Last week's results
- (6) Steve Bartkowski cruised to a 79%-21% victory over (11) Lavelle Hawkins
- The (2) 2010 men's basketball seniors defeated (15) Andre Carter 63%-37%.
- (7) Justin Forsett posted the biggest victory of the week with an 82%-18% advantage over (10) Allen Crabbe.
- And in our most hotly contested, controversial matchup of the week (14) William Hung scored hundreds of votes before great justice propelled (3) Kirk Everist to a 57%-43% victory. Nearly 1,500 votes were cast.
(1) Justin Cobbs
In our Remembering the Seniors post we reflect on our favorite moments of Justin Cobbs' career. There were many favorite moments from this past season, but none bigger than this:
Ruey Yen: Maybe it's because he came to Cal as a transfer, but every since he was able to get on the floor, Justin Cobbs has produced for the Golden Bears - playing nearly 35 minutes a game with at least a dozen+ points and 5 dimes. Of course, Cobbs also steadily improved his game over the year to become the most consistent player for the Bears in his senior year. A combo guard that was forced to become more of a pure passer later in his career, there is no doubt that those buzzer beaters that Leland alluded to will be what Cal fans remember (or see the in replays) for years to come. The play where he takes one step inside the 3 point line and then elevate to take that high arching jumper has produce the same sequence of thoughts in my head every time. It goes from "why did he settle for that shot" to "maybe it will go in" to "he's done it again! [or "I knew that was a terrible shot"]. One thing that you can count on Justin Cobbs is that he will be the one taking that final shot...including the very last one of the Mike Montgomery era at Cal.
Vlad Belo: I will remember Justin Cobbs as clutch. His game winning shots at Oregon in 2013 and against #1 Arizona this year are memorable moments not only for his career but also two if the most memorable moments of the Mike Montgomery era. Cobbs was a guy who WANTED the ball at the end of the game to take the last shot.
More often than not, Cobbs was a steadying influence on the floor, a good floor leader. Monty trusted him and that gave me confidence I'm him as well. And while he wasn't quite Jerome Randle at the FT line (who is?!?), there was no one these last two years I wanted to see at the line late in games more than Cobbs.
Avinash Kunnath: Justin will always be a favorite Golden Bear of mine considering the load we put on him the past two seasons. Whether he liked it or not, anytime he stepped onto the court he had to be the leader because no one else could be. And I think he performed very well given the talent he had to work with. This year he had two bigs who rarely posted up, a bunch of wings who struggled to shoot, and a head coach who was mentally pondering about the best fishing spots along the West Coast next few years. That's a load for any point guard to handle, and it gets even worse when our five-minute offense pretty much became "let Justin do something with the ball". Somehow this team nearly went to the tournament anyway and was a few bounces away from the Dance (nail a shot against ASU or Colorado or Utah here and there...).
So I really appreciate that about him. He had to shoulder the offensive load on a team bereft of offensively gifted players, play WAY too many minutes (particularly his junior year, when he and Allen Crabbe sat maybe for 3-4 minutes a game), and still ended up producing extremely efficient offensive seasons. He was probably more comfortable shooting rather than distributing, but he grew into his role as the primary point guard and kept them from completely unraveling when things got tough. He took each loss in his final month with Cal extremely hard, knowing how perilously close we were to falling off the bubble. It was saddening but really endearing, and I'll miss watching him lead the Bears.
I just wish he didn't have to do so much heavy lifting.
(16) Kevin Parker
As for Rope Coach, his community work goes a long way toward making our currrent Cal athletes better citizens, as we discovered in a recent Golden Nuggets.
Kevin "Rope Coach" Parker constantly reminds himself and his players of the consequences of poor life choices. His involvement with the SQUIRES program has earned him heaps of praise from his fellow coaches and his players.
Parker played running back at Oregon when Tedford was the offensive coordinator there in 1998. Parker had a short stint in the Arena Football League before Tedford brought him to Berkeley when he became the head coach in 2002.
A few years later, Parker was introduced to S.Q.U.I.R.E.S, a program at San Quentin State Prison where hard-core inmates meet with troubled youths to show them how they might end up if they make the wrong decisions in life. Parker, who saw lots of crime growing up and had always dreamed of going into law enforcement, was awed by the experience.
He came up with the idea of getting Cal's players involved in the program, if nothing else to teach them not to take anything for granted.
"The first thing I thought was we have to get some of our guys over here," Parker said. "I thought our players needed to see it because we're only one bad choice and one bad decision away from coming here. That's true for anybody. I think anybody and everybody should go visit a prison, just to keep you on the straight and narrow. You don't want to be there."
Parker said he brings a group of Cal players to the program about three times a year — there will be another visit next month — but now finds himself going on his own as much as possible. Parker tries to go every Saturday, just to listen to the inmates' stories and keep him as grounded as possible.
"I get over there pretty often," Parker said. "My wife gets mad at me for going over there so much. When I'm feeling bad, I go over there and hear their stories just to keep me on the straight and narrow. It's big-time therapy. Sometimes, I just sit in the corner and listen."