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Golden Nuggets: SF Chronicle Spotlights Don Coleman. Baseball and Softball Schedules.

Men’s and Women’s Soccer announce Academic awards.

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational-Wichita State at California Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball

  • Published before the Saint Mary’s loss, and has some outdated info as a result, The San Francisco Chronicle spotlights Don Coleman. It still has valuable insight nonetheless. Learn more about his nickname, family, and tattoos inside.

Coleman’s fearlessness shows up every game as he consistently drives into the lane, takes hits from guys who outweigh him by 50 pounds and still manages to spin, arc or flip in shots. His confidence has been on display for even longer.

Even though he was on track to leave Butler High (Augusta, Ga.) as the school’s all-time-leading scorer, Coleman was drawing only low- and mid-major looks. Betting on himself to demand more attention, he decided to go to Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Ala.

He averaged 19.9 points and 6.2 assists and — as he expected — Cal came calling.

“I’m here, so I guess that worked out,” Coleman said.

It’s hard to get Coleman to say much more than that. He generally lets his actions do the talking.

  • I usually don’t post recaps, since there’s so many Cal sports going on, but I appreciate that the SF Chronicle did a long recap on Cal WBB’s win over Seattle on Thursday and their win over Santa Clara yesterday.. The recaps from Rusty Simmons are as well-done as any football or men’s basketball article, so give it clicks so they do more like this! Excerpt is from Seattle recap.

“Fun day in Haas,” Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “This is always one my favorite days of the year because of the opportunity to impact so many kids who watch our young women play basketball and hopefully come away thinking they can do anything in life. It’s a special day for us and an incredible atmosphere.”

Games like these can benefit a program with high expectations, which Cal has. It’s a splendid opportunity to work on elements of an offense, defense or rotation that wouldn’t necessarily be possible in close games such as Saturday’s 55-52 loss to Missouri, which left the Bears 3-2 and knocked them from 21st in the country to 24th.

“I think you can learn in any type of game,” said Gottlieb, who was able to experiment with different combinations of players Thursday.

For example, Anigwe and West, both 6-foot-4, got their longest stretch of playing time together, and the double-post alignment paid dividends. West made 7 of 8 shots and scored 15 second-half points, including 13 in the third quarter.

It was a timely run by West, especially because Anigwe said she was exhausted after the first half.

“We started off really slowly in the third quarter, and CJ came in and scored back-to-back baskets,” Anigwe said. “She does that all time in practice. Seeing it in the game, I was so happy for her.”

New Schedules

Baseball

As noted a few weeks ago, the Pac-12 released the conference schedule for Cal Baseball, but the team has now finalized their schedule and put it online.

Highlights include...

  • The home opener (but not season opener) is a four game series beginning February 23 against Cal State Bakersfield, which includes a doubleheader on Saturday, February 24.
  • A tournament in Frisco, Texas in the first week of March that will see the Bears play well-established teams like Baylor, Texas A&M, and Louisiana Tech.
  • The first conference series at home is the always elite Oregon State squad from March 16-18... of course the last time the Beavers were in Berkeley the Bears swept them!
  • The Stanford series, against former coach Esquer, will be at Sunken Diamond (Thurs-Sat) April 26-28. Maybe that will be the year I finally make it down for a Cal/Furd baseball road game.
  • According to the schedule, it doesn’t seem like a lot of the games will be on Pac-12 Network... maybe the coaching change has led to poor expectations... so head to Evans Diamond next winter/spring and show them your support!

Softball

You can view the press release for the schedule unveil here and the full schedule here.

  • As usual, the Bears travel a lot in the early going of the season for some neutral site tournaments. As long as I’ve covered the teams the tournaments have been “far” away like Southern California or Arizona... but this time their opening tourney is in Sacramento! Hopefully Bear fans can make it up there. They do have tournaments in SoCal and even Hawaii as well, but also a second “close” tournament in Fresno.
  • The home opener, as early as I can even remember it being, is Valentine’s Day against UC Davis, a Wednesday matinee.
  • Nearly every Pac-12 rival is really good and thus a difficult challenge. 2018 will see the Bears host UCLA and Oregon, back-to-back, to close the season. Both teams made it to the College World Series last season. The Bears also have to travel to another CWS team in Washington.
  • Incidentally, the Stanford road series is the same weekend the Baseball team is on the Farm. The difference is its a Friday-Sunday (April 27-29) series, so there’s only two days they’re down there on the same day. While the Friday games are at the same time, a doubleheader is barely possible on that Saturday. (5PM SB and 7PM BSB) Let’s take over both games Cal family!
  • Most of the Pac-12 schedule will be televised, the exceptions being the Arizona and Utah series.

