Cal Begins Four-Game Road Trip at DePaul
Dec. 21, 2006
California Golden Bears (8-3) at DePaul Blue Demons (7-5)
Saturday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m. CT/11 a.m. PT, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Having just played their last home game for more than three weeks, California embarks on a four-game road trip this weekend with a visit to DePaul Saturday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.
The contest represents a homecoming for four members of the team who hail from the Chicago area - junior F Eric Vierneisel, freshman G Jerome Randle, head coach Ben Braun and assistant coach Dennis Gates.
Following the game, the Golden Bears open Pac-10 action at Arizona and Arizona State Dec. 28-30, then travel to Stanford Jan. 3 before returning to Haas Pavilion for a Jan. 11 match-up with Washington State.
Off to an 8-3 start, Cal has its highest pre-conference victory total since going 9-1 heading into league play in 2001-02.
Defensive effort has been the key indicator of the Bears' success so far this season. In its eight wins, Cal has limited opponents to 55.0 ppg and 36.5 percent field goal shooting. But in their three losses, the Bears have allowed 78.3 ppg and 51.7 percent shooting from the floor.
Now, Cal will have to move forward without the services of starting C DeVon Hardin, who suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot in Tuesday's win over Furman and is expected to miss 8-12 weeks. Hardin had been averaging 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg with a team-high 21 blocks.
In Hardin's absence, freshman F Ryan Anderson becomes the Bears' primary post player. As a starting forward, Anderson has paced the Bears in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). He is also the team-leader in three-pointers (23) and three-point shooting (46.0%).
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka has scored at least 10 points in each of the Bears' past nine outings - the longest current streak on the squad. Perhaps more importantly, he has also significantly increased his assist totals, of late, having dished out 7.6 apg his last five games, while averaging just 1.2 turnovers.
On the wing, sophomore F Theo Robertson has raised his scoring output in six straight contests, up to a season-high 16 points vs. Furman, while junior G Omar Wilkes leads the Bears in field goal shooting (56.8%) after contributing 15 points against the Paladins Tuesday.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 7.7 4.3Averaging 12.8 ppg last four games (16-24 FG); 16 pts. vs. Furman F TBAC 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 17.1 8.723 points (9-11 FG, 3-3 3P, 2-3 FT) vs. Furman; 46.0 3P% (23-50) G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 13.7 5.6 apgLast 5 games: 38 assists, 6 turnovers; 11 assists, 0 TO vs. FurmanG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 11.5 1.8Team-high 56.8 FG%; tied career high with 18 points vs. LMU
Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 11th year in Berkeley and 30th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 194-124, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 527-359. The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and one of 25 finalists for the 2003 Naismith National Coach of the Year award, Braun has led the Bears to the postseason seven times in his first 10 years. After taking Cal to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1997, he guided the Bears to the NIT championship in 1999 and to the NIT quarterfinals in 2000. He also directed Cal to consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 2001, '02 and '03, plus another NCAA berth in 2006. At EMU from 1985-96, the three-time MAC Coach of the Year guided the Eagles to three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance with an overall record of 185-132. He was also 148-103 from 1977-85 at Siena Heights. A native of Chicago, Braun earned a teaching degree in English with a minor in African-American studies at Wisconsin in 1975. He received his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Siena Heights.
DePaul Scouting Report
A Look at DePaul
DePaul, which defeated UC Irvine, 65-53, Wednesday night, has won five of its last six games, including a 64-57 victory over Kansas Dec. 2 and last Saturday's 89-81 win at Rhode Island. Wilson Chandler leads the Blue Demons in scoring (15.4 ppg), blocks (18) and three-pointers made (18). DePaul is 5-0 at home so far this season.
Cal-DePaul Series History
The series is tied at 2-2 after DePaul's 68-65 win over Cal in the Pete Newell Challenge last Dec. 21 in Oakland. The Bears split the previous two match-ups in Rosemont, both during the 1998-99 season. On Nov. 28, 1998, the Blue Demons prevailed, 75-72, while Cal rebounded for a 58-57 win - overcoming a 28-11 deficit - on March 16, 1999 in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Bears went on to win the NIT championship.
DePaul Head Coach Jerry Wainwright
Jerry Wainwright is in his second season at DePaul after leading the Blue Demons to a 12-15 mark last year. He previously served as head coach at UNC Wilmington from 1995-2002 and at Richmond from 2003-05. Wainwright has guided teams to four conference championships and five postseason berths (2 NIT, 3 NCAA).
