Results from the previous round
Sixth-seeded Bryan Anger squeaked by eleventh-seeded Joe Igber, 63-61, and third-seeded Reshanda Gray advanced past fourteenth-seeded CJ Anderson, 63-42.
(6) Bryan Anger
CAL FOOTBALL 2010 - Bryan Anger Feature (via calbearsgobig)
iVinishe: The first football game I had ever watched was 2008 Michigan State @ Cal. I had absolutely no idea how football worked; in fact, I remember wondering why we kept giving the ball to that Best guy when he clearly wasn't scoring. This game was also Cal's introduction to Bryan Anger, punter extraordinaire. To my naive mind, Anger was clearly the best guy on our team.
Over the next 4 years, Anger went on to become the most outstanding punter in the nation. Other punters occasionally averaged a yard more for a season here and there, but only Anger had the ability to make an entire stadium go "WOW." From 2009-2011, Anger garnered First Team All-Pac-10/12 honors for three straight seasons, and set the all-time Cal single season punting record with an average of 43.5 yards/punt.
This spring, he goes into the NFL Draft as one of the top punters of his class.
Before that fall day, I had no idea people could kick balls that high, or that far. To this day, I'm still not sure people can. I've watched quite a bit of football at all levels since that day, and I still haven't seen anyone who can match a well-placed Anger bomb. He is, quite literally, a game-changer, and there has been some element of truth to jokes of our punter being the best (or at least, most outstanding), player on our team for the past 4 years
California Punter Bryan Anger Draft Profile (via ProFootballWeekly)
Anger ended up being taken in the 3rd round of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and had a stellar rookie season, averaging over 47 yards per punt and also demonstrating his tackiling ability by taking down Houston Texans return man Keshawn Martin on a 71-yard runback to save a touchdown. Of course, national sports media had a lot of fun with that one, but it only reinforced what we Golden Bear fans already knew, which was that this guy is a legit athlete.
(3) Reshanda Gray
There's a reason that the dynamic duo of Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray are known as "Corn Flakes and Milk". The two Cal Women's Basketball legends left such an impact on the program over their collegiate careers, which have been so intertwined that it has never been exactly made clear which one is Corn Flakes and which one is Milk.
The greatest praise of all for Gray has to come from Boyd herself:
"She understands me and I understand her," Boyd said of Gray. "We watch each other's games, and we connect with our passes. I don't really know why are so in sync. It's probably because off the court, we are so close and talk about everything."
"[Winning the Pac-12 title] would be amazing to experience, especially with [Reshanda], who is someone that I have been with my entire college experience," Boyd said. "She has helped me with my success, and I have helped her with hers. To do both be invited to the draft and to continue our careers would be fantastic."
But Gray's story, and why she has meant to much to the Women's Basketball program and to Cal as a whole. Alaina Getzenberg of the Daily Californian explains in this great feature, "We Gon' Be Alright".
Gray's mother and father slept in the living room of the small apartment, while Gray and her six siblings slept in the lone bedroom. They shared everything they had with each other, from clothes to space on the floor.
Some of Gray's brothers spent time in a gang, often coming home late. Gray learned to fight from her three older brothers, something she credits as only making her tougher. But toughness wasn't the only thing Gray learned from her brothers, as the city's energy eventually started to steer her in the wrong direction.
"I was just hanging with the wrong crowd, thinking it was OK for me to do wrong things and just be defiant and talking back to adults and stuff like that," Gray says. "I think it definitely had a big influence, because where I lived, not many people make it, and not many positive things happen, so I was quick to really get caught up in all the negative thinking going on in the community."
To get through all the bad things surrounding her, Gray learned to take the best parts of every struggle and find happiness, no matter where it might come from. She knew nothing else. This was life. In her mind, nothing else could be expected from her because, unlike the people on TV, life was incredibly far from perfect.Her senior year has easily been the highlight of her college career, as she has proved how essential she is to the team's success.
"Here is a kid who has had a 3.0 every semester for the last four or five semesters. I think she's the poster child for everything that is right about intercollegiate athletics," says Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "She's going to graduate with a great GPA from Cal, and she's going to be a top draft pick in the WNBA. What else can you say?"
Now the girl who didn't want to even try basketball has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. She is a month away from the WNBA draft, where she is projected to go in the top five, and she's only two months away from dancing her way onto the graduation stage for her diploma.
Asked which day she is more looking forward to, Gray thinks for a second. And then she gives a huge smile: "You want me to be honest?"
"Getting a degree from a wonderful institution, that's really great," Gray says. "Not only has it become something for me, I (also) proved a lot of people wrong in my journey, which is sweeter."