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Golden Nuggets: Justin Wilcox’s Focus On The Future

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Cal Football

Women’s Water Polo

#4 Bears Win Two In First Day in Palo Alto

STANFORD – Junior Anna Illes scored five goals to help the No. 4 Cal women's water polo team to a pair of victories Saturday on the first day of the Stanford Invitational.

Illes and reigning MPSF Freshman of the Week Emma Wright each registered three goals in a 13-9 victory over No. 7 Michigan. Earlier in the day, Illes added two scores as the Bears (7-0) pounded No. 16 San Jose State 15-6.

Defending MPSF Player of the Week Dora Antal and junior Kindred Paul each had three goals in the win over the Spartans and finished with four for the day. Senior Emily Loughlin also had a hat trick against San Jose State. Wright scored a goal to help beat the Spartans.

Women’s Basketball

Football

Cal’s future will be framed in next 364 days

Justin Wilcox made several notable comments during his National Signing Day news conference Wednesday afternoon.

He talked about quarterback Chase Garber’s intangibles — about his “moxie.”

He talked about the disparate styles of Cal’s incoming tight ends. (That’s right, Cal signed tight ends!)

He talked about efforts to recruit the Bay Area and balance the roster and fill out his coaching staff.

But nothing made a greater impression on me than what Wilcox did not say — or, rather, what he did not do:

He did not use all his scholarships.

The Bears will have approximately 80 spots filled next season, according to Wilcox. Many teams are a few short of the max (85), but the flexibility gained by not topping out is vital for new head coaches.

Every scholarship, after all, is a four/five year commitment, and Wilcox didn’t have time to make a thorough evaluation of 1) Cal’s committed recruits or 2) the prospects with offers outstanding when he arrived.

Nor did Wilcox have time to dig into the Bears’ roster — to fully understand how the current personnel matches what he wants to accomplish in both physical skill and mental approach.

In short: He doesn’t have a great feel for what he’s getting, or what he has.

Wilcox has alluded to keeping scholarships in his pocket several times since his mid-January hiring, but he went a bit more in depth on Wednesday:

“We were very sensitive to the fact that didn’t want to reach on anybody. At time like this, whether it’s (hiring) coaches or (signing) recruits, you want to make sure you get the right people in the program. We’re not going to sacrifice the health of the program in the long term for something that can get done in the next two or three days.”

A few years from now, we could look back on this approach as something that changed the trajectory of the program.