporting News)All-District (NABC)Wooden All-America team finalist

Powe Putting His Stamp on Cal Record Book
Sophomore F Leon Powe has set a pair of school records this season - most free throws made (190) and attempted (263) - and he is rapidly moving up several other lists. His 539 points are the 13th-most in school history, while his 20.7 ppg average rates No. 7 and is the highest for a Bear since Ed Gray's school-record 24.8 ppg in 1997. On the rebounding chart, Powe has 261 boards - good for the 14th spot - while his 10.0 rpg ranks 13th, and he could become the first Cal player to average a double-double since Brian Hendrick (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg) in 1992.

Career-wise, Powe's 948 points put him within striking distance of topping 1,000 this season if the Bears advance in the NCAA Tournament. Among Cal players, only Gray (1996-97) and Mark McNamara (1981-82) have reached the grand total in their first two years in the program. However, both of those players transferred to Cal as juniors, meaning Hendrick holds the school mark for most combined points as a freshman and sophomore (970). Powe's career scoring average (17.9 ppg) ties for fifth all-time, and his rebounding average (9.8 rpg) stands fourth.

Cal Season Rebound Leaders9. Sean Lampley     1999   28010. Mark McNamara   1981   27210. Bob McKeen      1954   27212. Leonard Taylor  1989   27013. Bob McKeen      1955   26414. Leon Powe       2006   261

Cal Season Scoring Leaders9. Lamond Murray 1993 57210. Sean Lampley 2000 54911. Russ Critchfield 1967 54512. Ansley Truitt 1972 54413. Leon Powe 2006 539

Ubaka Directs Attack at the Point
Ayinde Ubaka, who entered the season with a career scoring average of 6.3 ppg, earned All-Pac-10 honors in 2005-06 after more than doubling his rate to 14.8 ppg. Cal's second-leading scorer (and No. 10 in the Pac-10), he has reached double figures 27 times in 30 games after doing so on just eight occasions over his first two years in the program combined and only twice last season. Ubaka set a career high with 17 points in the opener at Eastern Michigan, then topped the total with 21 points in the Golden Bear Classic final vs. Northeastern to earn all-tournament team honors. He later bettered that performance with 29 points against Oregon (8-10 FG, 3-3 3P, 10-12 FT) Jan. 5. In addition, he has proven to be a clutch performer with the game on the line. In the Pac-10 Tournament, Ubaka scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half as Cal rallied from a 33-31 halftime deficit to win, 82-67. Then vs. Oregon, he hit the tying bucket with two seconds left in regulation and scored 12 of his 17 points in overtime. Earlier in Los Angeles during the Bears' first meeting with UCLA Dec. 31, he tallied six of Cal's final eight points in the last 36 seconds, helping push a 60-58 lead into a 68-61 victory.

Bears Could Top Pac-10 in Three-Point Shooting for First Time
Last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting the past two years, Cal has found its range behind the arc this season, now connecting at a 37.6% pace - a rate that stands just behind Arizona State (37.8%) for first in the conference. Since the shot was implemented in 1986-87, the Bears have never led the league from three-point distance for an entire year. Omar Wilkes is draining a team-high 44.0 percent (22-50), followed by Theo Robertson at 40.4 percent (23-57), Richard Midgley at 39.7 percent (48-121) and Ayinde Ubaka at 37.9 percent (61-161).

Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06   164-436   37.6%   5.47 3s per game2004-05   110-344   32.0%   3.79 3s per game2003-04   127-410   31.0%   4.54 3s per game

Richard Midgley Moving Up Career Lists
Now firmly secured as Cal's No. 2 all-time three-point shooter, senior G Richard Midgley is moving up the Bears' career scoring chart. He enters the NCAA Tournament with 1,173 points, which puts him in 20th place and just six points behind No. 19 Chris Washington. On the three-point list, he ranks second all-time with 182 triples, and he will likely end his career there, as leader Ryan Drew had 214 three-pointers from 1988-91. Midgley's career conversion rate of 38.2 percent tied for No. 7 at the school. Midgley scored a season-high 17 points vs. both San Jose State and San Diego State, and he has reached double figures 13 times this year.

