Our final matchup of the second round features two outgoing seniors, two of Cal's most accomplished athletes of the modern era. Who deserves to move on? Voting ends Friday at noon PT. Click here to view the full bracket.
Last week's results:
While working for the team, I often worked with the defensive line. On one sunny day, some of the more senior defensive linemen were having a little chit chat between drills. Coach Delgado was firmly shouting out orders to players currently in the drill, and Abu Ma'afala, Nu'u Tafisi, and Mika Kane had just popped out of the drill. They had been talking about who among the defensive linemen, will become either really really good or become an NFL player. Between labored breathes, and with eyes fixed afar in thought, they pondered their nearby comrades in blue practice shirts and shorts.
Somebody mentioned a few people, and those names didn't really garner much response from the others. But then somebody, and I think it was Abu, suggested Tyson Alualu. I think he said something like, "I think Tyson has a good chance." The others immediately agreed with "yeah, Tyson." It was unanimous. The others weren't agreeing to agree, they were agreeing because they really believed Tyson Alualu would be the next great one.
Tyson wasn't there at the moment. I think he was in the drill itself. He didn't hear those words, but I did and stored that memory away for today.
I've written about this before, but for those of you who have ever done something enough to know what it takes to be good at that something, you know you can judge the talent and potential of others at becoming good at that same task. For example, and I'll use myself, I grew up playing a musical instrument. I turned out to be decent enough to make a few honor bands. I knew who was good, and who wasn't. I knew who had potential to be a pro, and who didn't. Those experiences I had helped me judge others, and that's exactly what was going on in the conversation between Tafisi, Ma'fala, and Kane.
Upon hearing those words, I made a distinct effort to keep an eye on Alualu from then on. I'd be stupid not to since his teammates pegged him as the one of the next greatest ones.
This story I am relaying to you occurred in 2006. Tyson Alualu was a freshman in 2006. The elder defensive linemen picked him out as a freshman. They could see the talent and potential that early. It was that obvious.
Patrick! Every time we play, I check to see if Pat is on. When he’s on, I sit back, relax, and know we’ll be in good hands. When he’s off…well, at least Randle and Theo usually pick up the slack. But aside from basketball, Patrick just has so much character that it’s hard to be mad at him even when he’s not having a good game. I sure hope he gets a shot at the pros and develops his game to be more consistent. I’m going to miss checking his sneakers to see if he’s found a new pair to play in. ~CaliforniaBone
Someone who really would have benefited from 4 years under Monty. Had all the tools to be a dominant player, yet only showed them occasionally. Almost too nice of a guy to be an elite-level athlete. This year felt more like he was starting to figure things out and would just kill it next year. ~Kodiak
What people will miss the most about PC:
Hammer time on the alley-oops and a shoe collection ~LeonPowe
I don’t think I’ve seen a smoother jumpshot. And oh, those alley-oops. ~Ed Yevelev
obviously his athleticism, but he’s just a good hearted guy and just very outgoing and easy to approach. Just a cool dude. ~nickle
his fashion sense above and below the rim (hope that taped up knee is ready for the Elite 8, LBJ Jr!) ~Thoroughbred
The step-back J is pretty darn sweet when it’s on. ~Kodiak
The high flying dunks and great nature ~geebear