Ben Braun article in the Daily Cal

SFCityBear
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OaktownBear said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.
With all due respect, Braun's 2008 team had some good talent but it was a badly flawed team. It was very strong up front with Hardin, Anderson, Boykin, Kamp, and Jordan Wilkes. But the team had only two fairly good guards in Christopher and Randle, and Randle was very mistake-prone during his first two seasons. He did not come into his own until Montgomery arrived and gave him ways to play that enabled him to become a great player for Cal. The 2008 team had no small forward, because the player who would have started at small forward, Theo Robertson, was hurt and missed the entire 2008 season. So Braun had only one option, to play Patrick Christopher at the small forward, and that forced Braun to have to start a lesser player at Christopher's guard spot. The team played 33 games, and Verneisel started 19 games, and Knesevic started 16 games. The team was thin at small forward, with only Theo, and thin at guard with only Randle and Christopher as players good enough to start. This team would have been much better if Theo had not gotten hurt, but it was not Braun's best team ever assembled, due to he had not been able to land better players to back up the small forward and both guard positions. It was a combination of Theo's injury and the lopsided recruiting leaning toward bigs and likely missing on guards and small forwards that sunk the 2008 team.

If you didn't like starting Verneisel or Knesevic, who would you have started at guard, Nican Robinson? David Liss? Eddie Miller? Patrick Armstrong? Those were Braun's choices when Theo got hurt. Braun's mistake was in not planning for injury to his guards and small forwards, or failing to recruit good backups at those positions.








1. Randle's issues could have been (and were the next season) fixed by a little bit of the right coaching.

2. Agree that they would have been much better with Theo, but you have to put your best 5 on the floor. Seriously, Vierniesel and Knezevic should never have taken 1 minute away from Hardin, Kamp, Boykin, Anderson. Along with Randle and Christopher, those are 6 guys that are PAC-10 quality STARTERS. Wilkes gives you a PAC-10 quality sub. Those are your 7. Knezevic plays 5 minutes to give Randle a rest. Vierniesel plays 5 minutes to give PC a rest. Anderson plays the 3 on offense. Maybe Boykin plays it on defense, but I'd keep Anderson there. You rebound like hell. You have 3 good outside shooters. You have a problem with defending quick guys at the 3, so you scheme around it as much as you can. Cuz guess what? With PC at the 3, you have a problem guarding size, and vierniesel is probably less agile than Anderson anyway. A lineup of Randle, PC, Anderson, Boykin, Hardin will beat Randle, Vierniesel, PC, Anderson, Hardin every time.

No way a team with those 6 guys should only win 6 conference games.
I would disagree with this.

1. Randle's problems were not all easily fixed by Montgomery in 2009. He still made mistakes, like that play where he would try and split a double-team by tossing the ball ahead of himself, between the two defenders, and then try and use his quickness to catch up to the ball before the defenders could steal it. Did it way too many times, and lost the ball every time he tried it, and he never stopped trying it for 3 years. Drove me nuts. I've never seen another player try that, and I hope I never will. Finally, in 2010, he stopped doing it, and Cal won the conference title.

2. I think you and calumnus are remembering how good or healthy the players were at in their best years, not necessarily how they were in 2008. Mixing the years. You may be thinking of Devon Hardin as still being at his best in 2008, and he wasn't the same after his injury the season before. He could play only 24 minutes in 2008, so he and Boykin basically split the center position minutes, with Boykin getting 19 minutes. You may be thinking of Boykin the senior as well. He was not as good as that in 2008 as a sophomore playing only 19 minutes. Boykin also missed 8 games that season. If he was playing injured some of the time, that might have affected Braun's thinking about who could play as well. I also think you are mixing years thinking of Harper Kamp the junior or senior. In 2008, Harper was a freshman and not very good yet, barely PAC10 level, if that. He made mistakes, lost balls and just did not look good. I don't remember when he got injured, or whether he was already playing a little injured in 2008. And I never thought Jordan Wilkes was a PAC10 level player. He was basically 2 points, a rebound, and out of the game. When Montgomery arrived, he gave him more minutes, but Jordan's production was about the same on a per-minute basis.

I understand your argument, and it would be a good one if for example all of those bigs were at their best health and most experienced level in 2008, but they clearly were not. I think it is not a realistic theory, IMO





SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison
Um

Circus King was Todd Bozeman's last recruit, a transfer from San Diego State, came to Cal, sat out the 1997 season, and began playing for Ben Braun in the following season.

