This wasn't just an opportunity to see a Cal basketball game, but also there was a pre-game alumni event. These are always fun. Various coaches come and give speeches. We've already noted one of the biggest stories to come out of that alumni event. Running backs Coach Ron Gould noted that Shane Vereen played the last three games of the 2009 season with a torn meniscus.
Firstly, I made a rather major mistake. I knew it the second I walked in and OskiWeeWee thanked me for actually paying the $15 for the event instead of just begging her to let me go for free. WHY DIDN'T I BEG HER TO GO FREE?!?!? I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THAT WAS AN OPTION! OSKIWEEWEE OWES ME 15 BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!
Despite that rather disastrous gaffe, I still had a fun time. The food was delicious, if painfully unfree! And the decor, surprisingly, described me perfectly.
First, Sandy came up to speak.
She introduced Cal basketball assistant coach Greg Gottlieb.
He is the brother of ESPN personality Doug Gottlieb, I believe.
He spoke about how the football success can really help with basketball recruiting. Taking basketball recruits to football games is a great way to showcase the Cal atmosphere. I predict that works vice versa and have seen Tedford with recruits at basketball games before.
He made a joke about how coaches are scared of their own shadow. It must be so difficult when you have such little control. You work and work and work and then can do very little about the actual outcome of games. I know that CGB has been blasted for this thought before, but I really think that people overcredit/blame the coaches in a lot of situations. They certainly have an impact, but they must seem like professional worriers. Their direct control over the game is so limited.
Somebody asked about how Jerome was feeling after his fall. Gottlieb joked about how Jerome always seems to stay down for a while after he misses a layup, so they didnt run out to him immediately. But he felt that Jerome just had the wind knocked out of him, so hopefully he is OK.
Another person asked about which Cal team was going to wake up today. I think that was a moderately rude question about the Jekyll and Hyde team we've seen all year. All of the chest-pounding bluster that one sees online tends to disappear when dealing with an actual assistant coach in person. I don't believe Gottlieb quite heard the question correctly, because he started talking about how the team had an 8 AM walk through and discussed some of the pre-game preparation. He had to get back to the game, so he left quickly.
Up next, running back coach Ron Gould spoke.
Ok, first super important thing about Coach Ron Gould. And this is something that you can't quite tell from the photos, because the wide lapel is used on a lot of different coat jackets these days, but that's a double breasted coat. A DOUBLE BREASTED COAT.
Interestingly enough, he was ONLY buttoning the inside button and NOT the outside button. Hmmmmm. So, his jacket would flap around a bit. Then again, considering who he is, I figure it's OK.
Second important thing to know about Ron Gould. Here is a list of people he's coached over the last decade.
They all have two things in common. Ridiculous awesomeness and Coach Ron Gould. That's a resume there that is hard to quibble with. He has been at Cal for 14 years now. Think about what Coach Tedford is thinking when he comes in 2002. He is taking over for a truly failed regime and probably wants to clean house. But he keeps Coach Gould on. Thats a sign of respect.
Coach Gould apologizes for his voice. It is raspy. He says he lost it getting on the players (presumably from informal practices). He also notes he loves basketball and was at the Cal-UW game last Thursday.
The first thing Coach Gould does is do a run down on the recruits. He goes through the WRs, talking about each one briefly. He really focuses on the team speed. Talking about guys who can score from anywhere on the field. I believe Coach Tedford made a focus on larger bruising WRs after DeSean and Co. left. I assume from this that they are shifting back to the speedy guys. Considering some of the problems we have had with WR the last few years, I don't blame them. Marvin Jones has been our best WR and he is in that speedy mold.
Here he is discussing the WRs:
He seemed really big on the OLinemen, but said he wasn't sure if they would contribute a lot in the next year. OLinemen take a while to develop, I guess.
He was extraordinarily excited about the D players. Who isn't? He played Defensive Back, at Oregon and coached Defensive Back at Boise State, so even with all his running back success, he is a defensive guy at heart. He talked about Tosh Lupoi being a really good recruiter. He discussed what goes into the recruitment of some players. He said you have to focus on the decision maker, which is the mother 90% of the time. He said it is important to bring the entire family to Cal, because you can't just describe the Berkeley experience over the phone.
It seemed like they love to give potential Cal recruits the full Berkeley treatment. They know that other teams like USC try to disparage Berkeley for the oddities that we all know and love. So, the Cal coaching staff figures you might as well not try to hide it. I think that is a good plan. Berkeley might repel some, but its eccentricities will attract others. Use it as a tool, don't fear it! Plus, they don't want a player coming here with some misconceptions and then transferring after a year, because they hate the Berkeley environment.
He talked about how nerve wracking it can be to wait and wait and wait for the recruits. Not only when you are trying to recruit them, but also for LOI Day itself. On LOI Day, everybody crowds around the fax at 4 AM. Ai! He said this year, Tedford wouldn't let anybody near the fax machine and hogged it all to himself. Ha!
