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Remembering Patrick Christopher

What will I remember most about PC?  His shooting?  His defense?  His poetry?????


Avinash: Physically, Christopher was the most talented member of this team. He had the most hops. He had the best moves. He could create off his own dribble (Theo and Jerome were mostly set shooters or finishers, PC could actually move with the ball and take a decent shot). He could catch fire in a hurry, his last such explosion being against the Furd to clinch the Pac-10 title outright. There were a lot of things to appreciate watching him go with the ball. Of all the players, he just LOOKED like a basketball player.

He also had other savvier instincts that some people miss. He enjoyed sniffing down the defensive boards, kind of like J-Rich does with the Suns.  And he rarely turned over the ball--173rd nationally last year, 71st this year. And his defense was always underrated. You expect your shooting guard to do mostly the scoring, but Christopher made plenty of Pac-10 wings look worse than they actually were this season. Him and Jorge could not have been fun for most offensive players to go through game by game.

Yes, there were things he did that would frustrate you on the court. He would take stepback fadeaways that I'd only be comfortable with about two people taking (and those two have won a combined ten NBA rings). He gambled on passing lanes and notched a bunch of steals, but sometimes it hurt the overall team defense. But I'm not going to remember those things. All things considering, he's a pretty unselfish two guard, and those are pretty hard to come by anywhere.

Plus he's one of the sweetest and nicest Golden Bears you'll ever know. That's gotta count for something.

NorCalNick:  I always felt that PChris wasn't appreciated as much as the other seniors because everybody felt that he wasn't reaching his potential.  We'd all see the ten minute periods when nobody could stop him on the court and he'd score from anywhere.  And I'll certainly grant that there were times when he didn't exert his will on games in the way we all hoped he would.  But I think we undervalue what he did do as a consequence.  Patrick was an iron man, logging nearly 35 minutes a game, despite the fact that he was routinely asked to guard the opposition's best player when Jorge wasn't on the court.  He was a solid rebounder for a guard.  Patrick did just about everything on a basketball court well.

And it's unrelated to the court, but he may just be the happiest person I've ever seen come through Berkeley.  Did the dude ever not have a smile on his face?  It sure made him easy to root for.

Kodiak:  When I think of Patrick Christopher, I think of the best fadeaway jumpshot in recent memory.  When he had that thing rolling, he was unblockable and unstoppable.  Unanimously acclaimed as the best athlete on the team, it should also be noted that he was one of the most durable guards or players in Cal history having played in absolutely every game during his four-year career.  If you would have asked me after their sophomore years which player was more likely to be Pac-10 POY, Randle or PC, I would have bet the house on PC.  But, as great an athlete and shooter as he was, PC was an even better teammate.  He was simply too nice a guy to demand the ball, force up shots, and "get his" at the expense of the team.



With Randle being brilliant, Theo being steady, and Jamal providing vocal enthusiam, PC was often the barometer of the Cal team;  when he was on, you knew they were going to be tough to beat.  Nothing fired up the crowd or the team more than one of his patented alley-oop dunks.  It should also be noted how often he subordinated his offensive game at the expense of covering the other team's best perimeter scorer.  Although his scoring average stayed the same over his last three years, the big improvements in rebounds, assists, and steals showed a commitment to D and the development of an all-around game.  I really wish that he would have used his athletic gifts to take it to the rim more, but I have to respect that he didn't force an aspect of his game that simply wasn't ever his strong point.  While he'll most likely be remembered for his sartorial expertise, shoe collection, and fadeaway, I'll remember his ever-present smile.  He was a good guy, solid student-athlete, and a classy young man that represented the university well.

LeonPowe:  PChris -

One word instantly comes to mind. Smooth. Whether talking about him on the court with the step back jumper, off the court with his sartorial choices or in interviews. For better or worse, sometimes this caught him some criticism as maybe people thought he was coasting or not using all of his prodigious gifts (leaping ability, quickness, length) to their utmost potential.

I was never amongst that crowd. I knew that he was, along with the other 3 seniors, a steadying force on the court. Whether defending the oppositions best player, stepping back for a 20 footer, catching an oop from jerome or rising from downtown to splash 3s, PChris was going to work hard, even if he didn't look like he was.
The other thing about PChris on the court was that if he was going, we rarely lost. Sure he had plenty of bad games, but when he had one of his 24 points, 6 rebound, 3 assist type games, with 3-5 from downtown shooting and a couple of dunks, we were rolling and would likely win that game. During his last two season, his play really was a great indicator of how we would do.

But more than his on-court gifts, PChris was a great representative for Cal. An upbeat guy who was great in interviews with a great smile, I really liked that this young man was repping for Cal on the on-court and wish him the best of luck in his next step.

OhioBear:  I used to joke about Patrick Christopher being a "poor man's Michael Jordan."  Okay, maybe it was more like a "really destitute man's Michael Jordan."  I guess anytime I see a 6'5' to 6'6" wing player who is very athletic wear number 23, thoughts of MJ are inevitable. Kidding aside, though, there were reasons I wanted to associate PC with MJ.  It wasn't just the number 23 or the collection of Nikes.  It was the many aspects of PC's game that I loved to watch and will miss. 



PC had a smooth athleticism about him.  He had a way of gliding to the basket that looked effortless.  He was good at moving without the ball, which is probably a reason why we have so many memories of PC slamming home an alley-oop dunk.  He had a way of creating space between him and the defender with that step back 3 or fadeaway J.  And he had a way of knocking down the open 3 at opportune times.  I will miss watching his offensive game, as well as his enthusiasm displayed on the floor.  And even though we don't really think of PC as a particularly strong defensive player, you don't have to think very hard to remember a time when he made a steal or athletically grabbed a defensive rebound.   
When PC got it going in his offensive, there was no stopping him -- or Cal.  Remember how he came alive in the 2nd half of our win at Stanfurd this year?  Or in the epic comeback win vs. Stanfurd at Haas in 2009?  Or that stretch of games in 2009 when he had a string of 20+ point performances at the start of Pac-10 play?  Cal won all of those games.   

PC started almost immediately as a freshman and became a mainstay in Cal's lineup.  I don't think PC ever missed a game in his career at Cal.  Statistically, PC will go down as one of the great ones in Cal basketball history -- he's up there in scoring, three-pointers, and steals.  But  more than the stats, PC will go down in Cal's basketball history as a vital cog on the team that broke a half-century conference championship drought.  And for those of us who will remember having watched him, we will remember PC as a guy with enthusiasm and athleticism on the court and a guy with style off of it.