Nick Vanderlaan averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds at a freshman at Cal. That is a lot better than freshmen Kingsley Okoroh (2 pts, 2 rebs), Kam Rooks (1 pt, 2 rebs), Richard Solomon (6 pts, 4 rebs), or Solomon Hughes (3 pts, 2 rebs). Then there was Darrall Imhoff (ineligible as a freshman) who averaged 1 point and 1 rebound as a sophomore, and we all know what he became at Cal. Wyking Jones would probably love to have a center as good as Nick Vanderlaan show up as a Cal recruit.

David Paris may have been a miss, but he was a top 100 recruit, and turned down offers from Ohio State and Michigan to come to Cal.

Jordi Geli a Wyking level recruit? What is this, you aren't satisfied with bashing Ben Braun, but now you want to bash Wyking as well in the same thread. You didn't like 4* Darius McNeill? Or 4*Justice Sueing? WJ had bad misses on Winston and McCullogh, but the jury is still out on Anticevich. It was one helluva a better first time ever recruiting class for a Cal coach than say the all-star recruiter Cuonzo Martin had in his first season at Cal. Okoroh and Chauca? Give me a break. And you don't like 4* Jacobi Gordon, or 4* Matt Bradley, and 3* Andre Kelly and 3* Conor Vanover? Did you just get up on the wrong side of the bed? Go ahead, tell us what Cal coach was a good recruiter for you, or if you don't have one, tell us who is your dream recruiter who you want for Cal coach? Yanni Hufnagel? Since there is a vast difference between McNeill and Sueing vs Winston and McCullogh, I'd like to hear what your definition is of a "Wyking level recruit." I can hardly wait.

Taylor Harrison was ranked #89 in the country, and was a tough hard-nosed player, until his career was cut short by injury. Wyking and many of us would love to have someone like him at Cal right now.

And if you are going to use players like King who Braun never recruited and and injured players like Harrison to accuse Braun of being a B- recruiter, then you ought to add Braun's recruit, Sam Rayburn, #2 ranked player in Oregon in 2004, to the list as well. He got injured and his career ended before he could play one minute for Cal.

He are some recruiting positives for Braun:

Leon Powe, ranked #9 in the nation, injured, missed a year at Cal, 5 year NBA career
Jamal Sampson, #23 in the nation, 5 year NBA career
Ayinde Ubaka, #35, nice career at Cal
Patrick Christopher, #38, nice career at Cal, a PAC10 title, short time in the NBA
Brian Wethers, #50, nice career at Cal, G-League
Omar Wilkes, #55, good career at Cal
Jamal Boykin, #60, good Cal career, one PAC10 title
Jerome Randle, #85, excellent player for Cal, a PAC10 title, 3 year G-League career, still playing
Devon Hardin, #86, decent Cal career, injured much of one season
Marquise Kately, #89, decent Cal career
Taylor Harrison, #89, averaged 7 minutes as a frosh, injury ended his career.
Dennis Gates, #92
Richard Midgley, #93, had a fine career at Cal
Joe Shipp, #7 Small Forward, fine career at Cal
Ryan Anderson, unranked, fine player for Cal, 10 year NBA career
Dominic McGuire, unranked, decent player for Cal, 6 year NBA career
Francisco Elson, unranked, decent Cal player, 9 year NBA career
Amit Tamir, foreign recruit, unranked, had fine career at Cal
Rod Benson, #3 ranked center recruit on West Coast, good Cal career, D-league All-Star, still playing
Sean Lampley, #15 small forward in nation, great Cal career, 2 year NBA career
Geno Carlisle, unranked, decent career at Cal, one year in NBA
Ryan Forehan-Kelly, unranked, good career at Cal, 2 year G-league, still playing
Theo Robertson, unranked, good Cal career, a PAC10 title. Led nation in 3pt% for much of one season.
Harper Kamp, unranked, missed a year with injury, but good last 2 years at Cal,
Omondi Amoke, 3* recruit, decent player at Cal, kicked off team, one PAC10 title
Thomas Kilgore, unranked, decent player for Cal
Mike Gill, unranked, good player for Cal
Carl Boyd, unranked, decent player for Cal
Solomon Hughes, unranked, decent player for Cal
Shantay Legans, unranked, decent player for Cal
Martin Smith, unranked, decent player for Cal
Tashaan Forehan-Kelly, unranked, not very good at Cal, but transferred to Pepperdine, where he averaged 16 points per game

The hits far outweigh the misses, IMO.