Cal Career Scoring Leaders16. Doug True          1977-80   1,21517. Gene Ransom        1976-78   1,18518. John Coughran      1971-73   1,18319. Chris Washington   1984-87   1,17920. Richard Midgley    2003-     1,173

Cal Career Three-Pointers Made1. Ryan Drew 1988-91 2142. Richard Midgley 2003- 1823. Joe Shipp 2000-03 157

Hardin Climbing Season, Career Block Ladders at Cal
Sophomore C DeVon Hardin, who owns a team-best 48 blocks this year - including four each against Arizona and Arizona State Feb. 16-18 - has moved into Cal's career and season Top 10 lists. In just under two full seasons, he has swatted away 74 shots, putting him alone in sixth place and just one out of a tie for fifth. On Cal's season list, Hardin is in fifth place by himself. His average of 1.60 per game is third in the Pac-10 this year.

Cal Career Block Leaders4. Brian Hendrick   1980-93   985. Lamond Murray    1992-94   756. DeVon Hardin     2005-     74

Cal Season Block Leaders2. Michael Stewart 1997 563. Jamal Sampson 2002 544. Michael Stewart 1995 495. DeVon Hardin 2006 48

Ubaka Near Automatic at Free Throw Line
With the game on the line, no one has been better at the charity stripe than junior G Ayinde Ubaka. To date, Ubaka is 41-for-47 (87.2%) in the final two minutes plus overtime of contests, and as the chart shows below, his performances have been key factors in many of the Bears' wins. Overall, Ubaka is draining 83.3 percent from the foul line (110-132), up from his career 68.5 percent rate entering the season. As a team, Cal is making 78.3 percent in the last two minutes and OT (108-138).

Opponent      Key Ubaka Free Throws                Resultat USC        Hit 2 FT with 3 seconds left with               Cal ahead, 60-58                    W, 62-58at UCLA       Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left with               Cal up, 62-59                       W, 68-61vs. Oregon    Shot 6-6 from FT line in final               37 seconds                          W, 77-66vs. WSU       Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left               to give Cal 55-51 lead              W, 55-53at Oregon     Hit 2 FT with 16 seconds left               to give Cal 61-55 lead              W, 62-60vs. Stanford  Shot 4-4 from FT line in final               24 seconds                          W, 65-62vs. Oregon    Shot 8-10 from FT line in final               42 seconds of second OT             W, 91-87

Bears Take Advantage of Free Throw Opportunities
Throughout the 2005-06 season, Cal has made more free throws than its opponents have attempted, with the margin entering NCAA Tournament, 518-488. In addition, the Bears have outscored their opposition at the line, 518-357, or by an average of 5.4 ppg, and Cal has had at least twice as many FT attempts as its opponents 10 times. The Bears are also shooting 73.4 percent from the line, far higher than their 62.7 percent success rate last year or 62.8 percent rate in 2003-04. The only other time Cal shot higher for an entire season was in 1988-89 (school-record 73.5%). Individually, Leon Powe has set a pair of school records for most free throws made (190) and attempted (263) in one year.

Cal's Top Free Throw Percentages1986-87   513-698   73.5%2005-06   450-617   73.4%1988-89   544-742   73.3%1987-88   358-491   72.9%

Robertson Comes to the Rescue
Throughout the season, freshman F Theo Robertson has adapted to the role the Cal coaches needed him to play. For the most part, he has been the Bears' top scoring threat off the bench, but he has also filled in as a starter during two different stretches when teammates were slowed by injury. With Leon Powe (foot) out the first four games of the season, Robertson averaged 11.8 ppg as his sub at forward, while he spelled Omar Wilkes (ankle) for three games in February and contributed 7.7 ppg and 3.0 apg. Now back in his more familiar spot as a reserve, Robertson came through with a career-high 18-point night (4-5 FG, 3-3 3P, 7-8 FT) in Cal's double OT win over Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament, topping his previous best of 14 established back on Nov. 21 vs. Long Beach State. He scored 16 of his total in regulation, then nailedtwo free throws with 31 seconds left in the second OT to give Cal an 86-79 edge. For the year, Robertson is shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range (23-57), and he has made 9-of-12 treys over his past six games.

