Perhaps no other skill player in Cal history instilled as much fear and respect into opposing defenses and special teams coverages as DeSean Jackson. Opening day starter as a true freshman. His first two career touches went for touchdowns against Sacramento State. Led the Bears in receiving as a sophmore with 59 catches for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns as set a Cal record with four punt returns for touchdowns. Perhaps his greatest play was a 77 yard punt return against Tennessee in 2007 that went for a touchdown. Some consider him an enigma during his Junior year, in which the Cal football team collapsed in the second half of the season, however, his overall body of work is not to be ignored. He departed holding Pac-10 records for punts returned for a touchdown both in a season (four), and in a career (six). Jackson ranks third all-time at California for receiving yards with 2,423 and receiving touchdowns with 22. He is sixth in receptions (162). Jackson finished with 52 career plays of 20 yards or more, making up 23 percent of his 226 touches.
(7) Milica Vukadinovic
LeonPowe describes the impact that Vukadinovic had on both the Cal Women's Basketball program and its fans.
Nowadays we take big point guards for granted. But in 1991 and 1992, aside from Magic Johnson, there wasn't really any big player taking the ball off the rim, powering down the court on the fast break and then either pick out the open (wo)man or take it to the rim for a lay-up. But before players like Lamar Odom, Penny Hardaway, Diana Turasi, Alana Beard, Jalen Rose and Steve Smith were on the scene - Misha was the bridge between eras (okay, not really, but work with me).
Standing 6'1" but handling the ball and running the Bears offense with flair, the Belgrade native was nicknamed by the Cal atheltic department as "Lady Magic" - she was voted All Pac-10 twice and Kodak All American once - leading the veteran Bears (um, I'm going to guess as to who was on that team - Jackie Lear, Trisha Stafford, Ingrid Dixon, Keisha Martin, Kim Robinson?) to two straight NCAA berths.
Here's what the Cal Athletics site has to say about her:
One of Cal's only first team Kodak All-American (1993) in women's basketball history...Vukadinovic propelled the Golden Bears to NCAA postseason berths in each of her two seasons with the program...two-time first team All-Pac-10 choice led Cal to the 1992 and 1993 NCAA playoffs...a member of the Yugoslavian National Team, she would have competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics if her country had not been banned...Vukadinovic, also a GTE Academic All-American and two-time first team Pac-10 All-Academic choice, ranked as high as fourth in scoring average (15.7 ppg), sixth in assists (358) and third in three-point shooting percentage (.389) among Cal's career leaders...voted the school's women's basketball Player of the Decade for 1986-96.
Personal Memories - I made it to every woman's basketball game I could - especially when Misha was playing. I have this weird love for big point guards -Magic, Steve Smith, Penny, Billy Owens, Lamar Odom, TMac (2004-2006 only), are among my favorite players - and Misha joins them. I can still see her pulling the rebound down and "powering out" (like Magic used to) and then finding Jackie Lear with a one hand 30 foot bounce pass, or shaking her defender with a left to right behind the back dribble, before nailing the 3. Before the age of do-it-all women players - she was it. Could handle the ball, rebound, score, shoot from distance, pass and was a decent defender.
Ohio Bear chimes in.
I have some personal memories of Milica. (Her nickname on the team, BTW, was "Meets.") I did a lot of the women's games for KALX in 1992 and traveled with the team a lot. I had never before seen a woman do the things she could do with the basketball; she was incredible. In addition to everything you describe above, she also had a knack for the shot fake or the pass fake. And then BOOM: she was by you. Away from the floor, Milica was quiet, but seemed to get more comfortable as the season went along. If I'm remembering the story correctly, her basketball scholarship opportunities when she came to the U.S. were at either Cal or UNLV. Through her country's basketball federation, she was put in contact with then-Laker Vlade Divac to solicit advice. My memory is fuzzy on whether I got this information from Milica directly or hearsay from Coach Gooch Foster, but the story goes that Divac told Milica to go to Cal for the degree because "Vegas is just a basketball school." So thanks for the recruiting assist, Vlade.
One more note: not sure who called her "Lady Magic" first, but I distinctly remember Tara Vanderveer calling her "the Magic Johnson of women's basketball," unprompted.