I think Braun may have had a hand in the early recruiting of Max Zhang and DJ Seely. Seely was a flop, and Max was not very good but he did get crowds somewhat excited. Another player who was not so good, but entertained us was A.J. Diggs, who could steal a ball from just about anyone, any time he wanted to, or so it seemed.

Finally, I think credit should be given to Ben Braun: He was hired to take over a program at its lowest point, a program that was in the toilet, going on probation over bribes made by Todd Bozeman, clean the program up, make it squeaky clean, and bring us back to respectability. He did that. As for recruiting, can you imagine trying to recruit when your team has just been banned from the NCAA tournament for a year, and the NCAA took 2 scholarships away from your team for each of the following two years? So three tough recruiting years to start with for Ben Braun, and he did well to land the players he did, IMO.












I think Braun was a very good scout, especially for overlooked talent. I liked the players he brought to Cal.

And a correction, it was not Bozeman who "bribed" players, it was an agent (Jelani Gardner's uncle). The same one Bozeman turned in for illegal benefits (loaned Tremaine Folwkes a car or money for a car).
I didn't know that. I thought the actual cash for the deal came from Bozeman.
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

OaktownBear said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.
With all due respect, Braun's 2008 team had some good talent but it was a badly flawed team. It was very strong up front with Hardin, Anderson, Boykin, Kamp, and Jordan Wilkes. But the team had only two fairly good guards in Christopher and Randle, and Randle was very mistake-prone during his first two seasons. He did not come into his own until Montgomery arrived and gave him ways to play that enabled him to become a great player for Cal. The 2008 team had no small forward, because the player who would have started at small forward, Theo Robertson, was hurt and missed the entire 2008 season. So Braun had only one option, to play Patrick Christopher at the small forward, and that forced Braun to have to start a lesser player at Christopher's guard spot. The team played 33 games, and Verneisel started 19 games, and Knesevic started 16 games. The team was thin at small forward, with only Theo, and thin at guard with only Randle and Christopher as players good enough to start. This team would have been much better if Theo had not gotten hurt, but it was not Braun's best team ever assembled, due to he had not been able to land better players to back up the small forward and both guard positions. It was a combination of Theo's injury and the lopsided recruiting leaning toward bigs and likely missing on guards and small forwards that sunk the 2008 team.

If you didn't like starting Verneisel or Knesevic, who would you have started at guard, Nican Robinson? David Liss? Eddie Miller? Patrick Armstrong? Those were Braun's choices when Theo got hurt. Braun's mistake was in not planning for injury to his guards and small forwards, or failing to recruit good backups at those positions.








1. Randle's issues could have been (and were the next season) fixed by a little bit of the right coaching.

2. Agree that they would have been much better with Theo, but you have to put your best 5 on the floor. Seriously, Vierniesel and Knezevic should never have taken 1 minute away from Hardin, Kamp, Boykin, Anderson. Along with Randle and Christopher, those are 6 guys that are PAC-10 quality STARTERS. Wilkes gives you a PAC-10 quality sub. Those are your 7. Knezevic plays 5 minutes to give Randle a rest. Vierniesel plays 5 minutes to give PC a rest. Anderson plays the 3 on offense. Maybe Boykin plays it on defense, but I'd keep Anderson there. You rebound like hell. You have 3 good outside shooters. You have a problem with defending quick guys at the 3, so you scheme around it as much as you can. Cuz guess what? With PC at the 3, you have a problem guarding size, and vierniesel is probably less agile than Anderson anyway. A lineup of Randle, PC, Anderson, Boykin, Hardin will beat Randle, Vierniesel, PC, Anderson, Hardin every time.

No way a team with those 6 guys should only win 6 conference games.


Exactly! Braun was worried about trying to match up, instead go big play your best players and let other coaches have nightmares trying to match up with YOU.

