Cal Prepares For The Pete Newell Challenge
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  12/20/1999

Dec. 20, 1999

BERKELEY, Calif. - A Quick Look at the Golden Bears

Cal returns to familiar territory Tuesday night when the Bears meet 22nd-ranked Gonzaga in the third annual Pete Newell Challenge at the New Arena in Oakland. While Haas Pavilion was under construction on campus the last two years, Cal played all of its home games in Oakland, posting a 24-8 record there during that span, including a 14-1 mark last season.

The Bears are 2-0 in their Newell Challenge games, beating BYU, 68-64, in the inaugural contest in 1997, then defeating ninth-ranked North Carolina, 78-71, last season before a crowd of 19,657.

As opposed to last year when Cal relied on four senior starters, this season's squad has five freshmen among the top six scorers. Each of the newcomers has started at least two games, and there have been at least two freshmen starters in every game. Three times, head coach Ben Braun has gone with four rookies in the opening lineup, with only junior forward Sean Lampley providing veteran status.

Lampley, the MVP of last year's NIT championship, has proven to be a more than capable leader for this young group. He paces Cal in scoring (16.1 ppg) and tops the Pac-10 in rebounding (9.9 rpg). Lampley is also shooting 56.7 percent from the floor and ranks second on the team in assists with 2.9 per game, dishing out four assists four different times.

Among the newcomers, Joe Shipp has reached double figures six times, with a high of 22 points at Colorado. A deadly shooter, he has made a team-high 15 three-pointers (46.9%) and is a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line.

Freshman point guard Shantay Legans, despite starting just two of eight games, is second on the Bears in minutes at 27.5 per game. In his first start against San Jose State, Legans totaled a career-best 19 points. In addition to his team-leading 37 assists (4.6 apg), he is making 61.1 percent of his three-pointers (11-18) and 95.0 percent of his free throws (19-20).

The Bears depth, though, will be tested over the next month, as Cal will be without the services of sophomore center Shahar Gordon, who is out until late January following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Dec. 17. His absence leaves the Bears with just 6-11 sophomore Solomon Hughes and 6-10 freshman Nick Vander Laan as the only players over 6-7 on the roster.

Probable Starters & Key Reserves

F21Sean Lampley6-7225Jr16.19.94 double-doubles, leads Pac-10 in rebounding
F25Brian Wethers6-5205Fr6.63.112 points, 6 rebounds vs. Pacific
C14Solomon Hughes6-11230So3.92.46 points, 6 rebounds at Colorado, 6 blocks
G12Shantay Legans5-10165Fr9.04.6 apgShooting 61.1% (11-18) from 3-point range, 19 points vs. SJS
G15Dennis Gates6-3190So3.71.6Second on team with 9 steals, including 4 vs. Oklahoma
G3Donte Smith6-2195FrR7.12.0 apgCareer-high 16 points vs. UC Irvine
C32Nick Vander Laan6-10250Fr12.06.063.6% FG shooter, 23 points vs. Oklahoma
F34Joe Shipp6-5215Fr12.63.522 points at Colorado, 14-14 FT (100%) this season

Head Coach: Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75) 63-37 at Cal (4th year) & 396-272 overall (23rd year)

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

All Cal releases, results, statistics, box scores, schedules and coach and player information, as well as historical data, is available on the Internet at Game recaps and statistics are updated after each contest. The site also includes information on all 27 of Cal's teams.

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.

Haas Pavilion

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 63-37, while his career mark, which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College, is 396-272. 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.

UC Irvine Scouting Report A Look at Gonzaga

(7-2) Gonzaga, which reached the Elite Eight of the last year's NCAA Tournament, is off to a 7-2 start this season. Since Dec. 4, the Bulldogs have played road games against Cincinnati, Temple, UCLA and Washington. Gonzaga is led by Richie Frahm's 13.9 ppg. Defensively, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to just 36.9 percent from the field.

Cal-Gonzaga Series History

Cal and Gonzaga will meet for the first time Tuesday night.

Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few

Mark Few is in his first season as head coach of Gonzaga after serving as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs for the previous 10 years. He was named head coach on July 26, taking over for Dan Monson, who left for Minnesota.