For more information: www.depaulbluedemons.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Cal Routs Furman, 84-50
Omar Wilkes scored 12 of his 15 points during a decisive 25-7 run to close out the first half, leading Cal to an 84-50 victory over Furman Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion in the Bears' first game following a 10-day break for final exams. Ayinde Ubaka dished out a career-best 11 assists without committing a turnover, and Ryan Anderson added 23 points of 9-of-11 shooting - his highest output since a 25-point effort vs. Santa Clara Nov. 20. Cal shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the second half en route to its biggest win since a 95-61 victory over Albany on Dec. 11, 2000.
Chicago, Here We Come
When Cal flies to Chicago for Saturday's game at DePaul, the Bears should expect quite a welcoming party with four members of the team hailing from the area. Head coach Ben Braun is a Chicago native who attended New Trier HS, while assistant coach Dennis Gates, a Bear guard from 1999-2002, teamed with future DePaul standout Quentin Richardson at Whitney Young HS before moving west. In addition, Cal sports two players with Illinois hometowns. Junior F Eric Vierneisel is from Algonquin (Jacobs HS), and freshman G Jerome Randle was the Chicago Sun-Times Class A Player of the Year last season at Chicago's Hales Franciscan HS. During his tenure in Berkeley, Braun also lured one other top performer from the city to Cal - F Sean Lampley (St. Francis DeSales HS), who finished as Cal's all-time leading scorer with 1,776 points in 2001.
Ayinde Ubaka Picking Up the Assists
As an All-Pac-10 performer last year and preseason candidate for both the Wooden (best player) and Cousy (best point guard) awards, senior Ayinde Ubaka has been recognized as one of the top point guards in the county. And so far, he has been more than living up to his notice, especially when it comes to dishing out assists. Ubaka is averaging a career-best 5.6 apg to date, well above his career 3.6 apg entering the season. He had a personal-high 11 assists (0 turnovers) vs. Furman this past Tuesday, and he had eight assists (0 turnovers) vs. Kansas State on Nov. 29. Since an uncharacteristic six-turnover outing vs. Marshall Nov. 23, Ubaka has 49 assists (7.0 apg) and just 10 turnovers (1.4 topg). He also leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.26 and is on pace to become the first Bear to average at least five assists since Prentice McGruder in 1997 (6.4 apg).
Cal Career Assist Leaders5. Shantay Legans (2000-02) 3866. Gene Ransom (1976-78) 3567. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 337
Anderson, Hardin Post Figure Eights in Rebounding Department
Through the first 11 games of the season, freshman F Ryan Anderson and junior C DeVon Hardin are both averaging more than eight rebounds per game. Anderson, now pulling down a team-high 8.7 rpg, has grabbed more than 10 boards four times in his last seven games and has led Cal on the glass seven times. Hardin, tied with Anderson with three double-doubles, was averaging 8.4 rpg, with a high of 12 vs. Kansas State, before hurting his foot Dec. 19. No Cal duo has averaged at least 8.0 rpg since the 1971-72 campaign when Ansley Truitt (13.6 rpg) and John Coughran (8.1 rpg) combined for the feat.
Bears No. 2 in NCAA in Free Throw Shooting
After sinking 14-of-16 from the charity stripe vs. Furman this past Tuesday, the Bears held onto to their No. 2 national ranking in overall free-throw accuracy at 80.4 percent. Seven of Cal's regulars are shooting 80 percent or better, and every starter is higher than 78 percent. The Bears were 42-for-44 (95.5%) in three games at the Great Alaska Shootout in November, including a perfect 11-for-11 performance in the title game vs. Loyola Marymount - tying the school record for most attempts without a miss (also at DePaul in 1999). Freshman Jerome Randle sank his first 12 shots of the year before missing (now 20-for-23, 87.0%), while junior DeVon Hardin, a career 53.1 percent shooter entering the season, is 32-for-40 this year (80.0%). The school record for free throw percentage is 73.5 percent set during the 1986-87 campaign.
NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Dec. 20)1. Butler 202-250 80.8%2. California 152-189 80.4%3. Delaware State 102-128 79.7%4. Villanova 181-232 78.0%5. Southeastern Louisiana 127-163 77.9%
Cal Keeps Turnovers to a Minimum
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 12.1 topg this year. The Bears have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in eight of 11 games, and have committed more than 15 just once (17 vs. San Diego). In the Bears' win over Kansas State Nov. 29, Cal had just two turnovers at halftime and finished the game with only eight - the Bears' lowest figure since a four-turnover performance vs. Stanford last Feb. 9. Cal also committed 10 total turnovers vs. Utah Valley State, Chicago State and Furman.