And one other point to SFCity, Braun had been at Cal for a decade, he recruited that roster.
I agree with you on Braun having been there long enough to recruit a roster with no holes. But it is a hard thing to do for any coach, to recruit to fill specific needs. You often only have a few scholarships to offer in any given year, and maybe that year the crop of good recruits for that one position you need is not a good crop or a small crop, particularly point guard or center. And maybe you miss on a recruit you had, and you end up having to take the best athlete available, even if you are already stocked at that position.
calumnus
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SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

OaktownBear said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.
With all due respect, Braun's 2008 team had some good talent but it was a badly flawed team. It was very strong up front with Hardin, Anderson, Boykin, Kamp, and Jordan Wilkes. But the team had only two fairly good guards in Christopher and Randle, and Randle was very mistake-prone during his first two seasons. He did not come into his own until Montgomery arrived and gave him ways to play that enabled him to become a great player for Cal. The 2008 team had no small forward, because the player who would have started at small forward, Theo Robertson, was hurt and missed the entire 2008 season. So Braun had only one option, to play Patrick Christopher at the small forward, and that forced Braun to have to start a lesser player at Christopher's guard spot. The team played 33 games, and Verneisel started 19 games, and Knesevic started 16 games. The team was thin at small forward, with only Theo, and thin at guard with only Randle and Christopher as players good enough to start. This team would have been much better if Theo had not gotten hurt, but it was not Braun's best team ever assembled, due to he had not been able to land better players to back up the small forward and both guard positions. It was a combination of Theo's injury and the lopsided recruiting leaning toward bigs and likely missing on guards and small forwards that sunk the 2008 team.

If you didn't like starting Verneisel or Knesevic, who would you have started at guard, Nican Robinson? David Liss? Eddie Miller? Patrick Armstrong? Those were Braun's choices when Theo got hurt. Braun's mistake was in not planning for injury to his guards and small forwards, or failing to recruit good backups at those positions.








1. Randle's issues could have been (and were the next season) fixed by a little bit of the right coaching.

2. Agree that they would have been much better with Theo, but you have to put your best 5 on the floor. Seriously, Vierniesel and Knezevic should never have taken 1 minute away from Hardin, Kamp, Boykin, Anderson. Along with Randle and Christopher, those are 6 guys that are PAC-10 quality STARTERS. Wilkes gives you a PAC-10 quality sub. Those are your 7. Knezevic plays 5 minutes to give Randle a rest. Vierniesel plays 5 minutes to give PC a rest. Anderson plays the 3 on offense. Maybe Boykin plays it on defense, but I'd keep Anderson there. You rebound like hell. You have 3 good outside shooters. You have a problem with defending quick guys at the 3, so you scheme around it as much as you can. Cuz guess what? With PC at the 3, you have a problem guarding size, and vierniesel is probably less agile than Anderson anyway. A lineup of Randle, PC, Anderson, Boykin, Hardin will beat Randle, Vierniesel, PC, Anderson, Hardin every time.

No way a team with those 6 guys should only win 6 conference games.


Exactly! Braun was worried about trying to match up, instead go big play your best players and let other coaches have nightmares trying to match up with YOU.

And one other point to SFCity, Braun had been at Cal for a decade, he recruited that roster.
I agree with you on Braun having been there long enough to recruit a roster with no holes. But it is a hard thing to do for any coach, to recruit to fill specific needs. You often only have a few scholarships to offer in any given year, and maybe that year the crop of good recruits for that one position you need is not a good crop or a small crop, particularly point guard or center. And maybe you miss on a recruit you had, and you end up having to take the best athlete available, even if you are already stocked at that position.


In college basketball, your roster is constantly changing: Injuries, ineligible players, transfers, early departure, and just the uncertainties of player evaluation for high school kids that are still growing and developing their games. Even if you have a preferred style of play, and try to recruit to that, you end up with what you end up. The coach needs to be flexible with his strategies, sometimes even year to year, to emphasize his team's strengths and hide their weaknesses. Braun recruited a team full of talented big men: Anderson, Hardin, Wilkes, Boykin, and Kamp. After losing his two best small forwards, he needed to just go big, playing three of the above. Let Anderson play outside on offense. Play Randle and protect those guys on defense by playing zone. We would be a tough match-up and I am certain we do not finish in second to last place as we did by going small mostly playing Randle, Knezevich, Vierniesal, Boykin, Anderson.
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