Probable Starters

F24Richie Frahm6-5210Sr13.95.2
F31Casey Calvery6-8235Jr12.47.2
C30Axel Dench6-11245Sr7.23.8
G13Matt Santangelo6-1176Sr13.26.3
G25Mike Nilson6-5216Sr2.64.8

Golden Bear Notes

Lampley, Smith Lead Cal Past UC Irvine

California returned from an 11-day break for final exams with a convincing 88-61 victory over UC Irvine Saturday night at Haas Pavilion. The Bears led, 40-30, at the half, then scored the first 12 points out of the break to essentially put the game out of reach. Junior Sean Lampley posted his fourth double-double of the year with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. He scored 14 of his points in the second half (7-8 FG). In addition, freshman guard Donte Smith broke out of a slump with a career-high 16 points. Freshman Joe Shipp also added 13 points off the bench for the Bears.

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. Every freshman has started at least two games, with Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers starting seven each. Guard Donte Smith has six starts, while center Nick Vander Laan owns three and guard Shantay Legans two. Three times this year Cal has started four freshmen in a game with junior Sean Lampley the only veteran in the lineup. As a group, the five newcomers average 47.4 ppg (62.7% of team total), 15.3 rpg (43.1%) and 10.8 apg (64.1%). Shipp ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.6 ppg, including a best of 22 at Colorado, while Vander Laan was named to the Top of the World Classic all-tournament team. Legans paces the Bears in both assists (37) and steals (15). In addition, Smith and Wethers have started six times together and provided solid play in the backcourt.

Golden Bear Breakdown

By Class

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

By Height

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

Sean Lampley6744
Raymond King*6214
Robbie Jones3710
Solomon Hughes377
Dennis Gates364
Shahar Gordon343
Shantay Legans82
Joe Shipp87
Donte Smith86
Nick Vander Laan83
Brian Wethers87

Sean Lampley75111.2
Raymond King*2584.2
Solomon Hughes1283.5
Joe Shipp10112.6
Dennis Gates1012.8
Nick Vander Laan9612.0
Shantay Legans729.0
Robbie Jones671.8
Donte Smith577.1
Brian Wethers536.6
Shahar Gordon421.2

Sean Lampley4997.4
Raymond King*1081.7
Solomon Hughes902.4
Robbie Jones551.5
Nick Vander Laan486.0
Shahar Gordon401.2
Dennis Gates381.1
Joe Shipp283.5
Brian Wethers253.1
Shantay Legans121.5
Donte Smith91.1

Raymond King*1131.8
Sean Lampley1131.7
Shantay Legans374.6
Dennis Gates270.8
Shahar Gordon190.6
Robbie Jones160.4
Donte Smith162.0
Brian Wethers131.6
Joe Shipp91.1
Nick Vander Laan91.1
Solomon Hughes50.1

*Cal statistics only

Hot Shots!: 3 Players Better Than 55% from Floor

The last two seasons, Cal has shot less than 44.0% from the floor as a team 43.8% in 1997-98 and 43.2% last year. But this year, the Bears are at 48.9%, shooting better than 50% from the field four times in eight games (season high: 57.1% vs. San Jose State). Leading the way is freshman center Nick Vander Laan, who is 42-of-66 from the field, good for 63.6%. In addition, both junior forward Sean Lampley (56.7%) and freshman forward Joe Shipp (56.2%) are above the 55% level, meaning Cal's top three scorers are making a combined 58.6% of their attempts.

Hot Shots! Part Deux

Not only are the Bears proving they can score from the field, but they have a couple of players nailing their three-point and free throw attempts at a pretty fair rate. Freshman Shantay Legans is 11-for-18 from beyond the arc (61.1%), including a 5-for-7 effort vs. San Jose State. Freshman Joe Shipp leads the Bears in treys with 15 and is sinking his at a 46.9% clip. From the free throw line, Shipp tops the charts at a perfect 14-for-14, while Legans is at 95.0% (19-20).

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 scoring (16.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg) and ranking second in assists (2.9 apg). He has had double-doubles four times this season 16-12 vs. TCU, 26-12 vs. Houston, 22-13 vs. Pacific and 16-10 vs. UC Irvine. 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. He also had a Pac-10-high 15 boards vs. Hofstra. Lampley now has 17 career double-doubles and has led Cal on the boards 31 times in his last 40 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. Lampley also needs just one more rebound for 500 in his career.

Cal Maintains Unbeaten On-Campus Streak

After a two-year hiatus, Cal has picked up right where it left off on campus with four home wins this season, giving the Bears 22 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 home games at the Oakland Arena.

