Dec. 26, 2007
15th annual Golden Bear Classic
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 28-29, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Friday, Dec. 28
Bucknell Bison (4-6) vs. North Dakota State Bison (6-5), 2:30 p.m.
Long Beach State 49ers (3-6) vs. California Golden Bears (7-2), 5 p.m.
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: CalBears.com webcast
Saturday, Dec. 29
Consolation Game, 5 p.m.
Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.
California (7-2) wraps up the pre-Pac-10 portion of its schedule when it hosts the 15th annual Golden Bear Classic this weekend in Haas Pavilion. The tournament tips off Friday with Bucknell facing North Dakota State at 2:30 p.m., followed by Cal vs. Long Beach State at 5. The consolation game begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the championship contest at 7:30.
Cal is 6-1 at home this season after a 67-65 setback to Utah Dec. 22 in the team's most recent outing. Still, the Bears are outscoring their opposition by an average 80.0 to 65.7 count in Berkeley, where they also own a 37.6 to 28.3 margin on the boards.
With two of the top rebounders in the nation in senior C DeVon Hardin (11.0 rpg) and sophomore F Ryan Anderson (9.8 rpg), Cal has won the battle on the glass eight times in nine games. The Bears' highest differential came vs. Missouri Dec. 1 (41-20), and they have been at least +10 on four occasions.
Hardin not only leads the Pac-10 in rebounding, but he paces the country in terms of percentage of available defensive rebounds grabbed (34.1%), according to kenpom.com.
On the offensive end, Cal is pouring in 78.8 ppg, more than 9 ppg higher than last season (69.5 ppg), and ranks 24th nationally in shooting percentage (49.5%).
Anderson, now connecting on 55.4 percent of his attempts, paces the attack with 22.8 ppg. He set a career best with 36 points at Nevada Nov. 28 and has tallied 27 points two other times - vs. Nicholls State and Delaware State.
Close on his heels is sophomore G/F Patrick Christopher and his 18.7 ppg. After scoring in double figures just four times as a freshman, when he tossed in 5.2 ppg, he has reached the level seven times already this season. Christopher's scoring increase of +13.5 ppg over last year is the greatest in the Pac-10, just ahead of the +12.8 by Oregon State's Seth Tarver (15.2 ppg from 2.4 ppg).
Probable Starters POS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPG F 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 215 So 18.7 3.4 At least 16 points in 8 games after averaging 5.2 ppg last year F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 240 So 22.8 9.8 Career-high 36 points at Nevada; Dec. 3 Pac-10 Player of the Week C 35 DeVon Hardin 6-11 250 Sr 10.2 11.0 Leads Bears with 19 blocks G 3 Jerome Randle 5-10 165 So 10.7 3.4 apg 21 points vs. SDSU in first game after Oct. 29 kidney biopsy G 13 Nikola Knezevic 6-2 185 So 4.9 3.1 apg 7 points, 3 steals in win over Missouri; 7 points vs. Jackson State
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 209-140, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 542-375. 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.
Long Beach State Scouting Report
A Look at Long Beach State
Long Beach State is 3-6 on the season after a 71-68 victory over San Francisco Dec. 18. Donovan Morris, who scored a career-high 26 points against the Dons, paces the squad with 16.6 ppg. Last year, the 49ers finished 24-8 overall and won the Big West Conference with a 12-2 mark to advance to the NCAA Tournament. However, they return no starters and just four lettermen from that squad.
Cal-Long Beach State Series History
Cal owns a 2-0 series record with Long Beach State, with both previous meetings taking place in Berkeley. The Bears defeated the 49ers, 70-66, in the first round of the 2000 National Invitation Tournament, then upended them, 88-69, on Nov. 21, 2005, to hand head coach Ben Braun his 500th career victory.
Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson
Dan Monson is in his first season as head coach at Long Beach State and owns a 173-129 career record in his 11th year as a Division I head coach. He was 52-17 in two seasons at Gonzaga, leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1999. In eight years at Minnesota, he compiled a 118-106 mark with five postseason appearances.
Probable Starters Pos No Name Ht Wt Yr Ppg Rpg F 44 Cornel Williams 6-4 207 Jr 5.8 4.1 C 24 Brian Freeman 6-10 225 Jr 9.6 6.1 G 4 Donovan Morris 6-3 201 Jr 16.6 6.4 G 14 Darnell Porter 6-4 182 Fr 7.4 3.9 G 20 Maurice Clady 5-8 147 Jr 3.2 1.8
For more information: www.longbeachstate.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Game: Utah Edges Cal, 67-65
Shaun Green hit a runner with just over a second left to break a 65-all tie and lift Utah to a 67-65 win over Cal last Saturday at Haas Pavilion. The Bears, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half, rallied to take a 62-61 lead with 3:50 to go. After Utah went back up by three, Cal tied the score again at 65 on two free throws by DeVon Hardin with 1:15 on the clock and one by Nikola Knezevic with 38 seconds left. Ryan Anderson finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Patrick Christopher added 19 points and Hardin had 13 points and nine boards.