OaktownBear said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.
With all due respect, Braun's 2008 team had some good talent but it was a badly flawed team. It was very strong up front with Hardin, Anderson, Boykin, Kamp, and Jordan Wilkes. But the team had only two fairly good guards in Christopher and Randle, and Randle was very mistake-prone during his first two seasons. He did not come into his own until Montgomery arrived and gave him ways to play that enabled him to become a great player for Cal. The 2008 team had no small forward, because the player who would have started at small forward, Theo Robertson, was hurt and missed the entire 2008 season. So Braun had only one option, to play Patrick Christopher at the small forward, and that forced Braun to have to start a lesser player at Christopher's guard spot. The team played 33 games, and Verneisel started 19 games, and Knesevic started 16 games. The team was thin at small forward, with only Theo, and thin at guard with only Randle and Christopher as players good enough to start. This team would have been much better if Theo had not gotten hurt, but it was not Braun's best team ever assembled, due to he had not been able to land better players to back up the small forward and both guard positions. It was a combination of Theo's injury and the lopsided recruiting leaning toward bigs and likely missing on guards and small forwards that sunk the 2008 team.

If you didn't like starting Verneisel or Knesevic, who would you have started at guard, Nican Robinson? David Liss? Eddie Miller? Patrick Armstrong? Those were Braun's choices when Theo got hurt. Braun's mistake was in not planning for injury to his guards and small forwards, or failing to recruit good backups at those positions.








1. Randle's issues could have been (and were the next season) fixed by a little bit of the right coaching.

2. Agree that they would have been much better with Theo, but you have to put your best 5 on the floor. Seriously, Vierniesel and Knezevic should never have taken 1 minute away from Hardin, Kamp, Boykin, Anderson. Along with Randle and Christopher, those are 6 guys that are PAC-10 quality STARTERS. Wilkes gives you a PAC-10 quality sub. Those are your 7. Knezevic plays 5 minutes to give Randle a rest. Vierniesel plays 5 minutes to give PC a rest. Anderson plays the 3 on offense. Maybe Boykin plays it on defense, but I'd keep Anderson there. You rebound like hell. You have 3 good outside shooters. You have a problem with defending quick guys at the 3, so you scheme around it as much as you can. Cuz guess what? With PC at the 3, you have a problem guarding size, and vierniesel is probably less agile than Anderson anyway. A lineup of Randle, PC, Anderson, Boykin, Hardin will beat Randle, Vierniesel, PC, Anderson, Hardin every time.

No way a team with those 6 guys should only win 6 conference games.


Exactly! Braun was worried about trying to match up, instead go big play your best players and let other coaches have nightmares trying to match up with YOU.

And one other point to SFCity, Braun had been at Cal for a decade, he recruited that roster.
I agree with you on Braun having been there long enough to recruit a roster with no holes. But it is a hard thing to do for any coach, to recruit to fill specific needs. You often only have a few scholarships to offer in any given year, and maybe that year the crop of good recruits for that one position you need is not a good crop or a small crop, particularly point guard or center. And maybe you miss on a recruit you had, and you end up having to take the best athlete available, even if you are already stocked at that position.


In college basketball, your roster is constantly changing: Injuries, ineligible players, transfers, early departure, and just the uncertainties of player evaluation for high school kids that are still growing and developing their games. Even if you have a preferred style of play, and try to recruit to that, you end up with what you end up. The coach needs to be flexible with his strategies, sometimes even year to year, to emphasize his team's strengths and hide their weaknesses. Braun recruited a team full of talented big men: Anderson, Hardin, Wilkes, Boykin, and Kamp. After losing his two best small forwards, he needed to just go big, playing three of the above. Let Anderson play outside on offense. Play Randle and protect those guys on defense by playing zone. We would be a tough match-up and I am certain we do not finish in second to last place as we did by going small mostly playing Randle, Knezevich, Vierniesal, Boykin, Anderson.
I don't like to argue this point because I have respect for all that you write. I agree that Braun was not a good coach. I never liked much of anything he did, except for recruiting and not cheating, and never understood the rest of what he did. With all due respect, here is how I see this:

1. Take a hard look at the personnel. If you did that, I think you would see a flawed team. The names are there, Kamp, Boykin, Wilkes, Anderson, Hardin, Randle, and Christopher, as you said. But only Anderson, Hardin, and Christopher were players who had a track record of very good production. Anderson was at the peak of his Cal career. Christopher was a soph, and he played at the same level that he would play as a junior or a senior.

Hardin was playing the best he had played at Cal, but he was playing injured, and he missed 7 starts and 3 games, and could only play 24 minutes a game when he did play. Sophomore Boykin filled in admirably for Hardin and essentially backed him up, but Boykin was not yet the very good player he would become the following two years under Montgomery, where his rebounds and shooting percentages went up and his turnovers and personal fouls went down.