Cal's Longest On-Campus Homecourt Winning Streaks

26Dec. 27, 1958 to Dec. 16, 1960
22Nov. 25, 1995 to present
16Feb. //, 1953 to Jan. 30, 1954
15Dec. 8, 1945 to March 8, 1946
13Jan. 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:


Pac-10 Standings

Oregon State0-06-2
Arizona State0-05-3
Washington State0-04-3

This Week in the Pac-10

Dec. 20 Wyoming at Oregon State, USC at San Diego State, Washington State at Portland State

Dec. 21 New Mexico at Arizona, Santa Clara at Arizona State, California vs. Gonzaga, Stanford vs. Mississippi State, UCLA vs. Maine, Oklahoma State at Washington

Dec. 22 Northern Arizona at Oregon, UCLA at Pearl Harbor Classic

Dec. 23 UCLA at Pearl Harbor Classic, Boise State at Washington

Three-Point Shot Back in Cal Offense

After making an average of just 3.5 three-pointers per game and shooting a Pac-10-low 31.0 percent from long range last season, the Bears have become much better three-point shooters this year. A trio of freshmen are shooting at least 40.0 percent from behind the arc, led by Shantay Legan's 61.1 percent (11-18). Joe Shipp is 15-for-32 (46.9%) and Donte Smith is 10-for-25 (40.0%). As a team, Cal is at 37.6 percent and making 5.5 per contest. The Bears have made more than five in a game four times already. As a comparison, it took Cal 33 games to reach that total last season.

Bears Proving to Be Second Half Team

So far this season, Cal is proving to be a much better second half team. Overall, the Bears are shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and averaging 34.9 ppg in the first halves of games, but raise those numbers to 53.8 percent and 40.8 ppg after intermission. The difference is even more dramatic at home 39.5 percent and 31.5 ppg in the first half, 60.0 percent and 43.3 ppg in the second half. The biggest turnaround came in a 68-61 win over Hofstra Nov. 29. Cal trailed 25-23, shooting just 26.9 percent, at the break. But in the second half, the Bears scored 45 points and shot 68.2 percent from the field.

Cal Continues to Show Comeback Ability

When Cal trailed Pacific by 18 points early in the first half of their Nov. 27 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. In addition to the UOP game this year, Cal trailed Hofstra, 25-23, at the break before winning, 68-61. The Bears also fell behind by eight points to San Jose State before taking a 67-52 decision.

Cal's Recent Double-Digit Comebacks

Pacific11/27/9918 (26-8)10:16/1stW 76-72
at DePaul3/16/9917 (28-11)7:41/1stW 58-57
Fresno State3/10/9912 (49-37)14:30/2ndW 79-71
Arizona State2/27/9914 (32-18)6:37/1stW 78-73
Arizona2/25/9910 (22-12)13:34/1stW 89-76
North Carolina12/29/9810 (59-49)13:28/2ndW 78-71
Coppin State12/7/9812 (41-29)13:08/2ndW 54-52

Legans Leads from the Point

Point guard Shantay Legans may have only started Cal's last two games, but he hasn't let that fact keep him from being a floor leader. Legans is second on the team in minutes played (27.5 mpg) and has a team-high 37 assists (4.6 apg) and just 17 turnovers. Against San Jose State Dec. 7, he clearly had his best game with 19 points and four assists. He also had a strong game off the bench against Hofstra with nine points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers. Overall, Legans is averaging 9.0 ppg, shooting 46.7% from the floor, 61.1% from three-point range (11-18) and 95.0% from the free throw line (19-20). He also has a team-best 15 steals, including four vs. UC Irvine.

Golden Bear Notes

The 10 three-pointers (19 attempts) by Cal against San Jose State were the most for the Bears since they had 11 (19 attempts) at Stanford on Jan. 31, 1996 Cal shot 53.2 percent from the floor against TCU (33-62) and 54.3 percent from the field against Houston (38-70) the first time the Bears have shot at least 50 percent in consecutive games since they did it against Oregon State and Stanford Jan. 5 & 10, 1996, the Bears repeated the feat vs. San Jose State (57.1%) and UC Irvine (51.6%) Cal also scored 90+ points two games in a row vs. TCU (91) and Houston (95) for the first time since November 1995 against Northern Arizona and Texas Southern the Bears have won 20 of their last 23 non-conference games, including a 14-1 mark last year when Joe Shipp and Nick Vander Laan each scored 20 points vs. TCU last week, it marked the highest scoring output for a Cal freshman in his debut game since Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 33 vs. Northern Arizona in 1995 Shantay Legans had five three-pointers vs. San Jose State, the most for a Cal player since Geno Carlisle had five at Oregon State on Jan. 5, 1998.