Our next match-up features a recent basketball star and fan favorite in Jerome Randle and a football star from the mid '70's in Wesley Walker. Randle advanced in a rout over Giorgio Tavecchio while Walker took a fairly close vote over Theo Robertson.
Randle was the leader and ball handler for the 2010 Pac-10 champion Golden Bears and really grew in his time at Berkeley, while Walker was a speedy receiver that set Cal records that only recently have been eclipsed.
This match-up comes out of the Joe Kapp region and the winner will move on to face, well, Joe Kapp himself. You can take a look at the full bracket here and see all the upcoming match-ups for yourself. The full write-ups are after the jump and the voting for who moves on will end on Friday. GO BEARS!
(2) Jerome Randle
Jerome Randle Cal Highlights (via sharkswarriorscal)
Avinash provides some thoughts:
Randle's evolution as a player was remarkable. When I first watched him sophomore year I cringed watching him run the offense. I don't play much basketball, but when I do I'm usually the point guard, and the things Randle did are NOT things that would make my teammates happy. The shots themselves weren't that bad. I'm guessing if he was taking them in the first place he was hitting them in practice, and the next two years proved he could make those shots.
No, it was the lack of ball movement and inability to get the ball to the bigs that really exasperated me. The process of watching our plays developed was chaotic, and not in an enjoyable Nellie-ball sort of way. You could see the team unravel during conference play as they ran into smarter and more efficient teams. That's the point guard mantra--run the offense, make your teammates make happy. Bad point guards lead to bad teams, and that was what Cal was in 2008.
(The most curious thing was that Randle and Ryan Anderson never really gelled. Although people opine what would've been if Ryan had returned for a year (or two) with Monty, Jerome probably would've left as he was already on the fence after the Braun firing, and we'd have probably had two years of Nikola Knezevic running point guard. Think we're Pac-10 champions this year if that happens?)
His maturation was exceptional under Monty though. First he got the alpha dog streak as the team's on-the-court leader in his junior campaign. That he went from an inconsistent shooter shooter to one of college's most efficent offensive players (53rd in the nation in 09) in a year without great bigs to set picks for him lends credence to Montgomery's teaching methods. Amazing what putting a system in place does for good players.
Second, his endurance for a guy his size was exceptional. He played an average of 35 minutes the past two seasons, and that's including blowouts. And it wasn't like the guy was taking plays off either--he handled the ball on over a fourth of our possessions the past two seasons. It not only underscored the importance of Randle, but the faith Monty had in letting him play those long minutes. It wore him out last season, but his performances were solid from beginning to end this year.
Finally, he embraced his teammates and ran with them as they ran with each other. Although his 2009 campaign was more spectacular than his 2010 season, I felt he played even better this year. He sublimated his individual talents in search of the team goal, which was the conference crown. The final stretch of the Pac-10 season (where they won nine out of their last ten games) was perhaps the best basketball he ever played as a Bear. He stepped up when they needed him, he stepped aside when others were ready to carry the load. And they got that conference ring.
Jerome Randle Highlight Reel 2009 Full Version (via eirving)
(7) Wesley Walker
Walker caught only 86 passes in his time at Cal, but he made those catches count. No receiver in school history changed the complexion of a game more than Walker, whose 9.5 sprinter's speed stressed opposing secondaries on every down. His ability to catch the deep ball opened the rest of the field up for Cal receivers Steve Rivera and George Freitas.
Walker had more than 100 yards receiving on eight separate occasions, including a record 289-yard 3-touchdown performance against San Jose State in his senior season. He holds the Cal record for longest TD reception with an 88 yard score from Joe Roth against Georgia in 1976. Walker also occasionally returned kicks and punts for the Golden Bears, and finished his career with 3,085 all-purpose yards.
Walker was drafted in the 2nd round by the New York Jets in 1977, and made two Pro Bowls during a 12-year career.
Via reader Randy Parent
Wesley Walker was one of the all-time great speed burners. He just blew by db's and Joe his Wesley on an amazing number of long-bomb TD's. The ‘75 co-Pac 8 Championship Team was the most balanced, most productive, and most amazing Cal offense I have seen in my 50 years of going to Cal games.