2. Which brings us to the third position you want filled with a big. Harper Kamp seems to be the main choice. He was adequate offensively and rebounding, perhaps, but had no experience. He committed an inordinate number of personal fouls (6.7 per 40 minutes), and was constantly in foul trouble. I don't remember if he was playing injured that season or not, but he could not keep himself on the floor. He did not play defense well at all. After Harper took a year off to rehab from surgery, it took Montgomery two years to get Harper to improve defensively, and Harper became a much better all-around player under Montgomery, also greatly improving his scoring and shooting percentages. Whether it was injury or inexperience, I just don't feel he was ready to give his team much more than he did in 2008. Jordan Wilkes was another player who did not play defense well, and did not play inside well, IMO. He liked to shoot jump shots and shoot threes, as I remember him. Under Montgomery the following year, his rebounds went up, and his turnovers and personal fouls went down, per 40 minutes, (He averaged 5 personals per 40 minutes). I had high hopes for him to continue to improve, but he decided to quit the team for his senior year. But in 2008, he really did not look like he could contribute at a PAC10 level. Sophomore Randle was not yet a good player. His scoring, his shooting percentages, and his assists would all improve greatly when Montgomery arrived for the following seasons. I don't know if the post-2008 season improvement for these players was due to Montgomery, or to dedicating themselves to individual improvement, or having recovered from injuries, or a combination. BTW, Knesevic also improved a lot in scoring and shooting percentages under Montgomery.

3. I think Braun felt that he needed some more playmaking in the offense, which may be the reason why he chose to play Niki and Verneisel, and have them split time at the two guard. Each of them averaged 4 assists on a per 40 minute basis, so that would mean 4 assists as opposed to the 2 assists that Christopher averaged over 4 years at Cal. Braun could still have tried to play Kamp and Wilkes at a forward position, but it is very possible that one or both could foul out.

4. The records show Anderson started all 33 games, and that Hardin started 26 games. Boykin started 11. That means that Boykin started at least 4 games at a position other than at center, which in turn means that Braun did indeed "go big" for at least those 4 games. How long the three played together on the floor, I don't know, but perhaps they did not play well together, and Braun scrapped the idea. That was another thing I didn't like about his coaching: He had a quick hook, and often couldn't get past the first minute or two of a game without substituting.

I think your theory or prediction would be fine if Braun had a healthy Devon Hardin who could go 32 minutes, and he had the 2011 or 2012 Harper Kamp, the 2009 Wilkes, and the 2009 or 2010 Randle all healthy and all on the 2008 roster. They might have challenged for the PAC10 title, if they also had a healthy Theo Robertson.







calumnus
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OaktownBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.


He did not almost get Lebron James. James once on a show with Leon Powe said maybe he'd go to school with him as a joke and to give props to Powe. He was never ever ever coming here.

Listing misses isn't really the point. It's the lineup you put out that counts. I thought he was an average recruiter. He was pretty good at identifying talent. Not so good at landing it.


If the NBA was one and done at that time, he was most likely going to Cal:
LeBron's high school coach was Braun's lead assistant at Eastern Michigan. Braun knew him since the 9th grade.
http://blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/2007/12/the_franchise_chapter_4.html
Despite living in Ohio, LeBron played AAU with the Oakland Soldiers, living in Berkeley during the summers, playing pickup at the RSF and eating food on Telegraph. In interviews he raced about how much he loved Oakland and Berkeley. He and Leon Powe talked about playing together in college. He is someone who values education and Cal was his "dream school." The key Soldiers that year all ended up at Cal. LeBron of course went to the NBA, but if the rule were different that year, Braun had done a masterful job of recruiting him. Nowitski too, who tried to pull his name out of the draft to attend Cal (only to be blocked by the NCAA). Of course, "almost having LeBron and Nowitski" does not win games, but it did color my view of him as being a good recruiter (with maybe some bad luck).
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

OaktownBear said:

calumnus said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:


BB- everything. Recruiting vastly overrated.