Golden Bear Classic History
This year's event represents the 15th annual Golden Bear Classic, and Cal has won nine of the previous 14 tournaments. Each of the visitors this year - Long Beach State, Bucknell and North Dakota State - is making its initial appearance in the field. Last season, Cal defeated Chicago State, 75-51, and San Diego downed Eastern Michigan, 78-76, in the first round. USD then upended the Bears, 72-67, to claim the title. In 2005, Cal's DeVon Hardin was voted MVP after scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the championship game against Northeastern, an 83-76 Cal victory. The Bears own a 23-5 all-time mark in the Golden Bear Classic.
All three opposing teams in this year's field won at least 20 games last season. Long Beach State captured the Big West title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 24-8 mark. North Dakota State was 20-8, while Bucknell was 22-9 and tied for first in the Patriot League.
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 59.2 ppg, or 75.2 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 22.8 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 18.7 ppg and Jerome Randle with 10.7 ppg. Each player has already set a career high, as well. Anderson poured in 36 points at Nevada, Christopher had 26 vs. Jackson State, and Randle came through with 21 points against San Diego State.
Cal Production by Class Points (Avg.) Rebounds (Avg.) Assists (Avg.) Senior 117 (13.0) 118 (13.1) 29 (3.2) Junior 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) Sophomore 533 (59.2) 173 (19.2) 101 (11.2) Freshman 59 (6.6) 25 (2.8) 12 (1.3)
Bears Dominating Boards in Early Season Contests
Cal has out-rebounded its opponents in eight of nine games this year and enters the Golden Bear Classic with a +7.7 rebound margin. DeVon Hardin (11.0 rpg) and Ryan Anderson (9.8 rpg) have been the most dominant forces on the glass. Hardin grabbed a team-best 16 boards at Nevada, while Anderson already has five double-doubles. So far, Bears have had at least a 10-rebound differential four times - +14 at Nevada (48-34), +21 vs. Missouri (41-20), +11 vs. Jackson State (43-32) and +12 vs. Delaware State (31-19). And 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). This year's statistics represent quite a turnaround from last season when Cal's margin was -2.6.
Top Rebound Margins in School History Season Cal Reb Opp Reb Margin 1959-60 46.8 35.6 +11.2 2007-08 38.1 30.4 +7.7 1968-69 53.2 46.7 +6.5 1967-68 52.2 46.4 +5.8 1958-59 45.1 40.1 +5.0
Cal Shooting Well from Free Throw Line Again
Having connected on at least 80 percent of its free throw attempts in four of its last five games, Cal has raised its overall rate to 75.2 percent (No. 18 in NCAA). Last year, the Bears set a school record by sinking 76.9 percent, which was good for third-best in the country. But perhaps more impressively, Cal is getting to the stripe with far more regularity in 2007-08 than it did in '06-07, averaging 23.3 trips per game compared to 15.8. In addition, the Bears have made more free throws (158) than their opponents have tried (149) this year. Only once in school history - 2005-06 - did Cal maintain such an advantage for an entire season.
Top Free Throw Rates in School History Year FT-FTA Pct 2006-07 400-520 .769 2007-08 158-210 .752 1986-87 513-698 .735 2005-06 525-716 .733 1988-89 544-742 .733
Anderson on Track to Be Cal's First 1,000-Point Sophomore
Now tossing in 22.8 ppg, sophomore F Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 and ranks 12th nationally in scoring. Not only has he scored at least 20 points in a game six times this year - including a career-best 36-point effort at Nevada Nov. 28 - he is shooting 55.4 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from three-point range (16-41) and 84.9 percent from the free throw line (45-53). Last season, Anderson totaled the second-most points by a freshman in Cal history; his 539 points trail only the 590 tallied by Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1995-96. Anderson is also on track to become the first Cal sophomore ever to reach the 1,000-point level. To date, he has 744 points and at his current rate, he will reach the plateau in just 12 more games.
Cal Sophomore Career Scoring Leaders Name Frosh Soph Total 1. Brian Hendrick (1990-91) 478 492 970 2. Leon Powe (2004, 06) 409 553 962 3. Lamond Murray (1992-93) 367 572 939 4. Jason Kidd (1993-94) 378 500 878 5. Bob McKeen (1952-53) 291 457 748 6. Ryan Anderson (2007-08) 539 205 744
Hardin Up to Third in Cal Career Blocks
With 19 blocks so far this season, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into third place on the Bears' all-time list with 114. He had a high of four in the opener vs. Southern Miss, when he also finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Hardin's average of 2.11 bpg is ahead of school-record pace; the mark of 2.0 bpg was set by Michael Stewart in 1993-94 when he swatted 59 shots. 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 on Nov. 20, 2006, and he has had at least three in a game 15 times.
Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders 1. Michael Stewart (1994-97) 207 2. Solomon Hughes (1999-02) 122 3. DeVon Hardin (2004- ) 114
Patrick Christopher May Be Most Improved In Pac-10
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 eight games to double his total for all of 2006-07. Now tossing in 18.7 ppg, he is scoring 13.5 ppg more than he did last year - the largest increase of any player in the Pac-10. Christopher tied his high from his freshman campaign with 24 points against Nicholls State Nov. 19, then set a personal best with 26 points vs. Jackson State Dec. 5. Christopher also paced the Bears vs. Southern Miss (19 points) in the opener and had a team-high 18 points against Missouri Dec. 1. In addition, he is grabbing 3.4 rpg and is fourth on the team with 17 assists.
With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to Form
Over Cal's first nine games, the Bears have limited their opponents to 40.7 percent shooting from the floor and out-rebounded them by 7.7 per game, and much of the reason for those 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 19 blocks so far, but he also leads the Pac-10 with 11.0 rpg, having grabbed at least 12 rebounds five times. Cal's defensive stats represent quite a turnaround from last year. During the final 22 games of the season when Hardin was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, the Bears surrendered 49.7 percent shooting and were beaten on the boards by a 3.8 margin.
With Hardin in '07-08 Without Hardin in '06-07 (9 games) (final 22 games) FG% Allowed 40.7% (219-538) 49.7% (579-1166) Rebound Margin +7.7 -3.8 Opponents with >40 FG% 3 of 9 20 of 22
Bears Increase Accuracy from the Field
Cal enters this week's action having shot at least 50 percent from the floor in four of its last five games and now has an overall rate of 49.5 percent. The Bears made a season-high 58.2 percent (39-67) against Jackson State Dec. 5 and shot 55.3 percent (26-47) vs. Delaware State Dec. 20. Individually, freshman F Harper Kamp has drained 19-of-27 attempts (70.4%), and two starters are over 54 percent - F Ryan Anderson (55.4%) and C DeVon Hardin (54.4%). Anderson shot 9-for-11 vs. Jackson State and 10-for-13 against Delaware State. Over his last four games, Anderson is 35-for-57 from the field (61.4%) and averaging 23.5 ppg.
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 has since added 16 points against Missouri and 14 vs. Jackson State, when he was perfect from the field (4-4 FG, 2-2 3P, 4-4 FT) and dished out seven assists. He paces the Bears in assist average with 3.4 per game and is contributing 10.7 ppg, up from 6.5 ppg a year ago.
Cal Scores Third-Highest Total in Win over Jackson State
In its 117-74 victory over Jackson State Dec. 5, Cal scored the third-most points in school history and topped 100 points in regulation for the first time since a 112-73 triumph at Texas Southern on Nov. 29, 1995. The Bears' 43-point margin of victory was the 12th-largest ever in a home game and widest since a 97-50 decision over Morgan State on Nov. 25, 1991. Cal also had 28 assists in the game - most since dishing out 29 vs. Fresno State on Dec. 11, 2001.
Highest Scoring Games in Cal History 1. 127 vs. Oklahoma City (67), Jan. 3, 1971 2. 121 vs. U.S. International (97), Dec. 19, 1990 3. 117 vs. Jackson State (74), Dec. 5, 2007 4. 112 at Texas Southern (73), Nov. 29, 1995
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 (8 games), freshman Eddie Miller (6 games), senior Patrick Armstrong (1 game) and sophomore Thomas Fang (1 game) 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.
Cal Posts First 6-0 Start since 1994-95
By beginning the season at 6-0, Cal jumped out to its best start in 13 years since the Bears were 7-0 to kick off the 1994-95 campaign (games that were later forfeited for use of an ineligible player). Prior to that season, the last time Cal won at least six straight to open a year was 1967-68, when the Bears were 7-0.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal is 57-8 (.877) vs. non-conference competition at home since Haas Pavilion opened in the fall of 1999, including 5-1 this season ... Nikola Knezevic paces the Bears in both assists (26, 3.3 apg) and steals (7, 0.9 spg), and had a high of six assists at Kansas State ... Ryan Anderson was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week Dec. 3 after scoring a career-high 36 points at Nevada and adding 15 points and 11 boards against Missouri ... Cal has won 19 of its last 20 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 7 rebounds vs. Jackson State ... senior F Eric Vierneisel set career highs in both rebounding (6) and assists (5) in the opener vs. Southern Miss, the matched both totals at Kansas State ... 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) ... 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 542 victories.