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Brandon Chauca tells his story (Updated: Statement from Cal Athletics)

A former member of the Cal basketball team opens up with a behind-the-scenes tell-all.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Spokane Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Update: We reached out to the Cal Athletics Department for a comment and below is their statement.

Brandon Chauca was dismissed from the Cal men’s basketball program in June 2017 for a violation of team and university policies. However, he has continued to retain his scholarship and remains on aid through the completion of his Cal degree.

We did not initially disclose the reason for Brandon leaving the team in order to protect his privacy. The reasons for the dismissal were clearly communicated to him.

Original: It’s been a tumultuous year for California Golden Bears’ men’s basketball team. Following the departure of Cuonzo Martin to Missouri and the decision to replace him with Wyking Jones, the program has gone through massive personnel change.

Much of that personnel change was going to happen anyway. Ivan Rabb leaving for the NBA. Five seniors who were out of eligibility. But over the last year, there have been a variety of program departures that were more head scratching, more concerning. Still, without hearing about the particulars it would be tough for Cal fans to pass judgment one way or another.

Well, one of the players that departed Cal’s program has decided to speak up. You should go read the entire thing right now, but a few key excerpts:

I call him thinking it would be a normal conversation. I begin telling him how my body is improving and I’m excited to get back to work, he stops me. “For the betterment of this program, I am removing you from the team.”

My heart fell to my stomach.

I was told that if I try to fight it, my scholarship could be revoked so it was in my best interest to keep quiet and go with the narrative of a “mutual agreement to part ways”. So for the next several months I went through some troubling times. There were some dark days. I rarely spoke to anyone, and if I did I would try to mask my pain. I stayed in my room for days at a time, at one point only leaving for food or the bathroom. It was embarrassing. I went to a doctor in Oakland and was diagnosed with depression and they gave me medication for it. Nothing really helped though. I felt lost and hopeless. I felt alone. I hated basketball. I hated myself. All this negative energy was building up, and I felt like I couldn’t push anymore.

Deschon Winston and Austin Mccullough were cut from the team because they weren’t good enough in the eyes of Wyking Jones, the man that offered both of them full athletic scholarships to play at Cal. From a source close to the team, a conversation ensued about Deschon and Austin’s reluctance to leave Berkeley, where Jones laughingly said, “Man, I can’t get them to leave! I might pull a Brandon Chauca on they asses!”

Brandon Chauca will graduate from Cal this weekend, and while his Cal basketball story didn’t end the way he or Cal fans would have liked, his Cal story and his life story have just begun. Go Bears!