Not bad on TV though.
Just curious: Why do you say B+ recruiter? How would you rate Cuonzo Martin's recruiting?
I meant to ask YogiBear why he felt Ben Braun was a B- recruiter, not B+

Circus King
Donte Smith (Section 7 BELIEVES in you)
Nick Vanderlaan
Gabe Hughes
Salius Kuzminskas
Erik Bond
David Paris
Jordi Geli (worst on this list - a Wyking level recruit)
Eric Vierneisel
Kevin Langford
Nikola Knezevic
Jordan Wilkes
Taylor Harrison


He had a lot of recruiting wiffs. He seemed like a good recruiter because he ALMOST landed Dirk Nowitski and LeBron James. End of the day, it is the guys you get. The guys you listed would not be so bad as bench players, but starting Vierneisal and Knezevich on a team that has Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin, Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle did not make sense. He was a worse coach than a recruiter, whatever grade you give him.


He did not almost get Lebron James. James once on a show with Leon Powe said maybe he'd go to school with him as a joke and to give props to Powe. He was never ever ever coming here.

Listing misses isn't really the point. It's the lineup you put out that counts. I thought he was an average recruiter. He was pretty good at identifying talent. Not so good at landing it.


If the NBA was one and done at that time, he was most likely going to Cal:
LeBron's high school coach was Braun's lead assistant at Eastern Michigan. Braun knew him since the 9th grade.
http://blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/2007/12/the_franchise_chapter_4.html
Despite living in Ohio, LeBron played AAU with the Oakland Soldiers, living in Berkeley during the summers, playing pickup at the RSF and eating food on Telegraph. In interviews he raced about how much he loved Oakland and Berkeley. He and Leon Powe talked about playing together in college. He is someone who values education and Cal was his "dream school." The key Soldiers that year all ended up at Cal. LeBron of course went to the NBA, but if the rule were different that year, Braun had done a masterful job of recruiting him. Nowitski too, who tried to pull his name out of the draft to attend Cal (only to be blocked by the NCAA). Of course, "almost having LeBron and Nowitski" does not win games, but it did color my view of him as being a good recruiter (with maybe some bad luck).
Thanks, Calumnus. Interesting history. Cal coaches and players are often more than what meets the eye, which is a reason I like to read many of the posts on the Bear Insider. It's educational.
Cal88
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Didn't realize how bad Braun's record was in his last gig, at Rice:

Season
Team
Overall
Conference
Standing


2008 09
Rice
10-22
4-12
T10th

2009 10
Rice
8-23
1-15
12th

2010 11
Rice
14-18
5-11
10th

2011 12
Rice
17-15
8-8
7th

2012 13
Rice
5-26
1-15
12th

2013 14
Rice
7-23
2-14
16th

Overall at Rice:
63-128 (.330)
21-75 (.219)


He was just 3-29 his last two seasons in conference play. You'd think he would have done better there, given the talent pool, his record at Rice was the worse of any Owls coach in the last 4 decades, so it's not a function of that school's limitations. From what I recall it was a pretty turbulent tenure, with mass transfers and allegations of discrimination.
calumnus
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Cal88 said:

Didn't realize how bad Braun's record was in his last gig, at Rice:

Season
Team
Overall
Conference
Standing


2008 09
Rice
10-22
4-12
T10th

2009 10
Rice
8-23
1-15
12th

2010 11
Rice
14-18
5-11
10th

2011 12
Rice
17-15
8-8
7th

2012 13
Rice
5-26
1-15
12th

2013 14
Rice
7-23
2-14
16th

Overall at Rice:
63-128 (.330)
21-75 (.219)


He was just 3-29 his last two seasons in conference play. You'd think he would have done better there, given the talent pool, his record at Rice was the worse of any Owls coach in the last 4 decades, so it's not a function of that school's limitations. From what I recall it was a pretty turbulent tenure, with mass transfers and allegations of discrimination.


Ouch. Leads one to conclude he is not a very good coach. His meager success at Cal was mostly due to scouting and recruiting, which he devoted a lot of time and energy to while he was still single. Plus, Cal really is in a great location and best able to pull the top local talent and compete nationwide. Rice? Not so much.
HoopDreams
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Don't know what happened to his Rice teams, but he still was good at finding the under the radar overseas talent

At Cal the best example was Tamir

At Rice he signed several very talented overseas players, including the transfer that went to Oregon

His other top Rice players also transferred out

BearSD
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Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself. The assistant was let go and then proceeded to help the players he had recruited to transfer to other schools, leaving Braun with a bare cupboard.