Ubaka Nearing Three-Point Record
With 11 three-pointers in his last five games, junior G Ayinde Ubaka now has 61 three-pointers on the season - tied for third most in school history. He entered the year with just 40 career treys in his first two seasons combined. In addition, Ubaka is shooting 37.9 percent from the floor - far higher than his career 27.6 percent rate prior to 2005-06.

Cal Season Three-Point Leaders1. Ryan Drew (1990)      682. Bill Elleby (1992)    643. Ayinde Ubaka (2006)   613. Amit Tamir (2003)     61

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 has been a regular starter at Cal in 2005-06. 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.

Braun Wins 20 Games for Sixth Time
With Cal's win over Oregon last week in the Pac-10 Tournament, the Bears picked up their 20th victory of the season, the sixth time during head coach Ben Braun's tenure in Berkeley Cal has had 20 or more triumphs in a year. No other coach in school history has directed Cal to more than four 20-win seasons.

Cal Coaches With Three or More 20-Win SeasonsBen Braun       6   1997 (23-9), 1999 (22-11), 2001 (20-11),                     2002 (23-9), 2003 (22-9), 2006 (20-9)Nibs Price      4   1939 (24-8), 1946 (30-6), 1947 (20-11),                     1948 (25-9)Pete Newell     3   1957 (21-5), 1959 (25-4), 1960 (28-2)Lou Campanelli  3   1987 (20-15), 1989 (20-13), 1990 (22-10)

Injury Woes Have Kept Eight Players Out at Least Once This Year
Cal has found itself shorthanded virtually the entire season, with the Bears suiting up all 14 players on the roster just once - Dec. 21 vs. DePaul. As Cal enters the NCAA Tournament, eight different players have been sidelined a total of 50 games due to injury. Early on, Leon Powe, Rod Benson and Martin Smith all sat out the Bears' opener at Eastern Michigan - each with a stress fracture. Although Powe returned in the year's fifth game vs. San Jose State, Benson and Smith - both starters last season - have missed significant time. Benson, who led the Bears in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg), finally rounded into full health in late February. In addition to a stress fracture in his heel, he also had surgery for a partially torn meniscus in his right knee Jan. 20 that kept him in street clothes for seven games. Smith, Cal's starting point guard and assist leader in 2004-05, managed to play just seven games during his senior season and is out for the year.

Cal Only School to Beat Every Other Pac-10 Team
Cal's 75-66 victory over Arizona Feb. 16 gave the Bears at least one win over each league team for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign - Ben Braun's first season at the helm. The decision also meant Cal became the only school in the Pac-10 to post a triumph over every conference opponent this year; all other Pac-10 teams were swept by at least one league foe. During the regular season, Cal swept two games with Oregon, Washington State and USC, and split with Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and UCLA.

Bears Claim Eighth Upper-Division Finish in 10 Years
With its 12-6 Pac-10 record and third-place regular-season standing in the league, Cal claimed its eighth upper-division conference finish in 10 seasons under head coach Ben Braun. Over the years, the Bears have tied for second place twice (1997, 2002), been third twice (2003, '06), tied for fourth twice (2001,'04) and tied for fifth twice (1998, '99).

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 ...
Four members of the 2005-06 roster are on track to graduate this year: seniors Richard Midgley (social welfare major), Rod Benson (political science) and Martin Smith (interdisciplinary studies), and junior (but fourth-year student) Steve Panawek (political science) ... Cal has twice comeback from double-digit deficits this season; on Jan. 19, the Bears trailed Arizona State, 16-5, midway through the first half in Tempe, but rallied for an 88-58 victory; on March 10 in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals, Cal fell behind, 32-16, to Oregon before coming through with a 91-87 win in double overtime ... when Ayinde Ubaka and Leon Powe tallied 29 and 27 points, respectively, vs. Oregon Jan. 5, they became the first Cal duo to each score at least 25 points in a game since Lamond Murray (26) and Jason Kidd (25) vs. Oregon on March 3, 1994 ... head coach Ben Braun picked up his 500th career victory with an 88-69 win over Long Beach State Nov. 21.

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