It's summer, so that means Jerome Randle is back on U.S. soil fighting for a roster spot in the NBA Summer League. Although it looked like he was going to earn a spot on the Dallas Mavericks after last year's preseason, he spent the winter and spring playing for Israel and the Ukraine. Perhaps the third time is the charm?
Randle only made a third of his field goal attempts in Summer League, but he exhibited the same skills that draw your eyes to him no matter where he’s playing. He has a ridiculously tight handle and can break down the defense with ease. He a has a smooth release on his shot, makes passes putting his teammates in position to score and, though he knows "a lot of people make a big deal" of his size disadvantage on defense, he’s a pesky defender who is fond of pressuring ballhandlers.
The height issue isn’t going away, however. Interviewing Randle was one of the few times I haven’t had to crane my neck to interview a professional basketball player. But with small scoring guards like Barea and Isaiah Thomas, familiar to Randle from their PAC-10 battles, seeing NBA success, there’s plenty of precedent for overcoming it. "Isaiah Thomas is a phenomenal player," Randle said. "Not taking anything away from him, but if he can play in the league there’s no way possible that I can’t play in the league. It’s just — I think it’s just no way possible.
"I just need a chance and, God-willing, hopefully someone will give me a chance. That’s all I can say."
Randle isn't the only Bear working for a spot on a team. Leon Powe is returning from another knee injury to show he's still got it.
At 28, he's older- sometimes by 10 years - than everyone he's competing against. He's one of the few players among the field who can flash an NBA championship ring. And he's already a true professional, playing with guys who are just learning what it takes to play in the league.
Still, Powe found himself suiting up for the Chicago Bulls on Friday night and playing against his hometownWarriors, because he feels he has just as much to prove as the first- and second-year players flanking him in the starting lineup.
"There are more teams (in Las Vegas), more people to show that I'm fine," Powe told NBA.com. "I'm not in any wheelchair. They keep putting out there that I'm not OK, like my leg is killing me. I've been working (to rehabilitate it) three years, and I came to show everyone my leg is fine."
More links after the jump.
- Max Zhang is part of the China basketball roster.
- Jeff Faraudo does his best CalBear81 impression and gives us a history lesson about Guinn Smith, who conquered the elements to win the 1948 gold medal in the pole vault. Despite an inch of standing water on the runway, Smith nearly captured an Olympic record of 14-5.
- In her final race before the Olympics, Alysia Montano finished third at the Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco. She ran a 1:59.05 in the 800m. During the Olympic trials she ran a 1:57.37 in the rain in Eugene.
- CBS previews the 2013 NFL Draft and lists Cal's top-five prospects as Keenan Allen, Aaron Tipoti, Matt Summers-Gavin, Marc Anthony, and Zach Maynard. Isi Sofele, Brian Schwenke, Dominic Galas, and Josh Hill just missed the cut.
- Takkarist McKinley committed to the Bears on Friday. Despite being 235lbs, the projected outside linebacker ran a 10.58 in the CIF 100m finals. He hopes to run track and play football at Cal.
- Ted Miller continues the preseason position previews. Cal is in good shape at safety and, not surprisingly, "we'll see" at punter.
- Cal finishes fourth overall in terms of the preseason position rankings.
- Keenan Allen is among seven Pac-12 players on the Walter Camp PotY watch list.
- After a pair of rather disappointing performances, Jorge Gutierrez played a bit better in his third game with the SummerNuggets. In 18 minutes off the bench he had 3 points, 3 rebounds, a steal, and 3 turnovers.