First, let's briefly touch on the Omondi Amoke suspension. If the rumored accusations are true of "stolen laptops, Ipods, and phones" (HT FrankCohen), then his career at Cal is probably over. Too bad. He really had a chance to be an integral part of this Golden Bear team going forward, and it's really disappointing when an athlete screws up an opportunity most of us would dream of. (Of course if it's false and the crime is less severe, all apologies to Amoke, and we will hope he redeems himself for this suspension in the years to come.)
As for our team, it almost ensures this is the last weekend we watch our seniors play. Amoke didn't have many polished skills this season, but what he does well we need for both games--rebounding. We need boards, especially against a Louisville team that's one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country and one of the poorest in the defensive boards. Amoke's hustle on the glass could have definitely been used; now Boykin is going to probably have to fight down on the block by himself.
And then we get Duke, which is a better rebounding version of Louisville. Great.
We might have the shooters and just enough inside to pull off an upset of Louisville, but we'd pretty much have to run Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin into the ground. Then in all likelihood our season would end against the Dukies, if the Cardinals don't take care of business Friday. We just don't have the depth to pull off a six man rotation two games straight against the top competition.
These Golden Bears had the perfect storm last year of health and now our luck has regressed back to the mean; this year we've rarely played whole. Harper Kamp got injured. Robertson got injured. Jorge Gutierrez got injured. Markhuri Sanders-Frison is playing with a bad back. Max Zhang's lung collapsed. Christopher has been playing through pain. Randle is getting knocked up every few games. And now this. It's been a much tougher road this season. It's amazing this team won a conference championship and nearly won a conference tournament, so we'd better appreciate the little things this team does this weekend before the curtain comes down.
Kudos to Monty for sticking up and enforcing team rules. Hopefully his team can pull one more miracle in Jacksonville.