Nov. 30, 1999
BERKELEY, Calif. - California makes its only venture to an opponent's home court prior to Pac-10 play when the Golden Bears visit Colorado Saturday night. Cal's only other games outside the Bay Area before conference season were at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the Bears played three neutral-site contests.
At 4-1 this year, Cal has upped its non-conference record to 18-2 over the past two seasons. Last year, Cal tied for the second-best non-conference record in the country at 14-1 (topped only by NCAA champion Connecticut, 16-0). This year's team has started with a second-place finish in the Alaska tournament and a 2-0 mark in the new Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion.
But with four freshmen in the starting lineup, the 1999-2000 Cal squad bears little resemblance to its 1998-99 counterpart. Three newcomers - Donte Smith, Brian Wethers and Joe Shipp - have started all five games this year, and rookie center Nick Vander Laan as been in the opening lineup the last two games.
Vander Laan has responded by leading the Bears in scoring at 16.6 ppg on 64.3 percent shooting from the floor. Named to the all-tournament team at the Top of the World Classic, he had 20 points in the opener vs. TCU and 23 more against Oklahoma. The rest of the freshman class, which also includes point guard Shantay Legans, ranks in the top six in scoring. As a group, they are contributing almost two-third's of Cal's points and almost half of Cal's rebounds.
The only returning player to start is junior forward Sean Lampley. Cal's team captain, Lampley is averaging a double-double with 16.4 ppg and 10.8 rpg on 56.4 percent field goal shooting. He had a high of 26 points against Houston and grabbed a season-best 15 boards in Monday's win over Hofstra. Even with all the changes, the Bears are proving to be an unselfish team. Last year, Cal averaged just 12.67 assists per game. But this season, Cal is dishing out 16.20 apg with at least 16 in four of five games. Legans, who set a TOWC record with 15 assists in the three games in Alaska, leads the pack with 25 assists and just 10 turnovers.
Another marked area of improvement for Cal is at the free throw line. Five players are shooting 84 percent or better, leading to a team rate of 75.3 percent. Cal went 9-for-9 from the stripe down the stretch in a 76-72 win over Pacific and shot 9-for-10 in the last two minutes against Hofstra.
Game No. 6: California Golden Bears (4-1) at Colorado Buffaloes (3-1)
Saturday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT, Boulder, CO
Cal on the Radio
All California games will be broadcast on KABL Radio (960 AM) in San Francisco and KATD Radio (990 AM) in Concord with Roxy Bernstein calling the action. Each broadcast begins 20 minutes prior to tip-off with the Cal Basketball Pregame Show. After the game, head coach Ben Braun will recap the action on the Cal Basketball Postgame Show. In addition to the radio, broadcasts can be heard on the Internet at www.broadcast.com.
All Cal releases, results, statistics, box scores, schedules and coach and player information, as well as historical data, is available on the Internet at www.calbears.com. Game recaps and statistics are updated after each contest. The site also includes information on all 27 of Cal's teams.
Cal Radio on Telephone
All Cal basketball radio broadcasts during the 1999-2000 season are available nationwide via telephone through TRZ Telephone Broadcast Services. Fans may access the Cal games from anywhere in the country by dialing 800-846-4700, extension 5918. The cost is 50 cents for the first minute, with decreasing rates for each addition minute.
Cal returned to campus this season with the opening of the new 12,300-seat Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion. The $57.5 million facility is a renovated and expanded version of old Harmon Gym. In addition to the basketball court, the building features coaching and administrative office space, locker rooms, a spacious weight room and athletic training facilities, as well as media work and interview rooms. While Haas Pavilion was under construction, Cal played the last two seasons at the New Arena in Oakland.
Cal Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), who was named the 14th head coach in Cal history on Sept. 15, 1996, is in his fourth year in Berkeley and 23rd season as collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 61-36, while his career mark, which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College, is 394-271. The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a finalist for '97 National Coach of the Year honors, Braun led the Bears to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1997 and to the NIT championship in 1999. In October 1997, he agreed to a new eight-year contract that extends through the 2004-05 season. 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 played one year of basketball at Wisconsin-LaCrosse before transferring to Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a teaching degree in English with a minor in African-American studies in 1975. He received his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Siena Heights.
Colorado Scouting ReportA Look at Colorado (3-1)
Colorado won its first three games of the year before falling at Virginia Commonwealth, 82-78, in overtime last Sunday. Senior guard Jaquay Walls is the only player averaging in double figures (16.2 ppg), but the Buffaloes have seven players averaging more than 4 ppg and nine players averaging at least 12 minutes per game. Last year, CU was 18-15 and reached the second round of the NIT.
