Lately, much of the talk regarding Cal Basketball has centered on Ben Braun’s job security, or lack thereof. Many have already given up on this season, if they even had hope to begin with, and the dwindling crowds at Haas expect that the Bears will miss the Big Dance for the third time in four seasons. Realistically, this team is playing to avoid its third losing season in four years and the hope of an NIT bid, hardly the type of goals that Cal faithful have begun to expect from their basketball team.
Is it time for Ben to go? A new direction for the program? Remember, we’re not that far removed from when Braun was a golden boy, a guiding hand in the wake of scandal, one who had to publicly deny that he was interested in other (possibly better) jobs (Minnesota, Michigan). Braun stuck with us then; are we obliged to return the favor? Why has this program experienced a downturn, and can it be fixed? Is this the best we can expect from Cal Basketball? Will it get better? Should we expect better?
These are all questions I intend to address over the next couple weeks, as the season plays out. There are lots of opinions all over the internet and throughout the Cal fanbase, and while I have my own, I’ll leave that aside for now. Instead, I’d like to open up an in-depth discussion of the relative merits of the program Braun has built. Most people’s opinions are based upon one or two arguments, and I believe there’s a lot more to this issue, including the larger question of what we should expect from the head basketball coach at a major university, and what the grounds for dismissal should be.
Of course, maybe the Bears go on a 12-game winning streak and win the National Championship, rendering all of my arguments moot. Somehow, I doubt that will happen.