(1) 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 Elbert Irving IV)
(16) #VoteLay Campaign
Kodiak and TheScientist019 explain:
The #VoteLay movement was an inspired social media campaign dreamed up and carried out by CGB readers in support of Cal basketball standout, Layshia Clarendon. It was AndBears' idea to start putting out witty tweets with the hashtag "#LayshiaFacts." TheScientist019 helped organize and BandAlum worked on perpetuating the twitter campaign. Prior to its inception, Clarendon held 12.0% of the total votes and was losing ground. In response, Cal fans and alumni banded together and started this grassroots effort to support one of our great student-athletes. Soon, there were ideas, tweets, and re-tweets from other CGBers and Cal fans nationwide. The movement even reached the attention of Cal staff, players, coaches, and the AD.
The hashtag also caught the notice of the Pac-12 conference:
Within a matter of days, Layshia's fan support spiked from around 12% of the vote to over 30%. The data shows a correlation between the mobilized Cal family and Clarendon getting nearly 1/3 of all votes! This proved to be an insurmountable lead as she ended up winning the fan portion of the Senior Class Award for Div-I basketball. The #VoteLay campaign was both special and unique in how it united the Cal community. In many ways, it represented what makes CGB special. This was entirely born and buoyed of Cal fandom. Everyone who is a part of CGB should feel good about this achievement. We did this together and we made a difference on a national stage. As CalBear81 reported from Spokane, Layshia herself was gracious and appreciative: "I congratulated her on winning the voting for the Senior Class Award, and she thanked us for supporting her. And — get ready for this — she said something about Layshia Facts. I told her I know the woman who started that, from California Golden Blogs, and she got all excited. She said, "who IS Golden Blogs? Who are they are? Who started Layshia Facts?" I told her AndBears’ name, and told her that CGB is just a bunch of Cal fans who participate because they love Cal. And she asked about how Layshia Facts got started. She said she doesn’t have Twitter, but that one of the coaches would print the good ones out for her. And she said, "it’s still going on, even though the voting is over! I saw one today with something about Baylor!"" This chart shows Clarendon’s percentages pre-campaign and how she spiked during the campaign: