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CGB Hall of Fame: (5)Ashley Walker v. (12)Nick Harris

Our final CGB Hall of Fam matchup comes out of the Pete Newell Region and features star women's basketballer Ashley Walker taking on stud punter Nick Harris. We'll take a look at each of these Cal stars and then you can vote for who you think ought to move on. You can look at all of the match-ups in the full bracket here and voting will end on Friday.


(5) Ashley Walker

Cal Women's Basketball: SoBerkeley - Ashley Walker (via calathletics)

Ashley Walker is believed by many CGBers to be the best player in the history of the Cal women's basketball program. Walker has many accolades that would support this assessment:

Pac-10 All Freshman team in 2005-06
Named first team All-Pac-10 three times; she is one of only four Cal players to be first team All Pac-10 twice.
Pac-10 scoring champion as a senior when she averaged 19.8 PPG
Named to the Pac-10 All Defensive team twice.

Walker led the Cal basketball team to unprecedented heights, as Cal went to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in Walker's senior year. That tournament provided a shining example of Walker's greatness.

Nor Cal Nick:
"My favorite memory of Walker is somewhat bittersweet. Not surprisingly for a player who seemed to get better each game over four years, Walker played her best in her final NCAA tournament. First, she shot 9-12 for 21 points in an easy win over Fresno St. Then she destroyed Virginia, shooting 14-20 for 32 points along with 10 boards. And for the first 14 minutes against #1 UConn Walker kept it going, hitting threes, getting inside, grabbing boards and generally frustrating Geno Auriemma. UConn still cruised to victory, but Walker finished with 21 points. I firmly believe that Cal would have beaten just about any other team in the nation that day the way the team, and Walker, were peaking."

Walker was drafted 12th overall by the Seattle Storm in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She was waived by the Storm in 2010 and later played for the Tulsa Shock. She has signed a training camp contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars. Walker also plays professionally in Israel, where she was the league's MVP in her first season there in 2010.

(12) Nick Harris

Interview of Nick Harris, Part 1 (via EvangelicalPatheos)

Norcalnick shares his thoughts on Nick Harris

Nick was cursed (or, perhaps blessed) to toil at Cal from 1997 to 2000, four years that didn't exactly see Cal find a great deal of success. But! BUT! It did allow him to gain invaluable experience and the time to hone his craft to an absurd degree. How much time? How about setting and NCAA record for most punts (322) and net yardage (13,621) in a career. That's approximately 80 punts per season, and more than 7 punts per game! Go Bears!

Harris's junior campaign has to be one of the greatest individual seasons in Cal history. He averaged 44 yards per punt despite often being asked to pooch punt the ball, and his longest was a booming 70 yarder. Harris and a vintage Hit Squad defense somehow managed to keep Cal competitive despite an offense not safe to be viewed by the general public.

His crowning moment was undoubtedly against UCLA on the road in 1999:

The Bears had put the Bruins in a hole when Nick Harris' 34-yard punt was downed at the UCLA 1. Harris later had a 68-yard punt, and averaged 53.1 yards for seven kicks.

So if you take away a 34 yard punt that could not have possibly traveled any further, Harris averaged 56 yards for his other 6 punts! His punting and a dominating defensive performance allowed Cal to escape with an ugly, penalty and turnover filled 17-0 victory. I distinctly remember watching this game because of Harris. Cal scored an early touchdown, but otherwise struggled moving the ball. By the 2nd quarter I was actively looking forward to punts, because that meant Harris would get the chance to pin UCLA deep. And the best chance of Cal scoring would always be a turnover or safety created by the Hit Squad. The Nick Harris for Heisman campaign was in full swing!

Interestingly enough, Harris was replaced in Jacksonville by Bryan Anger, another all-world Cal punter when Anger was drafted by the Jaguars. Harris ultimately landed with Detroit where he continues his NFL career.