Dec. 3, 2007
Jackson State Tigers (1-7) at California Golden Bears (5-0)
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: CalBears.com webcast
California at Kansas State Wildcats (5-2, vs. Notre Dame in Jimmy V Classic 12/4)
Sunday, Dec. 9, 1 p.m. CT/11:00 a.m. PT, Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Bay Area
California looks to extend its best start in 13 years when the 5-0 Golden Bears host Jackson State at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday before visiting Kansas State at 1 p.m. CT/11 a.m. PT Sunday.
Cal, which has won 16 of its last 17 non-conference home games, is 4-0 at Haas Pavilion this year.
The Bears have shown a penchant for coming back from big deficits in their last two outings in Berkeley. Cal trailed San Diego State by 14 points late in the first half Nov. 24, yet won, 77-69. Then last Saturday, the Bears were down by 13 points to Missouri just after returning from intermission and prevailed, 86-72.
Cal sports two of the top four scorers in the Pac-10 in sophomore F Ryan Anderson, who leads the league with 22.4 ppg, and sophomore G Patrick Christopher, who is fourth with 19.6 ppg. Anderson already has three 20-point games to his credit, giving him 11 in his career, including a career-best 36-point performance at Nevada Nov. 28.
On the defensive end, senior C DeVon Hardin ranks second nationally in rebounding with 14.0 rpg, having grabbed at least 10 boards each time out. He has helped Cal to a +10.2 rebound margin as a team. The Bears held a 48-34 advantage on the boards at Nevada and had a 41-20 differential against Missouri.
In addition, Cal is limiting opponents to 39.3 percent field goal shooting. The Bears have been particularly effective in second halves, with San Diego State shooting 10-for-35, Nevada 10-for-33 and Missouri 10-for-30 after the break.
Schedule Note: Times for the second day of the Golden Bear Classic (Dec. 29) have changed to 5 p.m. for the consolation game and 7:30 p.m. the championship game. Times for the first day (Dec. 28) will remain the same.
Probable Starters POS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPG F 14 Eric Vierneisel 6-7 210 Sr 1.8 2.5 Second on Bears with 13 assists (2.6 per game) F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 240 So 22.4 10.0 Career-high 36 points plus 13 rebounds at Nevada C 35 DeVon Hardin 6-11 250 Sr 9.6 14.0 2nd in country in rebound average; 106 career blocks (#3 at Cal) G 3 Jerome Randle 5-10 165 So 14.3 2.7 apg 21 points vs. SDSU in first game after Oct. 29 kidney biopsy G 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 215 So 19.6 3.8 11 of team-high 18 points came in second half vs. Missouri
Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 12th year in Berkeley and 31st season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 207-138, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 540-373. 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. 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.
Jackson State Scouting Report
A Look at Jackson State
Jackson State, which won the SWAC title last season to advance to the NCAA Tournament, is off to a 1-7 start this year. The Tigers' lone win was a 74-70 victory over Iona at the Las Vegas Invitational Nov. 24. Grant Maxey paces the team in scoring (14.5 ppg), rebounding (5.5 rpg) and steals (11). Wednesday's game marks Jackson State's seventh contest away from home already this season.
Cal-Jackson State Series History
This will be the first meeting between Cal and Jackson State.
Jackson State Head Coach Tevester Anderson
Tevester Anderson is in this fifth season at Jackson State, where he has compiled a 64-72 record. He previously spent five seasons at Murray State and was 103-52 with two conference titles and a pair of berths in the NCAA playoffs.
Probable Starters Pos No Name Ht Wt Yr Ppg Rpg F 32 Grant Maxey 6-7 180 So 14.5 5.5 F 44 Jeremy Caldwell 6-8 200 Jr 11.7 4.7 G 1 Phillip Lockhart 5-11 175 Sr 0.9 0.9 G 3 Catraiva Givens 5-8 155 Sr 6.4 1.8 G 10 Daniel Huggins 6-3 180 So 0.6 1.2
For more information: www.jsutigers.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Game: Cal Comes Back to Down Missouri, 86-72
Sophomore G Patrick Christopher scored 18 points to lead five Cal players in double figures, as the Bears came back to defeat Missouri, 86-72, in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Cal trailed for most of the first half and was down, 52-39, with 18:57 left in the game. From that point forward, though, the Bears outscored the Tigers, 49-20. Sophomore G Nikola Knezevic put Cal up for good with a lay-up to make it 64-63, and Cal later used an 8-0 run to go from 70-68 to 80-70 with 3:20 to go. After allowing Missouri to shoot 65.4 percent from the floor in the first half (17-26), the Bears limited the Tigers to 33.3 percent after the break (10-33).
