Today, we got another big matchup. Jerome Randle, basketballer extraordinaire, versus Dana Vollmer, swimming superstud. We're getting into Round 2 here, so the questions all become so much tougher. This is in the Pappy Waldorf bracket
You can view the whole bracket here. Voting ends this Friday, so vote early and vote often! Full write ups after the jump. GO BEARS!
Jerome Randle (2)
Avi talked a little about Randle in our Remembering the Seniors post.
Randle's evolution as a player was remarkable. When I first watched him sophomore year I cringed watching him run the offense. I don't play much basketball, but when I do I'm usually the point guard, and the things Randle did are NOT things that would make my teammates happy. The shots themselves weren't that bad. I'm guessing if he was taking them in the first place he was hitting them in practice, and the next two years proved he could make those shots.
No, it was the lack of ball movement and inability to get the ball to the bigs that really exasperated me. The process of watching our plays developed was chaotic, and not in an enjoyable Nellie-ball sort of way. You could see the team unravel during conference play as they ran into smarter and more efficient teams. That's the point guard mantra--run the offense, make your teammates make happy. Bad point guards lead to bad teams, and that was what Cal was in 2008.
(The most curious thing was that Randle and Ryan Anderson never really gelled. Although people opine what would've been if Ryan had returned for a year (or two) with Monty, Jerome probably would've left as he was already on the fence after the Braun firing, and we'd have probably had two years of Nikola Knezevic running point guard. Think we're Pac-10 champions this year if that happens?)
His maturation was exceptional under Monty though. First he got the alpha dog streak as the team's on-the-court leader in his junior campaign. That he went from an inconsistent shooter shooter to one of college's most efficent offensive players (53rd in the nation in 09) in a year without great bigs to set picks for him lends credence to Montgomery's teaching methods. Amazing what putting a system in place does for good players.
Second, his endurance for a guy his size was exceptional. He played an average of 35 minutes the past two seasons, and that's including blowouts. And it wasn't like the guy was taking plays off either--he handled the ball on over a fourth of our possessions the past two seasons. It not only underscored the importance of Randle, but the faith Monty had in letting him play those long minutes. It wore him out last season, but his performances were solid from beginning to end this year.
Finally, he embraced his teammates and ran with them as they ran with each other. Although his 2009 campaign was more spectacular than his 2010 season, I felt he played even better this year. He sublimated his individual talents in search of the team goal, which was the conference crown. The final stretch of the Pac-10 season (where they won nine out of their last ten games) was perhaps the best basketball he ever played as a Bear. He stepped up when they needed him, he stepped aside when others were ready to carry the load. And they got that conference ring.
Dana Vollmer (10)
OaktownAggie: NCAA swimmer of the year.
Olympian. Forgot to add:
Overcame adversity, having undergone heart surgery in 2003.
NCAA Swimmer of the Year during a National Championship season.
"Claimed numerous awards in a stellar final season as a Bear - named the 2009 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year and Honda Sports Award winner for Swimming...nominated for a 2009 ESPY Award in the Best Female Collegiate Athlete category...won four national titles and was key member of Cal's first NCAA team championship"
" Cal's Dana Vollmer has won the Honda Award as the nation's top swimmer.
Vollmer helped her team capture the Pac-10 and NCAA titles. She was chosen NCAA swimmer of the year Wednesday after winning the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, and she also contributed to two relay titles in the 400 and 800 freestyle.
Vollmer is the third athlete from Cal to win the Honda Award, joining Mary T. Meagher (1985, '87) and Natalie Coughlin (2002, '03).
The Honda Award is given annually to the top female athletes in 12 NCAA sports."
As a member of the US Swimming Team, she was a member of the world-record-setting 800m free relay at the 2007 World Championships, earned gold as a member of the 800m free relay at the 2006 Pan Pacifics, and was gold medalist on the 800m free relay that broke a 17-yr-old world record at the 2004 Olympics.