Track & Field

  • Cal Athletics announced that the Big Meet will be at Edwards Stadium on April 7. They also have home matches on March 3 and April 27-28.

More Awards

  • Ten Men’s Soccer players made the Pac-12 honor rolls. Halil Beqaj, Simon Lekressner and Aravind Sivakumar (with an outstanding 3.9 GPA in Computer Science) made the All-Academic First team. Sam Ebstein and Sam Junqua were named to the second team. David Burns, Spencer Held, Shinya Kadono, Matt Locklear and Paul Salcedo-Borrego were honorable mentions.
  • Women’s Soccer players Emily Boyd and Indigo Gibson finished their careers recently, but their achievements were not missed by the national collegiate soccer media. Gibson was named a First Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches organization. Boyd was named to the Second Team. Congrats!
  • But eight of their teammates also were honored... Maggie Bell, Guro Bergsvand, Mia Corbin, Kelly Fitzgerald, Kayla Fong, Anja Koehler, Haley Lukas, and Heather Walleigh were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention list.
  • I was able to embed Cal Volleyball’s Instagram post, posted around the exact time my Thursday GN went live, but here’s the press release. The team was led, both academically and on the court, by Antzela Dempi and her 3.83 GPA in the Haas School of Business. She was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team. Jessica Gaffney was named to the Second Team. Carmen Annevelink, Caihla Petiprin and Mackenzie Albrecht are honorable mentions.

Misc.

In a sport where there’s no such thing as a moral win, it’s hard to make sense of a season in which a team misses out on making a bowl game and extended an embarrassing streak of conference road losses, but still managed to show a lot of promise. What can’t be argued is that this was one of the most interesting Cal football seasons in recent memory, showing that having moved on from Sonny Dykes and his Bear Raid offense didn’t mean a drop in excitement was also on the way.

In a season that could have been so much more, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the Bears still managed to pull off a year that few thought possible, finishing 5-7 in a season where they could have been a two- or three-win team. Cal head coach Justin Wilcox inherited a program that was losing its quarterback, leading receiver and leading rusher and took over on a shortened timeline, taking over the program in January, far later than most college coaching moves are made.

  • The Daily Cal’s post-mortem on Cal Volleyball’s fourth straight losing season. Similar to football, the team started off well under their new coach (currently on leave for unexplained reasons, I hope everything is OK), plowing through non-conference, but injuries mounted and the Bears just couldn’t compete against a stacked Pac-12 conference (Also like football, 9 teams made the postseason, with Cal being one of the three that didn’t). Still, while it seemed like there was no hope in sight during the previous few years, it looks like the Bears are on the upward trajectory again.
  • Published before the season ending loss to USC in the Water Polo NCAA Semifinal, the Bears talk about senior Luca Cupido as he prepared for his final weekend as a Cal Bear. Learn how he rested up during the summer to prepare himself for his final year.

Cupido's added responsibility came once the fall semester started, but before the Bears reconvened for the new season, part two of his summer plan kicked in. A return to Italy meant nearly a full month away from both training and school, something he hadn't experienced in quite a while.

A little rest made all the difference.

"People see the results and see you did a great job, give you congratulations on the Olympics and everything like that but, since the summer of 2010, I didn't really have a summer," Cupido said. "It gets to the point where you need a mental break. This summer, having my girlfriend come over, going to see my brother and have nothing to worry about, I had a month of relaxation. That was very useful for me coming into the season ready to go."

The results speak for themselves. Already a three-time All-American, Cupido joined Pedro Stellet, who had already done an exceptional job captaining the Bears to a national title one year earlier, as a captain for a team focused on returning to the heights it enjoyed one year earlier.

In storybook fashion, after missing the huge regular season games against USC and Furd due to illness, and showing a lot of rust in early postseason games, he scored the game winner against Furd in the 3rd place game to secure a NCAA Tourney spot.

  • Not Cal-related... but hopefully in the near future it will be, Jon Wilner explains why the Pac-12 prefers the Championship game being on Friday... despite that it clearly results in poor attendance as fans cannot get to Santa Clara at 5PM on a weeknight. He points out that the two times the Pac-12 CG has been on a Saturday, the ratings have been worse than half of the Friday games.

Off to the Coliseum... still mad the Giants are starting Geno Smith over Davis Webb the last time I’ll see the Raiders play the G-Men... but maybe he’ll come in late??? Go Bears.