Hey, basketball season’s almost here! During the Holmoe years, when Ben Braun was a hot new coach, coveted by the likes of Michigan, this exclamation was cause for hope. Now, not so much. Still, with the football team currently mired in a three-game losing streak, I’d bet a few of you have started turning your wandering eye towards Haas Pavilion; after all, with such low expectations, how could they possibly break your heart the way Tedford’s Boys have these last few weeks?
So, yeah, basketball…haven’t talked about that much lately…what’s going on with that? Well, which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? Aw, heck, you’re a masochistic Cal fan; you want the bad news first.
- Coming off a year in which injuries crippled what should have been a promising season, Braun was looking forward to a healthier group this year. But two Bears have already been operated on before the season started: Theo Robertson is recovering from hip surgery and likely out until January, while incoming freshman Omondi Amoke had a vascular abnormality in his calf operated on and probably won’t be ready for the start of the season. Now comes word that Jerome Randle, a candidate to be our starting point guard, has had a biopsy on his kindey for an as-yet unknown condition. Now, I’m not doctor (although I do watch a lot of House), but that sounds like it could be really serious, although nobody knows anything definite at this point. and probably won’t be ready for the season opener in a couple weeks. Although we all hope this is no big deal, it sounds like no matter what, Randle won’t be ready for the beginning of the season. Get better, Jerome!
What does this mean for the team? Well, it leaves them dangerously thin at guard. Nikola Knezevic is the starting point guard pretty much by default now, and Patrick Christopher will man the shooting guard position. Backing them up? Uh, walk-ons? None of the 4 new scholarship players for the Bears play guard (a recruiting oversight?), so most likely to see playing time include David Liss, who played sporadically last year, mostly in garbage time, and Nican Robinson, who is transferring in after spending his freshman year on UCLA’s bench and sitting out last year. Who knew we’d miss Alex Pribble so badly?
- OK, I promised you good news. Well, in the first Coaches’ poll of the year, our Bears placed 14th, 3rd in the Pac-10 behind Stanford and Arizona State. Of course, as you may have guessed, I’m referring to our women’s basketball team, which, unlike the men’s team, is quite highly regarded. The heralded freshman class from two years ago is now a seasoned core of juniors, and coming off one of the best seasons in school history, head coach Joanne Boyle believes in this team so much that she turned down an offer from Duke, her alma mater, to remain the head coach of the Golden Bears. Big things are expected from this group; you should make an effort to check them out. In fact, if you’re a football season ticket holder like I am, you should have gotten a voucher for some free women’s basketball tickets with your ticket package. Don’t let ‘em go to waste!