Cal Men's Basketball Hosts Pacific in Season Opener Saturday

Nov. 10, 2008


Pacific Tigers (0-0) at California Golden Bears (0-0)Saturday, Nov. 15, 5:00 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CARadio: KYOU (1550 AM)	TV: none

After defeating Seattle Pacific, 91-70, in an exhibition game Nov. 6, California officially tips off the 2008-09 season when the Golden Bears host Pacific at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in Haas Pavilion.

With new head coach Mike Montgomery at the helm, Cal returns two starters, junior guards Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle, from a team that posted a 17-16 overall record in 2007-08, reaching the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Last season, Christopher raised his scoring average 10.0 ppg from his freshman year in 2006-07 - the largest increase of any player in the Pac-10 - and he enters his junior campaign as the fourth-leading returning scorer in the league. Randle also has shown the ability to score, having earned MVP honors at the 2007 Golden Bear Classic after tossing in a career-best 26 points vs. North Dakota State.

Junior forward Theo Robertson returns to the fold after sitting out the entire 2007-08 following hip surgery. Montgomery has singled out the 6-6 junior as one of the keys to Cal's fortunes this year with his leadership, both on and off the floor. Robertson has 41 career starts, averaging 7.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg for his career.

Another key player will be junior Jamal Boykin, who started 11 games at forward last season after transferring from Duke, where he spent the first year of his college career. Boykin tossed in 7.8 ppg for the Bears, including a career-best 18 points at UCLA, last season.

Sophomore Harper Kamp earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman notice as a reserve for the Bears in 2007-08 and could see more significant action this year. He contributed 4.4 ppg and provides a solid, fundamentally sound presence down low.

Junior Nikola Knezevic provides depth at both guard spots, while the Bears welcome a pair of newcomers in guards D.J. Seeley and Jorge Gutierrez. Seeley averaged 21.9 ppg as a senior at Modesto Christian HS, while Gutierrez was the first recruit signed by Montgomery after a stellar senior year at Findlay College Prep, where he averaged 13.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg. In the frontcourt, Cal returns 7-0 junior Jordan Wilkes, with 6-10 Taylor Harrison (still recovering from knee surgery) and 7-3 Max Zhang both looking to contribute after redshirting last season. Redshirt-freshman Omondi Amoke rounds out the roster. An athletic 6-7 forward, he is back at full strength after missing all of his rookie season due to calf surgery.

Probable Starters (2007-08 Averages)POS	NO      NAME	                   HT	WT	YR	PPG	RPGF	10	Jamal Boykin	        6-8	230	Jr	7.8	3.8F	24	Theo Robertson	        6-6	225	Jr	8.8(07)	4.3(07)C	33	Jordan Wilkes	        7-0	225	Jr	1.7	1.2G	3	Jerome Randle	        5-10	160	Jr	11.8	2.5G	23	Patrick Christopher        6-5	215	Jr	15.2	3.6

Cal Head Coach Mike MontgomeryOne of the most successful collegiate coaches in the games, new Cal head coach Mike Montgomery, 61, looks to add to his legacy as director of the Golden Bear program. In a combined 26 seasons leading Montana and Stanford, Montgomery produced a 547-244 record (.691), tying for 12th-most victories among active Division I coaches. In his college coaching career, Montgomery has garnered one NIT title (1991), four Pac-10 regular season crowns (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004) and one Pac-10 Tournament title (2004). He was also named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2000 and is a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year recipient (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004). Montgomery was introduced as Cal's 15th head coach on April 5, 2008.

A Look at PacificPacific, which has already played five exhibition games (latest a 52-46 victory over Chico State), finished 21-10 overall and was fourth with an 11-5 mark in the Big West Conference last year. The Tigers return three starters from last season, including honorable mention All-Big West selections Chad Troyer and Anthony Brown, plus Big West All-Freshman team member Terrell Smith.

Cal-Pacific Series HistoryCal holds a 23-2 series lead, with the last meeting being a 76-72 win over Pacific on Nov. 22, 1999, in Haas Pavilion. That contest was the Bears' first game in the newly renovated Haas Pavilion, replacing the old Harmon Gym. The first meeting between the two schools was during the 1908-09 season (Cal won 39-28).

Pacific Head Coach Bob ThomasonBob Thomason is his 21st season at Pacific, where he has compiled a 343-250 record. Thomason has the most wins in Pacific history and has been named Big West Conference Coach of the Year five times (1993, 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2006).

Probable StartersPos	No	Name	        Ht	Wt	Yr	Ppg	RpgF	21	Anthony Brown	6-7	220	Sr	10.7	2.8C	34	Sam Willard	6-9	220	So	1.3	1.3G	42	Joe Ford	         6-6	210	Jr	2.5	2.0G	2	Chad Troyer	6-4	205	Sr	12.8	2.8G	15	Terrell Smith	6-4	210	So	1.9	1.6

Cal Cruises to 91-70 Exhibition Win over Seattle PacificTheo Robertson scored 23 of his game-high 29 points in the first half to lead Cal to a 91-70 victory over Seattle Pacific in an exhibition game played Nov. 6 at Haas Pavilion. Jerome Randle added 15 points and seven assists, while Jamal Boykin posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears. Robertson showed he was comfortable in his return to the court after a yearlong absence due to hip surgery, playing all but one minute of the first half as Cal enter the break leading 49-42 despite shooting over 62 percent from the floor. The 6-6 junior forward finished the game shooting 10-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line while gathering in four rebounds. Cal delivered 20 assists from eight different players, led by Randle's seven and four other Bears with multiple dishes. A three-point play from Randle with 12:45 in the second half boosted Cal's lead to 68-52. Seattle Pacific climbed back to within 13 points with 7:50 to play, but Boykin's fifth offensive rebound and ensuing free throws ratcheted the lead up to 17 and Cal never looked back. Junior guard Patrick Christopher chipped in 15 points and junior center Jordan Wilkes had six points and three rebounds. Several new Bears made their debut. Redshirt freshman Omondi Amoke joined the action in the second half, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds. True freshman guard Jorge Gutierrez added six points and three rebounds, while another true freshman, D.J. Seeley, had two points and four rebounds. The Bears were an impressive 14-for-15 from the line (93.3%). Free throws have been Cal's strength lately as the Bears were third in the nation last year from the charity stripe, shooting at a 77.6% clip (533-687), topping the school record of 76.9 set during the 2006-07 season.

Talented Guards Christopher and RandleMontgomery inherits returning starters in junior guards Christopher (15.2 ppg) and Randle (11.8) from a 2007-08 squad that finished 17-16 overall, 6-12 in the Pac-10 (9th) and advanced to the second round of the NIT. Christopher, a 2008 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, raised his scoring average 10.0 ppg from his freshman year in 2006-07 - the largest increase of any player in the Pac-10 - and he enters his junior campaign as the fourth-leading returning scorer in the conference. Christopher was 10th in the league with 15.2 ppg, reaching double figures 25 times. Randle also has shown the ability to score with 11.8 ppg last season, earning MVP honors at the 2007 Golden Bear Classic. He is Cal's leading returning three-point shooter (52 three-pointers, 39.7 %) and assist man (3.74 pg), and is the Bears' all-time best free throw shooter, having made 84.6 percent (115-136) of his career attempts from the line.

The Return of RobertsonMontgomey has singled out the return of 6-6 junior forward Theo Robertson as a key to the Bears' success this season. Robertson sat out all of last season following April 2007 hip surgery, but is now 100 percent healthy and has emerged as a team leader. One of the team's top defenders, he also owns a career 38.8 percentage from three-point range. Robertson averaged 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game two seasons ago while starting all 33 games. He shined in the Bears' exhibition victory over Seattle Pacific.

Bolstered by Boykin and KampWith the departure of the Bears' top two inside players, 6-10 Ryan Anderson and 6-11 DeVon Hardin, to the NBA, Cal will be counting heavily on the inside presence on 6-8 junior Jamal Boykin and 6-8 sophomore Harper Kamp. Boykin, who began his career at Duke, became eligible on Dec. 22 of last season and went on to start 11 games, averaging 7.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, including a career-high 18 points at UCLA. Kamp earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman accolades after contributing 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, playing in all 33 contests as a newcomer. He shot 49.1 percent from the floor and 72.9 percent from the free throw line, both percentages placing him 10th on the Cal all-time list for freshmen.

Golden Bear NotesMike Montgomery is one of four new Pac-10 coaches this season, joining Stanford's Johnny Dawkins, Oregon State's Craig Robinson and Arizona's Russ Pennell...Cal has no seniors on the 2008-09 squad, but features seven juniors...redshirt freshman Max Zhang is the tallest player in Cal history at 7-3...with the addition of 7-0 junior center Jordan Wilkes on the squad, it gives the Bears the first set of seven-foot teammates in school history...Wilkes is the younger brother of former Cal guard Omar Wilkes and the son of former UCLA and NBA star Jamaal Wilkes...Zhang is also one of three players on this year's team born outside the United States...Zhang was born in Yantai City, China; freshman guard Jorge Gutierrez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and junior guard Nikola Knezevic was born in Belgrade, Serbia...Gutierrez was the first recruit signed by head coach Montgomery...sophomore guard Eddie Miller is the son of Ed Miller, who is in his 25th year as Cal's associate head track and field coach and is a member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

100th Season of Cal Men's BasketballOver the course of its first century of play, Cal men's basketball has had its fair share of highlights - an NCAA championship in 1959, three Final Four appearances (1946, 1959, 1960) and an NIT title in 1999. The Bears have advanced to postseason 48 times, with the majority of those appearances in the last 25 years. Among the top names to pass through the Cal program include Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell; Olympic champions Darrall Imhoff, Jason Kidd and Shareef Abdur-Rahim; perennial NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson; and four Pac-10 Players of the Year (Kidd '94, Abdur-Rahim '96, Ed Gray '97, Sean Lampley '01). The Bears will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their NCAA title run. Led by all-conference guards Al Buch and Denny Fitzpatrick and All-America center Imhoff, Cal defeated Oscar Robinson's Cincinnati squad, 64-58, in the national semifinals, and then edged Jerry West's West Virginia team, 71-70, for the national crown. Cal will honor the 50 th anniversary of the 1959 championship with a special ceremony during the Feb. 14, 2009, game versus Stanford, which will include recognition of all Golden Bear basketball alumni who have contributed to Cal's history.

Cal on the RadioAll California games are broadcast on KYOU Radio (1550 AM) in San Francisco with Roxy Bernstein (play-by-play) and Todd McKim (analyst) calling the action. Other stations on the Cal/ISP Sports Network are KESP Radio (970 AM, Modesto), KTKZ Radio (1380 AM, Sacramento), KRXA Radio (540 AM, Monterey) and KNTV Radio (102.3 FM, Weed). Each broadcast begins 30 minutes prior to tip-off with the Cal Basketball Pregame Show and concludes with a 30-minute postgame wrap-up. A half-hour postgame show hosted by Eddy Kleinhans and Matt Foley follows each game.

Haas PavilionCal, now in its 10th season in the 11,877-seat Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion, has posted an 105-43 record in the facility, good for a .709 winning percentage. The arena, which opened in November 1999, is a renovated and expanded version of old Harmon Gym - host of Cal basketball from 1933-97. The floor is deemed Pete Newell Court, honoring Cal's Hall of Fame coach who guided the Bears to the 1959 NCAA title.

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