Year of the Sophomore for Golden Bears
In many circles around the country, the 2007-08 season has been deemed the Year of the Freshman for the number of quality newcomers on college rosters. But at Cal, the campaign can easily be called the Year of the Sophomore. The Bears' second-year players are combining to average 59.4 ppg, or 78.6 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 22.4 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 19.6 ppg and Jerome Randle with 14.3 ppg. Each player has already set a career high, as well. Anderson poured in 36 points at Nevada, Christopher matched his personal best with 24 points against Nicholls State, and Randle came through with 21 points against San Diego State.
Cal Production by Class Points (Avg.) Rebounds (Avg.) Assists (Avg.) Senior 55 (11.0) 80 (16.0) 18 (3.6) Junior 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) Sophomore 297 (59.4) 87 (17.4) 37 (7.4) Freshman 26 (5.2) 14 (2.8) 6 (1.2)
Anderson Averaging 25.3 ppg Last 4 Games
When sophomore F Ryan Anderson erupted for a career-high 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor in Cal's Nov. 28 win at Nevada, he became the first Golden Bear to score more than 30 since Leon Powe had 41 vs. Oregon in the semifinals of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament. For the season, Anderson is now averaging 22.4 ppg on 50.7 percent field goal shooting. After an 11-point outing in the opener vs. Southern Miss - when he missed 10 minutes of the second half with blurred vision in his left eye - he went for 27 points vs. Nicholls State Nov. 19, 23 vs. San Diego State Nov. 24 and 36 at Nevada Nov. 28 in consecutive games, then followed up with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Missouri Dec. 1. Anderson scored 86 points during his Nov. 19-28 burst, becoming the first Cal player to have as many in a three-game stretch since Ed Gray had 90 in games against Oregon State (25), Washington (17) and Washington State (school-record 48) in February 1997.
Anderson, Hardin Lead Pac-10 in Scoring, Rebounding
Sophomore F Ryan Anderson, averaging 22.4 ppg, and senior C DeVon Hardin, grabbing 14.0 rpg, lead the Pac-10 in scoring and rebounding, respectively. On the national scene, Anderson is 16th in the scoring column, while Hardin is second behind Kansas State's Michael Beasley (15.0 rpg). Hardin has had at least 12 boards in every game, including a career-best 16 at Nevada. He is the first Cal player to reach double figures in rebounding in the first five games of a season since Leon Powe in 2003-04. No Bear has run off a six-game streak since Bob Presley in the 1968-69 season began the year with seven in a row.
Cal Off to Best Start under Head Coach Ben Braun
Now at 5-0 to begin the season, Cal is off to its best start in 12 years under head coach Ben Braun. In 2001-02, the Bears won their first four games before losing. Cal was last 5-0 or better in 1994-95, when the Bears got off the blocks with wins in their first seven contests, although those victories were later forfeited for use of an ineligible player. Prior to that season, the last time Cal won more than five straight to open a year was 1967-68, when the Bears were 7-0.
Bears Dominating Boards in Early Season Contests
Cal has out-rebounded its opponents in every game this year and enters this week's play with a +10.2 rebound margin. The Bears have had double-figure differentials in their last two outings - +14 at Nevada (48-34) and +21 vs. Missouri (41-20). So how rare is it for Cal to post such a margin? The Bears haven't been +4.0 or better for a full season since 1992-93 (+4.6) or +5.0 or better since 1968-69 (+6.5).
Top Rebound Margins in School History Season Cal Reb Opp Reb Margin 1959-60 46.8 35.6 +11.2 2007-08 41.2 31.0 +10.2 1968-69 53.2 46.7 +6.5 1967-68 52.2 46.4 +5.8 1958-59 45.1 40.1 +5.0
With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to Form
In Cal's first five games of the season, the Bears have limited their opponents to 66.0 ppg and 39.3 percent shooting from the floor, and much of the reason for those low figures can be traced to the return of DeVon Hardin to the lineup. Not only does the 6-11 senior center have a team-leading 11 blocks so far, but he has also grabbed at least 12 rebounds each time out. Cal's defensive stats represent quite a turnaround from last year; during the final 22 games of the year when Hardin was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, the Bears surrendered 73.0 ppg and 49.7 percent shooting.
With Hardin in '07-08 Without Hardin in '06-07 (5 games) (final 22 games) PPG Allowed 66.0 ppg 73.0 ppg FG% Allowed 39.3% (119-303) 49.7% (579-1166) More than 70 Points Allowed 1 12
Jerome Randle Sparkles in Return to Court
Sophomore G Jerome Randle underwent a kidney biopsy Oct. 29, and although the results revealed a mild inflammation that can be treated with medication, he was kept off the court for almost four weeks to allow the procedure to heal. But in his first game back - Cal's 77-69 win over San Diego State on Nov. 24 - he proved to be the difference with his quickness and scoring ability. After scoring five points in the first half, he came through with 16 after intermission to finish with a career-best 21, topping the 19 he had at home vs. Stanford last season. Randle sank 8-of-12 from the floor, including all three of his three-point attempts. He later tossed in 16 points vs. Missouri Dec. 1.
