And we are off! This is the first matchup for the CGB Hall Of Fame in 2011. And what a matchup it is. One of the best women's basketball players takes on a DLine monster. Both drafted by their respective leagues. Both with an opportunity to move on.
This matchup is in the Pappy Waldorf region, anchored by Coach Ron Gould. Ashley Walker is the #6 seed and Tyson Alualu is the #11 seed. The winner takes on Russell White or Jeff Kent. There is a chance that Alualu might face his DLine mate Cameron Jordan in this region! Who knows what the future holds?
After the jump, read up on the two athletes and see the full region. You can see the full bracket here.
Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. And vote! Voting ends this Friday, April 15, at noon. GO BEARS!
Pappy Waldorf Bracket
Ashley Walker (6)
Ashley Walker is believed by many CGBers to be the best player in the history of the Cal women's basketball program. Walker has many accolades that would support this assessment:
* Pac-10 All Freshman team in 2005-06
* Named first team All-Pac-10 three times; she is one of only four Cal players to be first team All Pac-10 twice.
* Pac-10 scoring champion as a senior when she averaged 19.8 PPG
* Named to the Pac-10 All Defensive team twice.
Walker led the Cal basketball team to unprecedented heights, as Cal went to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in Walker's senior year. That tournament provided a shining example of Walker's greatness.
Nor Cal Nick:
"My favorite memory of Walker is somewhat bittersweet. Not surprisingly for a player who seemed to get better each game over four years, Walker played her best in her final NCAA tournament. First, she shot 9-12 for 21 points in an easy win over Fresno St. Then she destroyed Virginia, shooting 14-20 for 32 points along with 10 boards. And for the first 14 minutes against #1 UConn Walker kept it going, hitting threes, getting inside, grabbing boards and generally frustrating Geno Auriemma. UConn still cruised to victory, but Walker finished with 21 points. I firmly believe that Cal would have beaten just about any other team in the nation that day the way the team, and Walker, were peaking."
Walker was drafted 12th overall by the Seattle Storm in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She was waived by the Storm in 2010 and later played for the Tulsa Shock. She has signed a training camp contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars. Walker also plays professionally in Israel, where she was the league's MVP in her first season there in 2010.
Tyson Alualu (11)
Tyson Alualu had a solid career as a defensive lineman at Cal, playing in all 52 possible games of his Cal career (starting 40 of them). He was the anchor of Cal's defensive line in 2009 in particular, providing heart, soul, and a nonstop motor. Alualu's Cal career and talent was rewarded when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
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.
So, there you go. Ashley Walker. Tyson Alualu. Vote, vote, vote, vote, AND VOTE!