SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Even as it undertook yet another successful season on the diamond, the Cal softball team found success in the classroom as eight Bears were honored Monday by the Pac-12 as All-Academic award winners.
Junior Taylor Koenig led the way, earning first team honors for carrying a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) with a major in Legal Studies. Hers is the highest GPA among all award winners on either the first or second team.
Seven other Bears -- Octavia Bond, Kristin Cullen, Jazmyn Jackson, Kobie Pettis, Kylie Reed, Katie Sutherland-Finch and Stephanie Trzcinski -- earned honorable mention to give Cal its most academic honorees in program history. Reed, Sutherland-Finch and Trzcinski earned the award for the second year in a row. To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and appear in at least 50 percent of their team's games.
BERKELEY - The first day of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft included a pair of familiar names for Cal baseball fans as pitcher Daulton Jefferies became the first Golden Bear drafted this season when the Oakland Athletics selected him with the 37th overall pick in the first lottery round and catcher Brett Cumberland joined him when the Atlanta Braves picked him at No. 76 overall in the second lottery round.
Jefferies, who was taken by the A's between the first and second round, is the highest-drafted Cal player since Brett Jackson was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the 31st overall pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. His is also the earliest selection for a Cal pitcher since Brandon Morrow was taken in the first round by Seattle in 2006.
A native of Atwater, Calif., Jefferies established himself as one of the nation's most dominant pitchers over his three years in Berkeley. Despite missing part of the 2016 season due to injury, he finished the year with a 7-0 record, 1.08 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched. He ended the season with three-year stat line of 15 wins, 13 losses, 2.72 ERA and 185 strikeouts to only 46 walks.
"I'm so thankful for the opportunity," Jefferies said. "This moment is what I've been working towards my whole life and to be with my family on this day is very special. However, there is still work to be done."
Ivan Rabb participated in May's NBA draft combine only vicariously: The California forward watched the drills and scrimmages on television and called and texted his friends at the event. He learned there were no shortcuts to a professional career, unless maybe you headed for the loading dock. Because autograph seekers prowled the lobby of the downtown Chicago inn where the participants were staying, and as best as Rabb could tell from his buddies, it sometimes took 15 minutes to make it from the player shuttle to an elevator.
"I'm sure they were tired after their workouts, but at the end of the day, this is what you sign up for when you go to the next level," Rabb says. "That's what everybody asks for growing up. They want fans and the spotlight and things like that. It's just part of being a professional athlete."
The 6'11" Rabb could have been there, too, after a highly productive first season in Berkeley (12.5 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 12 double-doubles, team-high 124.8 offensive rating and 5.1 Win Shares) that suggested he was nowhere near his ceiling. Some might posit Rabb should have been there, carrying lottery-pick cache with him. But a player who had heard he might one of the first dozen names off the board on draft night did the strangest thing: He didn't declare. He didn't test the waters. He didn't so much as approach the shoreline.
Ivan Rabb just didn't want to enter the NBA draft. There's evidently no great mystery beyond that, at least none that Cal's standout big man will cop to over the phone, shortly after returning to campus for the summer. This seemingly was a simple exercise in free will. It's only unusual because Rabb heard basically everything a player might want to hear but didn't go pro. And being surprised by that probably says more about us than it says about Ivan Rabb.