Cal-Colorado Series History
Cal leads the series with Colorado, 8-4, but the teams haven't met since the Bears won, 70-54, on Jan. 2, 1989 in Berkeley. Cal is 0-4 in Boulder with the last decision being a 76-61 Colorado win on Jan. 12, 1987.
Colorado Head Coach Ricardo Patton
Ricardo Patton is in his fourth season at Colorado and has compiled a 42-34 record there. His 1996-97 team set a school record with 22 wins and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Golden Bear NotesLegans Leads Cal Past Hofstra, 68-61
Freshman guard Shantay Legans came off the bench to contribute nine points and eight assists with no turnovers, leading Cal to a 68-61 victory of Hofstra Monday night at Haas Pavilion. The Bears shot only 26.9 percent from the floor in the first half and trailed, 25-23, at the break. However, with Legans at the point, Cal turned it around to shoot 68.2 percent in the second half. The Bears took the lead for good at 59-57 on a Brian Wethers layup with 2:02 to go and made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch. Freshman center Nick Vander Laan paced Cal with 16 points, while junior forward Sean Lampley pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds.
Freshmen Class Makes Big Impact on Bears
Before the start of the season, head coach Ben Braun stated that all five Cal freshmen would get a chance to contribute right away for the Bears. What he probably didn't expect was the magnitude of their impact on the team so early in the year. Three freshmen have started each of Cal's five games - guards Donte Smith and Brian Wethers and forward Joe Shipp. That trio has been joined by freshman center Nick Vander Laan in the opening lineup the last two contests, meaning Cal is starting four freshmen and a junior (Sean Lampley). As a group, the five newcomers, which also include guard Shantay Legans, has averaged 52.0 ppg (67.0% of team total), 17.4 rpg (46.8%) and 10.8 apg (66.7%). Vander Laan leads the team in scoring with 16.6 ppg, including a high of 23 points vs. Oklahoma. Shipp scored 20 points in his debut against TCU, while Legans paces the Bears with 25 assists (5.0 apg). In addition, Smith has made a team-high seven three-points and Wethers has reached double figures in three of his last four outings.
Golden Bear Breakdown
Senior (2) - Robbie Jones, Raymond King
Junior (1) - Sean Lampley
Sophomore (3) - Dennis Gates, Shahar Gordon, Solomon Hughes
Freshman (5) - Shantay Legans, Joe Shipp, Donte Smith, Nick Vander Laan, Brian Wethers
6-11 - Solomon Hughes
6-10 - Shahar Gordon, Nick Vander Laan
6-7 - Sean Lampley
6-5 - Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers
6-3 - Dennis Gates, Robbie Jones
6-2 - Donte Smith
5-10 - Raymond King, Shantay Legans
|Nick Vander Laan||5||2|
|Nick Vander Laan||83||16.6|
|Nick Vander Laan||37||7.4|
|Nick Vander Laan||4||0.8|
*Cal statistics only
Cal Coming Up Big in Clutch
Cal may be starting four freshmen this season, but the Bears are coming across as veterans in crunch time this year. In last Saturday's win over Pacific, Cal outscored the Tigers, 22-10, over the last 6:30 to pull out a 76-72 victory. The Bears also shot 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the final 4:57 to keep Pacific at bay. In Monday's victory over Hofstra, Cal was equally impressive, going 9-for-10 from the stripe in the last 1:37 to pull out a 68-61 win. The Bears are 16-for-20 from the free throw line (80.0%) in the last two minutes of games and are shooting 75.3 percent as a team overall. Five players are above 84.0 percent: Joe Shipp (9-9, 100%), Shantay Legans (11-12, 91.7%), Brian Wethers (7-8, 87.5%), Dennis Gates (7-8, 87.5%) and Nick Vander Laan (11-13, 84.6%). That's quick a turnaround for a team that shot 67.1 percent from the line last year and hasn't been above 70 percent for a full year since 1989-90 (70.4%).
Lampley Lights the Way for Bears
Junior forward Sean Lampley, Cal's only returning starter from the 1999 NIT champion team, has handled his veteran status well, leading the team in rebounding (10.8 rpg) and ranking second in both scoring (16.4 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg). He has had double-doubles three times this season - 16-12 vs. TCU, 26-12 vs. Houston and 22-13 vs. Pacific. The 26 points on 10-of-16 field goal shooting against UH just missed his career best of 28 points set in the first round of the NIT last year against Fresno State. Lampley now has 16 career double-doubles and has led Cal on the boards 28 times in his last 37 games. His 7.4 career rpg average ranks 14th in school history and is the best for a Bear since Brian Hendrick averaged 8.5 rpg from 1990-93.
