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CGB Hall of Fame: (7) Justin Forsett vs. (10) Allen Crabbe

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One of Ron Gould's most reliable running backs battles Cal basketball's most recent Pac-12 Player of the Year. Check out the recently updated bracket here.

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(7) Justin Forsett


Justin Forsett Extended Highlights Part 1 (via ronenlish1)

When Marshawn Lynch left for the NFL following the 2006 season, there were some Cal fans who wondered if Justin Forsett cold handle the role of Cal's # 1 running back. Sure, he was great as Lynch's backup and and as a quintessential "change of pace" back during the Beast Mode years, but how would he do as Cal's feature back?

Just fine, thank you very much. Forsett rushed for 1,546 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, which led the Pac-10 and tied for the best single-season total in Cal history. On top of all that, Forsett was a second team Pac-10 All-Academic selection. Forsett finished his Cal career with 3,220 rushing yards and was a valued member of teams that won 35 regular season games and three bowl games. These days, he is a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

Back in the day, danzig wrote one of the classiest tributes ever on this site, dedicated to Forsett (included in the post are his noted highlighted reels), chock full of emotion and memory. Here's the best of that post.

1) He's a great all-around guy: ALL fans love him. Great work ethic, high character, good morals, never got in trouble and patiently waited behind Marshawn without bitching about it. There are so few heros in life, but he's one of them.
All his life he's been told about the body he doesn't have... the speed he doesn't possess... to accept that he wouldn't go far... and he said to all of them... "F*** that, I don't give a shit what you think!!" (Actually, he probably would've have said, "Excuse me sir, I beg to differ" but...). To make it even more improbable, Ty Willingham yanked his only D-1 scholarship at the last minute, but he still became a star at Cal... I bet Ty is sorry now. His story is downright inspirational and I demand a movie be made about him immediately! Hey Hollywood, cancel that sequel you're about to make and do this instead: The Truth Laid Bear: The Justin Forsett Story. But if it shows up on Lifetime I'm going to F*ing kill you guys.

2) He's the son of a preacher man: And so am I. PKs (pastor's kids) don't have what you would call 'normal' upbringings. Pastors are incredibly strict with their kids because the kids' behavior reflects on the Pastor and the church itself. There are only two varieties of PKs... the ones that grow up to be upstanding role models in their communities and the 'rebels' who embrace all evil (I'm the latter). In short, it's tough to grow up as a PK and PKs the world over have somewhat of a kinship that grows from that. "Genesis says don't be spilling no seed"

3) He's got skillz: Admit it, sometimes when Marshawn was bogging down in a game or fumbling, we all secretly whispered to ourselves, "PUT JUSTIN IN !!!" When announcers said that he could be starting anywhere else in the country... they weren't kidding. He was an outstanding running back with accolades too long to list here. He's got moves and knows when to just run downhill. He's chocked my head full of great game memories...I'll miss him so much...sniff, sniff. (tearing up).

(10) Allen Crabbe

norcalnick describes Crabbe's development in our Remembering the Seniors post:

In terms of nebulous descriptions of a player's ability, I thought Crabbe made the transition from 'shooter' to 'scorer' as a junior. His reputation always started with his ability to hit 3s, but it should be noted that Crabbe's 3 point percentage was relatively pedestrian this year at 35%, not even in the top 15 in the conference. I would guess that Crabbe could have shot a higher percentage, but when you're the undisputed go-to-guy on offense, you're probably going to be putting up more low quality shots with defenders draped all over you.

And that's what really impressed me about Allen Crabbe. Here's a quick, simple chart that distills his development as a player:

Freshman Sophomore Junior
Usage rate 18.4 21.4 25.4
Offensive efficiency 111.5 112.1 108.7

He was able to maintain his offensive efficiency despite increasingly taking a much larger role within the offense. In the Pac-12, only 7 players had a higher usage rate than Crabbe, and only one of those players had a higher efficiency (Roberto Nelson). If Crabbe shot closer to 40% from behind the arc, as he did as a freshman and sophomore, he probably places above Nelson anyway. Plenty of players carried the burden for their team on offense - few did it better than Allen.

He managed to stay so efficient despite 3 point percentage variance by doing everything else a bit better. He was better getting to the basket, he converted his shots inside the arc at a much higher rate, he drew more fouls, and he became a better passer. The rest of the Pac-12 should be very thankful he decided to head to the NBA.