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Jeff Farudo's scouting report is mostly of a look at how Cal will handle Theo's return. He talks briefly about Pacific, though. Attendance is supposed to set a record of nearly 7500 at Stockton Arena. Also, Farudo mentions that Kamp has been participating in about two-thirds of Cal's practices, but he is mentally prepared to redshirt.
"I’m not saying it’s great that Theo was out, but just to let people get a chance to be out there playing," senior point guard Jerome Randle said. "With Jorge, we see he’s able to do a lot of other things other than coming off the bench giving us a lot of defense. He can score. I think he’s better for this team right now when he comes off the bench because he’s very fiery."
Gutierrez worked hard on his shot in the off-season and he entered this week ranked second in the Pac-10 in 3-point accuracy at 53.3 percent. He’s already made as many 3-pointers (8) as all last season, when he converted just 30.8 percent.
"He’s gotten better," Montgomery said. "He’s not pure. But it’s going in, so it’s good."
Randle believes the difference is merely confidence.
"I know a lot of times he second-guesses his shots. I tell him, if I create and draw the defense and you’re open for a shot and you don’t shoot the ball, I’m going to be mad," Randle said. "He takes the shot now. He’s not hesitating. He looks pretty good now. He’s making jump shots."
Gutierrez wasn’t the only Cal player to get more opportunity recently. Center Max Zhang and forward Omondi Amoke also have helped build better depth.
"(Max) gained some confidence, for sure," Montgomery said. "We’ll be able to use all these kids before it’s all said and done. Omondi has come in and done a real nice job, particularly on the boards. He’s very active to the glass. He doesn’t always get to where he’s supposed to be, but he’s a strong rebounder."
"They’re very solid. They play hard, they’re physical, they well-coached, they’ve got a lot of pride in their program," Montgomery said. "They’re always a contender in the Big West because it’s important. They don’t beat themselves, they don’t make a lot of mistakes, they know who they are."
Montgomery expects the Bears will have a fight on their hands.
"They’re not going to back off at all. They’ll come after us," he said. "To get a Pac-10 school over in Stockton, it’s a big game for them. They’ll be ready to go."
After the jump a few media outlets look back on Cal's season, Cal is favored by three over the Utes, Theo's return generates excitement, and more.
- Cal is favored by 3 over the Utes.
- The Poinsettia Bowl is 16th in Stewart Mandel's list of most interesting bowls. It is the second-least interesting of the Pac-10 bowls, however, and is one spot below the USC-BC Emerald Bowl. Mandel says it will be much more interesting if Best returns for his last game of the season (and probably Cal career). UCLA-Temple (assuming Army doesn't win), is the least interesting Pac-10 bowl at 27th.
- Ted Miller recaps Cal's season in a single word: strange.
Cal earns a C+ from Buster Sports for its performance over the 2009 season. Its grades for each game of the season were as follows:
- Everyone is excited for the return of Theo. Defending Cal will be a whole lot tougher, as Randle, PC, and Theo can score any time they touch the ball.