Patrick Christopher Raises Scoring Production
After averaging 5.2 ppg and reaching double figures just four times as a freshman last year, sophomore G Patrick Christopher has shown off a new-found scoring ability so far this season, reaching double figures in all five games to pass his total for all of 2006-07. He tied his career high with 24 points against Nicholls State, then tossed in 21 more against San Diego State, including 16 in the second half. Christopher also paced the Bears with 18 points - 11 after halftime - vs. Missouri. For the year, he is averaging 19.6 ppg, which ranks fourth in the Pac-10.
Hardin Up to Third in Cal Career Blocks
With 11 blocks so far this season, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into third place on the Bears' all-time list with 106. He had a high of four in the opener vs. Southern Miss, when he finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. The 6-11 Hardin has led Cal in blocks each of the past two seasons. He totaled 48 as a sophomore in 2006 - No. 5 on the Bear charts - and had a team-best 21 last year despite being limited to just 11 games due to injury. Hardin's individual game high is five, a mark he set against Santa Clara last Nov. 20, and he has had at least three 14 times.
Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders 1. Michael Stewart (1994-97) 207 2. Solomon Hughes (1999-02) 122 3. DeVon Hardin (2004- ) 106 4. Tom Schneiderjohn (1976-79) 105
Walk-ons Continue Tradition of Filling Significant Roles
With Cal down to six available scholarship players for the Nov. 19 contest vs. Nicholls State, the Bears were forced to rely on their stable of walk-ons to fill significant roles. Sophomore G David Liss earned his first career start and came through with eight points (3-5 FG, 2-4 3P), four assists and a block in 37 minutes. For all of last season, he played in 12 games and saw a total of 18 minutes of action. In addition, sophomore Nican Robinson (4 games) and freshman Eddie Miller (5 games) have all seen action to date. Under head coach Ben Braun, utilizing walk-ons in significant roles is nothing new. Alex Pribble, now a student assistant coach, started Cal's final five games at a wing spot last year, while Ryan Forehan-Kelly finished his career in 2002 ranked fourth on the school's all-time three-point shooting list (40.7 percent) and A.J. Diggs (2001-04) picked off 158 steals, good for third all-time in Bear annals.
Hardin, Anderson on Preseason Watch Lists
Senior C DeVon Hardin and sophomore F Ryan Anderson form one of the top frontcourts in the country (No. 8 according to Luke Win of SportsIllustrated.com) and both have received recognition on preseason watch lists. Anderson is on top-50 lists for the Wooden Award and Naismith Award and has been tabbed the No. 4 power forward in the country by The Sporting News. Hardin is also on the Naismith preseason roster, and among his other preseason honors are: first-team All-Pac-10 (Athlon), No. 6 post in the country (Athlon) and No. 7 center in the country (Rivals.com).
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal has won 17 of its last 18 non-conference home games ... sophomore C Jordan Wilkes connected on the second three-pointer of his career vs. Southern Miss; he also had one against Arizona State on Feb. 18, 2006 ... Wilkes also pulled down a career-high 6 rebounds at Nevada ... senior F Eric Vierneisel set career highs in both rebounding (6) and assists (5) in the opener vs. Southern Miss ... Cal is 10-2 in home openers under head coach Ben Braun ... Cal has added six non-scholarship players to the roster, four of whom return from last year (Nican Robinson, Thomas Fang, David Liss, Patrick Armstrong) and two who are new to the team (Jordan Fillmore, Eddie Miller) ... Vierneisel entered the year with more games-played experience (78) than any other member of the squad ... sophomore F Jamal Boykin, a mid-year transfer from Duke who was the California state Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Los Angeles' Fairfax HS in 2005, will become eligible to play when the Bears host Utah Dec. 22 after the completion of fall final exams ... 2007-08 marks the 99th season of Cal basketball ... the Bears feature two 7-footers on the roster for the first time ever in 7-0 Jordon Wilkes and 7-2 Max Zhang - the tallest player in school history ... Cal had three players score at least 20 points vs. San Diego State (Ryan Anderson 23, Jerome Randle 21, Patrick Christopher 21) for the first time since an 84-80 OT win over Oregon State on Feb. 17, 2007 (Christopher 24, Ayinde Ubaka 21, Theo Robertson 21) ... Ben Braun ranks 10th among active coach with 540 victories.