He then discussed what he was doing with Cal and the RBs for next year. He said that the coaching staff was going over every offensive play. Read that again.
Every offensive play.
Looking at it from every angle, including the scheme, the play personnel. He said they had just finished with the running plays. That. Is. Ridiculous. Tedford must never sleep. Those people who say insane things like "Tedford doesn't want to win" or whatever should read that. They aren't leaving a stone unturned!
Coach Gould said he had met individually with each Running Back. He said that he had asked them why they thought the year did not turn out the way most had hoped. He said that he asked them how he personally can make them better. He noted that he is the "head coach" of running backs. The buck stops with him. Somebody asked a question about OLine failures last year and he noted that the running backs are a major part of any blocking scheme and, again, the buck stops with him.
He also noted the item about the torn meniscus. When he said that there was an audible gasp in the crowd. Impressive. Or crazy. Or ballsy. One of the three!
All in all, Coach Gould is a great public speaker. He is very intelligent and passionate. Two things that are great for recruiting. He was excited for the WSU game. GO BEARS!
Then, Sandy came back up to talk more in depth.
She first went down some successes of non-revenue sports. I took this time to go get a drink. I didn't hear the discussion closely, but I believe she was discussing whether they were cutting women's golf and women's tennis. She said no decision had been made and they were not yet making a decision on whether to cut any sports at all. She said that that might be one way to save costs, but that was that.
She discussed the potential Pac10 expansion. She said that they were going to look real close at the numbers. She tried to say it diplomatically, but it all seemed to be about the $$$$$. In specific, media rights are key. Will the inclusion of two new teams increase the media rights money enough to offset costs? She predicted (and note this is merely here prediction) that it will not happen. Take that for what it is worth.
Somebody asked a question about a return to the 12:30 PM games, expressing concern about those 7 PM games. I should try to say this diplomatically, but I think the average patron at this alumni event graduated well before 1975. They probably really love Epson Salt and Matlock. They might even need their food blended into fine paste for ease of chewing. Ha! Just kidding. But I was probably close to, if not the, youngest person there.
And they didn't care for those late night games. That start at 7 PM. Sandy tried to explain that the 7 PM games get tons of exposure. She, in specific, noted that their start time at 10 PM on the east coast gets a lot of exposure for Cal. People seemed really confused by that and Sandy even noted it was counter-intuitive.
Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of the 7 PM games, just because you have to have warm clothes for the daytime partying and then lug around heavy cold weather clothes for night-time. But 1 PM pre-game partying is infinity time better than 9:30 AM, so it's a minor concern.
Sandy said that she believed Cal football and men's basketball are the best they've ever been. I believe it! And with that, it was time to head to the game.
Oh wait, nearly forgot one thing.
When I got into Haas, they were still warming up.
And then the teams ran to their respective locker rooms.
I took a seat, not really my seat, but I took a seat. I noticed that, with about 5 minutes left before the game started, the attendance was poor.
A few final warm ups before introductions.
The refs stretch out:
Cal was going in the direction of my seat, so most of my photos are from the first half. It was a frustrating half where the inability to get a rebound and remarkably poor officiating put Cal in an 11 point hole by half.
You can see it was getting physical in there. Cal was not making good shots and then WSU always seemed to be position to get the board.
Jamal Boykin told us about the most disgusting thing he ever ate, which was mud and milk.
Then, he told us about why PC had to move out. Seriously.
Honestly, I do understand, though. Last time I moved, the first concern I had was closet space. It is very important to have sufficient closet.
This was well into the first half.
Tricky Dick Midgley was in the house!
I was rooting for Orange! Which was apparently Mango???? Something called SUPERFOOD won. The only SUPERFOOD I recognize is tomacco.
And with that halftime! Dance Team, ENTERTAIN US!
Ruh roh, Oski is honing in on the ladies. Watch it, he might try to drink out of his eye in front of them. They can't resist that!
Bee Tee Dubz, for all the talk of Cal having a Chinese athlete, a rarity amongst collegiate basketball, Washington State appears to have a Japanese-American coach, Jeff Hironaka.
Here he is kneeling.
He definitely stands out on the Court there. He has been with WSU head coach Ken Bone for 11 years and his most recent job, Ken Bone was the head coach before he got there. There are not that many coaches of Japanese heritage that I am aware of in college basketball. Interesting.
In the second half, I got fewer photos, because all the action was on the other side of the Court and who wants to see WSU scoring!
At the tail end of the game, Cal was not even trying for the rebounds off of missed free throws. They wanted to get back on D quicker and knew that Cal was having trouble getting the rebounds anyway. Whatever Monty was saying in the second half, it was working!
The fans were incredibly excited and pumped after the big comeback. They were even cheering late game substitutions.
And just like that, it was over! GO BEARS!