Our next matchup comes out of the Pappy Waldorf Region and features a pure basketball scorer taking on a fantastic swimmer. Shareef advanced to this round by taking down Lavelle Hawkins while Caitlin advanced over my personal favorite,Troy Taylor. We'll take a closer look at both of them and then you can cast your vote to decide who moves on. You can take a look at the whole bracket here and voting will end Friday at noon. GO BEARS!
Abdur-Rahim later attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, where he maintained a GPA of 3.5. At California, he averaged 21.1 points per game (ppg) and 8.4 rebounds per game (rpg) in 28 games. He was the first freshman in Pac-10 history to win Conference Player of the Year honors, and was named Third Team All-America by the Associated Press. Abdur-Rahim also set single-season freshman records for points, scoring average, field goals, and free throws.
I’m just going to talk about the player. Back in 1996, 6’10 225 power fowards who could handle the rock, and play a tall 3 weren’t common. Thus "THE FUTURE" (as he was nicknamed) arrived at Cal. As the school’s highest profile recruit since Kidd (and until . . .well me), the first time we saw Shareef (from Atlanta) it was the McDonald’s All America Game. We were really excited getting the #3 prospect in the country . . .until the skinny guy who matched against him blocked his shot about 10 times and basically destroyed in the All Star Game. (That guy turned out to be pretty good himself)
No matter, when Shareef got to Cal – he made an immediate impact. Team with JUCO transfer Ed Gray, along with Jelani Gardner (ugh) and Randy Duck and Tony Gonzalez, ’Reef was able to garner Pac 10 POY honors, along with dropping in over 22 ppg (is that right?)
But more than that, I remember the effortless scoring. Earlier I talked about "The Future" and ‘Reef was . . . a silky smooth 6’9" power foward who could shoot it all the way out to 3 point range, destroy people on the block with a series of spin moves, and half hooks or face up and take defenders off the dribble, Shareef had the smoothest and most polished offensive game of any freshman ever at Cal.
Additionally, with the middle part of the season falling during the holy month of Ramadan, Shareef was destroying defenders in the paint all the whilein the middle of fasts and spirtual concentration.
The thought of Kelvin Cato blocking anything, much less basketballs, is a wild concept.
(6) Caitlin Leverenz
NorCalNick gives us some info:
Let’s start with the obvious achievement: Caitlin Leverenz is an Olympic medalist already, winning a bronze in the 200m Individual Medley. Cal athletes win plenty of medals, but it’s still pretty rare to win one when you’re still enrolled as a student. And to get a medal in an event that is essentially measuring how well-rounded you are as a swimmer? Even cooler!
But in a way, her collegiate accomplishments seem somehow more impressive. At the 2011 NCAA championships she swam in five events and placed 5th, 4th, 3rd, 1st (relay) and 1st(relay). In 2012, she again swam in five events (3 individual, 2 relays), and this time she recorded four wins and one 2nd place finish . . . and that 2nd place finish was an American record. And Cal won national titles both years.
2013 wasn’t quite as illustrious as 2012, but Leverenz again competed in five events and finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd and 6th. 15 NCAA championship races, and finishing 6th or higher every time. That’s a level of versatility and endurance rarely seen, and I have no doubt the Bears will miss her next year.
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