Cal Maintains Unbeaten On-Campus Streak
After a two-year hiatus, Cal has picked up right where it left off on campus with wins over Pacific and Hofstra, giving the Bears 20 consecutive victories in Berkeley. The streak, which included a 7-0 mark in Harmon Gym in 1995-96 and an 11-0 mark there in 1996-97, is the second longest in school history. The only longer on-campus winning streak came between Dec. 27, 1958 and Dec. 16, 1960 when the Bears won 26 games in a row at home. During its current run, Cal played seven games off campus in 1995-96 (6 at the Oakland Arena, 1 at the San Jose Arena) and three games at the Cow Palace in '96-97. The last two years, the Bears played all their home games at the Oakland Arena.
Cal's Longest On-Campus Homecourt Winning Streaks
|26||Dec. 27, 1958 to Dec. 16, 1960|
|20||Nov. 25, 1995 to present|
|16||February 1953 to Jan. 30, 1954|
|15||Dec. 8, 1945 to March 8, 1946|
|13||Jan. 31, 1925 to 1927-28.|
Bear Squad Youngest in School History
With only three upperclassmen among its 11 scholarship players, this year's Cal team is the youngest in school history. The Bears lost four starters and their sixth man following their NIT championship run last spring, leaving them with just two seniors and one junior for the upcoming campaign. A look at past rosters shows that every previous Cal squad had at least four upperclassmen. Below is a look at several of the youngest squads to play for the Bears:
Vander Laan Puts Up Big Numbers in the Middle
It's been seven seasons since Cal had a center that scored in double figures, but freshman Nick Vander Laan is on his way to snapping that string. Through five games, the 6-10 Sacramento product is averaging a team-high 16.6 ppg on 64.3 percent shooting from the floor (36-56). He scored 20 points in his debut vs. TCU, then came back with 23 against Oklahoma in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic. As a result, Vander Laan was voted to the all-tournament team. Upon Cal's return to Berkeley, Vander Laan received his first start and responded with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists vs. Pacific. The last center to average at least 10 points for the Bears was Brian Hendrick, who averaged 10.4 ppg during 1992-93 season.
This Week in the Pac-10Nov. 30 - Portland at Oregon
Dec. 1 - BYU at Arizona, Colorado State at Arizona State, Idaho at Oregon State, Morgan State at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara at USC
Dec. 2 - Washington at UNC Wilmington
Dec. 3 - Oregon at Portland State
Dec. 4 - Arizona at Texas, Morgan State at Arizona State, California at Colorado, Oregon State at Colorado State, USC at St. Bonaventure, Washington at Old Dominion, Southern at Washington State
Cal Continues to Show Comeback Ability
When Cal trailed Pacific by 18 points early in the first half of last Saturday's game, the Bears took a cue from their 1998-99 squad en route to the 76-72 victory. Last season, Cal came back from at least 10 points down to win six times, including overcoming a 17-point hole at DePaul in the second round of the NIT.
Cal's Recent Double-Digit Comebacks
|Pacific||11/27/99||18 (26-8)||10:16/1st||W 76-72|
|at DePaul||3/16/99||17 (28-11)||7:41/1st||W 58-57|
|Fresno State||3/10/99||12 (49-37)||14:30/2nd||W 79-71|
|Arizona State||2/27/99||14 (32-18)||6:37/1st||W 78-73|
|Arizona||2/25/99||10 (22-12)||13:34/1st||W 89-76|
|North Carolina||12/29/98||10 (59-49)||13:28/2nd||W 78-71|
|Coppin State||12/7/98||12 (41-29)||13:08/2nd||W 54-52|
Legans Leads from the Point
Point guard Shantay Legans is the only freshmen not to have started a game for Cal this season, but he hasn't let that fact keep him from being a floor leader. Legans is second on the team in minutes played (27.8 ppg) and has a team-high 25 assists (5.0 apg) and just 10 turnovers. Considering that six of those turnovers came against Oklahoma, he has only four turnovers in Cal's other four games. Perhaps his most impressive performance game last Monday against Hofstra when he finished with nine points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers. Overall, Legans is averaging 9.0 ppg, shooting 48.3 percent from the floor, 60.0 percent from the three-point range (6-10) and 91.7 percent from the line (11-12). He also has a team-best nine steals.
Golden Bear Notes