Jeff Farudo has plenty of notes from Cal BakBaketball's media day. For those interested in further reading, CalBears.com has media day quotes from Monty and a handful of players.
Sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez has joined [Harper Kamp] on the sidelines, due to a sharp pain on the bottom of his right foot. Cal doctors checked for plantar fasciitis, which can be a lingering and debilitating condition if allowed to fester. Monty said they don’t believe that’s the problem, but no one is taking any chances.
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Still, Montgomery is encouraged and hopes to find a way to effectively utilize Zhang. "I think he got some confidence," Montgomery said. "It’s just a slow process. He’s not a very experienced kid. He’s getting better. You’ll see things. There’s still some things he just doesn’t understand about what he needs to do to be effective. But he is 7-3, he does have long arms. And hopefully there’s going to be opportunity for him to help us."
– Montgomery labeled sophomore forward Omondi Amoke as perhaps the most improved player since last season. Amoke is active on the glass and a factor on every play, assistant coach Jay John said. At 6-foot-7, he still will shuttle between small forward and power forward, especially until Kamp’s situation at power forward becomes clear. Amoke said he doesn’t care which position he plays; he just wants to be on the floor as much as possible.
– Montgomery confirmed that point guard Jerome Randle — who missed the media day session because of class commitments — has gained 15 pounds and is working seriously to improve his decision-making and defense. "Jerome really has a much better idea of what we’re trying to do," Monty said. "He’s tried very hard to deliver the ball on time, be a point guard . . . trying to make all the right decisions, and that’s been encouraging."
– Robertson, who underwent offseason surgery on his hip for the second year in a row, looks better than ever, according to Montgomery.
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– Freshman Brandon Smith, competing to possibly earn the No. 2 point guard job, has been very impressive early. He’s going toe-to-toe with Randle in practice, Montgomery said. "Brandon’s a tough kid who has not given in. That’s pretty impressive as a freshman to come in and really hang in there with a very, very good player."
– JC transfer Markhuri Sanders-Frison (pronounced FRY-son) has dropped 19 pounds down to 274 since arriving on campus in August. The 6-foot-7 center said he’s done it by eliminating fried foods, eating at appropriate times of day, and making Cal strength coach Mike Blasquez "my best friend." Sanders-Frison said the coaching staff wants him to crack 270 pounds, his goal is 265.
After the jump we have injury updates for Cal and Wazzu, WSU's take on defending the Cal offense, a couple articles on Vereen, and more.
- Farudo looks at the drastic difference between now and this time last year for Monty and co.
- JO has lots of news from Thursday night's practice. Syd and D'Amato returned to practice, although Tedford affirms that Tavecchio will handle kicking Saturday. Hagan has reclaimed his starting spot.
- SFGate talkes to Vereen about his friendship with Best and his role as backup.
- Wilner on basketball and football recruiting for both Cal and Stanford.
- Wilner posts his best and worst of Bay Area college football for the first half of the season.
- Wulff calls the Cal game his "biggest test by far" at this point in the season. They're particularly concerned about defending Best. With a team full of first and second-year players, Wulff emphasizes the need to move on and not dwell on losses.
- WSU top linebacker Louis Bland will likely not play Saturday.
- Best, Wulff, and Montgomery talk about Best's performance last year against the Cougs. Best comments that the Wazzu defense is much better this year and that "it's not going to be an easy game."
Women's basketball is picked to finish second in the conference, behind Stanford who received 9 first-place votes and ahead of ASU who received a single first-place vote..