Ryan Anderson Leading as a Freshman
Freshman F Ryan Anderson kicked off his college career by scoring at least 20 points in each of his first three games, then earning MVP honors while leading Cal to the Great Alaska Shootout championship. In addition, he has paced the Bears on the boards seven times in 11 games, reaching double figures on four occasions. As a result, the rookie paces the Bears in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg), ranking in the Top 5 of the Pac-10 in both categories. Anderson tallied a high of 25 points vs. Santa Clara, and has also tossed in 23 points vs. Furman and 21 at San Diego State. He is shooting 52.8 percent from the floor (second on the team) and paces Cal from three-point distance (23-50, 46.0%) and in free throw attempts (33-42, 78.6%).
Cal Improving in Rebounding Department
Through the first three games of the year, Cal had a cumulative -21 margin in rebounding. But over their last eight contests, the Bears are +27 and now boast a positive ratio (33.7 - 33.2). Cal has won the rebounding battle six times in its last eight games, including a +14 margin (39-25) vs. San Diego Dec. 9.
Injury Hits Post Position for Third Straight Season
For the third consecutive season, Cal will be missing at least one of its primary post players for most, if not all, of the year. The Bears played the 2004-05 campaign without F Leon Powe, who sat out the entire year due to preseason knee surgery. Powe, who earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in 2003-04, returned to claim second-team All-America status in 2005-06. Last year, C Rod Benson, who started for Powe during his medical-redshirt campaign, missed 11 games and was limited in several others due to a stress fracture in a foot, then a torn meniscus in his right knee. Now, two Bear centers have been sidelined for 2006-07. Center Jordan Wilkes, a 7-0 sophomore, was diagnosed with a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee and underwent season-ending surgery on Nov. 21. Junior C DeVon Hardin then suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot late in the first half vs. Furman Dec. 19 and is expected to be out 8-12 weeks. He is scheduled for surgery Nov. 22.
Bears' Defense Key in Victories
In its eight wins this season, Cal is limiting opponent to 36.5 percent shooting from the floor and 55.0 ppg. Five of the six teams to venture into Haas Pavilion have managed 51 or fewer points, and the 47 points scored by Utah Valley State Nov. 15 was the lowest for a Cal opponent in a season opener since the Bears defeated Saint Mary's, 62-44, on Dec. 5, 1964. Only Hawaii, at 40.7 percent, has managed to shoot higher than 40 percent from the floor among the eight victims.
Theo Robertson Raising the Bar Last Six Games
Over his last six games, sophomore F Theo Robertson has been on quite a tear, increasing his scoring output each time out. Since chipping in just three points vs. Hawaii Nov. 24, he has contributed point totals of 4, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16 in succession. In reaching double digits the past four contests, Robertson has averaged 12.8 ppg on 66.7 percent shooting from the floor (16-24) and 75 percent accuracy from three-point range (6-8). In the first seven games of the year prior to his run, Robertson averaged 4.9 ppg, shooting 29.3 percent from the field (12-41) and 16.7 percent from behind the arc (2-12).
Cal Takes More FT than Opponents Attempt ... Again
Last season, Cal made more free throws (525) than its opponents attempted (505) for the first time in school history. And the Bears have kept up the trend this season, having made 152 free throws to their opponents' 126 attempts. The advantage was built in the opener vs. Utah Valley State when Cal was Cal was 25-of-32 from the line, while UVSC was just 4-of-5. The Bears have also held team to single-figure attempts five times. Overall, Cal is outscoring opponents at the stripe by a 152-86 margin, or by 6.0 ppg.
Opponents Shooting Less Than 44 Percent for 11th Straight Year
Since his arrival at Cal in September 1996, head coach Ben Braun has placed heavy emphasis on defense, and the results have shown in field goal percentage defense allowed. By holding opponents to just 40.6 percent from the floor so far this year, Cal is on pace to limit foes to 44.0 percent shooting or less for the 11th consecutive season - each year of Braun's tenure in Berkeley. In the 25 seasons before Braun's arrival, opponents shot under 44.0 percent only twice - in 1994 and 1972.
DeVon Hardin Taking Charge on Defense
With his 6-11, 235-pound frame, junior C DeVon Hardin offers an intimidating presence on the court. He leads the Bears with 21 blocked shots this year (1.91 per game), including a career-best five against Santa Clara and four more vs. Loyola Marymount. For his career, Hardin leads all active Pac-10 players and ranks fifth on Cal's career chart with 95 blocks.
Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders1. Michael Stewart (1994-97) 2072. Solomon Hughes (1999-02) 1223. Tom Schneiderjohn (1976-79) 1054. Brian Hendrick (1990-93) 985. DeVon Hardin (2005- ) 95
Ayinde Ubaka Moves into Top 10 in Three-Pointers, FT Shooting
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka has moved into Cal's all-time top 10 in three-pointers and free throw shooting this season. He has 116 career treys, good for eighth place. In addition, his 32-for-38 free throw accuracy (84.2%) this year has moved him into a tie for seventh on the Cal career FT chart at 79.0 percent.
Cal Career Three-Pointers 6. Amit Tamir (2002-04) 1367. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 1358. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 116
Cal Career FT Shooting5. Denny Fitzpatrick (1958-59) 112-139 80.6%7. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 192-243 79.0%7. Ed Gray (1996-97) 264-334 79.0%
Omar Wilkes - Mr. Consistent on the Wing
Junior G Omar Wilkes has been a model of consistency and efficiency at the off-guard position this season. He has scored at least nine points in 10 of 11 games, with seven of his efforts being between 9-12 points. Wilkes contributed 18 points in the Great Alaska Shootout championship game vs. Loyola Marymount - matching his career high - and also had 15 points at San Diego State and vs. Furman. Cal's leader in field goal shooting (56.8 percent), he has made at least half his shots from the field nine times in 11 opportunities.
Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 17.1 ppg to date, F Ryan Anderson is aiming to become the third freshman to pace Cal in scoring since 1996. Leon Powe was the last Cal rookie to accomplish the feat when he averaged 15.1 ppg in 2004 and was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Back in 1996, Shareef Abdur-Rahim not only led the Bears, but he paced the Pac-10 with 21.1 ppg and was named both Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year. Earlier this season, Anderson matched Abdur-Rahim as the only two Cal freshmen to score at least 20 points in each of their first three games. Anderson fell just short of a fourth consecutive 20-point outing when he finished with 19 points against Marshall, totaling 17 second-half points after a two-point first half.
Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 17.1 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004) 15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 14.9 ppg5. Rickie Hawthorne (1973) 14.2 ppg
Pete Newell Statue Installed in Haas Pavilion Club Room
As a fitting tribute to Pete Newell's lifetime accomplishments in basketball as a coach, mentor and leader, a statue of the Hall of Famer and former Golden Bear head coach has been installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion. Created by renowned sculptor Eino, the statue stands approximately seven feet high and weighs nearly 1,200 pounds. The work originated through the vision of the late Brian Maxwell and received additional financial assistance from players, coaches and managers who were part of Newell's teams in Berkeley. As a coach, Newell directed Cal to the 1959 NCAA championship and to a runner-up finish in 1960, when he was voted National Coach of the Year. He later guided the U.S. team to an Olympic gold medal at the 1960 Games in Rome. Newell, who turned 91 in August, served as head coach of the Bears from 1954-60 and compiled a 119-44 record that included four conference titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He then worked as Cal's athletic director from 1960-68. He is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bears Add Four Walk-ons to Roster
Continuing a long-standing tradition under head coach Ben Braun, Cal has added four walk-ons to the roster for the 2006-07 campaign: sophomore G Nican Robinson (5-10, 180, Oakland, CA/Oakland Tech HS), freshman F Thomas Fang (6-5, 200, San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS), freshman G David Liss (6-0, 165, San Francisco, CA/Branson School) and senior G Patrick Armstrong (6-0, 175, San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep). Robinson, a walk-on at UCLA last year, will have sit out the season under NCAA transfer rules. During his tenure in Berkeley, Braun has offered deserving walk-ons a scholarship seven times, including senior Alex Pribble, who received the recognition prior to the 2005-06 season.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Freshman Ryan Anderson was voted MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout; he was joined on the all-tournament team by Ayinde Ubaka and DeVon Hardin ... Ayinde Ubaka is on the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden All-America team and the Bob Cousy Award ... for the second consecutive year, Cal has been picked fifth in the Pac-10 in a preseason vote of media who cover the conference; last year, the Bears finished third during the regular season with a 12-6 mark and reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament ... Ayinde Ubaka is averaging 33.9 minutes per game, down from 37.3 mpg last year when he set a school record with 1,156 minutes played ... of its 12 pre-Pac-10 games this season, Cal plays six at home and six on the road ... junior G Omar Wilkes tied his career high with 18 points vs. Loyola Marymount and tops the Bears in field goal shooting at 55.8 percent ... Cal's championship in the Great Alaska Shootout was the first in-season tournament victory for the Bears, other than the Golden Bear Classic, since taking the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 1975 ... sophomore G Nikola Knezevic, who was expected to be a primary contributor in the backcourt this season, has yet to play as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his right knee.