(1) Jorge Gutierrez
Pac 12 player of the year Jorge Gutierrez hits the court with Daily Cal sports editor (via thedailycal)
I'm pretty sure I speak for more than just myself when I say that Jorge is one of my favorite Cal athletes to watch, not only in the past few years, but also in my lifetime. I always felt like no matter whom we were playing or how the game was going, as long as Jorge was there we had a chance. I knew that he would never quit and would be right there to take a charge, dive on the floor for a loose ball, or hit a huge shot at the buzzer. Simply put, he was an exciting player and one that embodied everything that Cal athletics represents. It was a privilege to watch him play and I'm glad he was a Golden Bear.
When we first watched Gutierrez, it was hard not to love him. Jorge was just a high energy bundle that wasn't terribly focused, but it always seemed to spark the team when he was really able to get into it. Here was a guy who struggled to dribble, struggled to pass, struggled to shoot, and there he was locking down James Harden, spearheading a double digit comeback against the Furd, dunking and throwing an and-one layup high in the air to clinch a Pac-10 title.
Love does funny things to you. It makes you forget about turnover rates and field goal percentage and free throw rate because numbers be damned, watching Jorge was a joy. You discard those things because you like to imagine you can play with that sort of wild desperation, put that much effort into something you love that much. With that type of effort, that type of confidence, and just enough skill, anything is possible.
I've watched Cal basketball seriously for four years, and having Jorge be part of those experiences made it not just worthwhile, but meaningful. Watching almost every big momentum-changing steal, every forced turnover; every grimace; every sell of a call, every race he made toward a basketball regardless of what might be in the way, every time he went to the ground and we held our breath, until we realized it was Jorge and he'd be up in thirty seconds because that's who he was, every little inch he refused to give to his opponent, every chestbump from an inspired teammate, every spontaneous standing ovation we gave him for some random Jorge thing he'd do, every little thing he did do that we thought he couldn't do--those moments added up.
The first recruit signed by head coach Mike Montgomery at Cal (mid-May 2008), Gutierrez is a versatile guard who can play several positions on the court ... proved to be an invaluable reserve coming off the bench ... consistently one of the hardest-working players whenever he's on the court ... named the team's Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, the heart and soul of a Cal team that chased the conference championship until the final day of the season, became the first player named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.
"Jorge just wins, and he has done that for us for four years," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "Coaches appreciate that part of it, without getting stuck on numbers or the spectacular athleticism. I'm not trading Jorge for anybody."
TheBuckeyeBear enlightens us:
Tarah Murrey excelled in volleyball all four years at Cal and has continued with a career in volleyball after graduating in 2012. With many honors to her name, her Cal Athletics profile lists plenty of accolades:
As a Senior (2011):
• Earned multiple conference accolades - Pac-12 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team, Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention
As a Junior (2010):
• Helped lead the USA A2 Blue Team to the gold medal at the 2010 USA Adult Open Volleyball Championships in Phoenix
As a Sophomore (2009):
• Appeared in all 32 matches and 122 sets for the Bears as she earned Pac-10 all-conference honorable mention and all-academic honorable mention
As a Freshman (2008):
• Earned Pac-10 All-Freshman team honors
Off the court, Murrey is certainly no slouch. An avid cook, her favorite meal is lobster with filet mignon, accompanied by mashed potatoes and garlic butter. For this highlight and more, check out:
Cal Sports Report- Tarah Murrey (via Francesca Weems)
Opposing coaches marveled at her skills as a "dynamo," but Murrey also honed her patience at Cal with "hours of hard work," and "not a magic pill," as head coach Rich Feller explained. After graduation, Murrey headed to Italy to play professionally, and now plays for the Vaqueras de Bayamon in Puerto Rico. She credits her time at Cal for developing her work ethic, both athletically and academically, demonstrating the dual goals of a true scholar athlete. What better representative is there of the excellence we recruit, develop, and celebrate at Berkeley?