Even worse, the athletic director allegedly made racially-charged remarks about some of the basketball players, who made those allegations in their petitions, which the NCAA granted, to allow them to play immediately after transferring.
Yogi Bear
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BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
SFCityBear
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Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
BearSD
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SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
Todd Bozeman was credited with recruiting Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, among others, to Cal. Lou Campanelli was fired by our idiot AD Bockrath, who named Bozeman head coach to replace Campanelli.
SFCityBear
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BearSD said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
Todd Bozeman was credited with recruiting Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, among others, to Cal. Lou Campanelli was fired by our idiot AD Bockrath, who named Bozeman head coach to replace Campanelli.
Thanks. I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought Yogi had some info about a Braun assistant who was a good recruiter and tried to undermine Braun and get his job, and I couldn't think of one.
bearister
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SFCityBear said:

..... I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought .....


Like a Coltrane sax solo, can you ever be sure what a thread on BI is about or where it is going next or will end up?

..and on that note, Bozeman's Cal legacy:
1. He paid $30,000 for a PG that was incapable of dribbling a basketball lower than chin level; and

2. After every game his post game analysis consisted solely of:
"It's a simple game. Two baskets and a ball."

Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside
Yogi Bear
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SFCityBear said:

BearSD said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
Todd Bozeman was credited with recruiting Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, among others, to Cal. Lou Campanelli was fired by our idiot AD Bockrath, who named Bozeman head coach to replace Campanelli.
Thanks. I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought Yogi had some info about a Braun assistant who was a good recruiter and tried to undermine Braun and get his job, and I couldn't think of one.
There was a rumor about that very thing that circulated years back, which I thought was BS.
SFCityBear
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Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

BearSD said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
Todd Bozeman was credited with recruiting Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, among others, to Cal. Lou Campanelli was fired by our idiot AD Bockrath, who named Bozeman head coach to replace Campanelli.
Thanks. I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought Yogi had some info about a Braun assistant who was a good recruiter and tried to undermine Braun and get his job, and I couldn't think of one.
There was a rumor about that very thing that circulated years back, which I thought was BS.
Thanks, Yogi. I thought you might have been thinking of Pasternak. There has been some criticism of him on the BI, but I didn't remember him doing unethical stuff at Cal. He was at Cal when Braun landed some very good recruits - Powe, Ubaka, Kately, McGuire, Hardin, etc.
Yogi Bear
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SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

BearSD said:

SFCityBear said:

Yogi Bear said:

BearSD said:

Braun had an assistant coach at Rice who landed most of those good players. That didn't turn out well, to say the least. That same assistant supposedly attempted a coup to grab the head coaching job for himself.
Why does that story sound so familiar?
?
Todd Bozeman was credited with recruiting Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, among others, to Cal. Lou Campanelli was fired by our idiot AD Bockrath, who named Bozeman head coach to replace Campanelli.
Thanks. I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought Yogi had some info about a Braun assistant who was a good recruiter and tried to undermine Braun and get his job, and I couldn't think of one.
There was a rumor about that very thing that circulated years back, which I thought was BS.
Thanks, Yogi. I thought you might have been thinking of Pasternak. There has been some criticism of him on the BI, but I didn't remember him doing unethical stuff at Cal. He was at Cal when Braun landed some very good recruits - Powe, Ubaka, Kately, McGuire, Hardin, etc.
Nah, Pasternack was fine. I don't want to give the story any credence so I'm not going to talk about who it was about. I just found it interesting that the same thing purportedly happened twice.
Big C
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bearister said:

SFCityBear said:

..... I knew of Campanelli and Bozeman, but this is a thread about Ben Braun, so I thought .....


Like a Coltrane sax solo, can you ever be sure what a thread on BI is about or where it is going next or will end up?

..and on that note, Bozeman's Cal legacy:
1. He paid $30,000 for a PG that was incapable of dribbling a basketball lower than chin level; and

2. After every game his post game analysis consisted solely of:
"It's a simple game. Two baskets and a ball."


Funny, because I heard Bozeman say two different things, post-game:

"My guys played hard." (after victories) Or...

"My guys didn't play hard." (after defeats)

I kept wondering when the team would play smart (pardon my grammar, especially there). Somewhat ironically (given the Braun criticisms here), they started playing intelligently when Bozeman left and Braun arrived.
ncbears
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calumnus said:



Exactly! Braun was worried about trying to match up, instead go big play your best players and let other coaches have nightmares trying to match up with YOU.

Hmm. I seem recall people complaining about Braun playing Lampley ball and Powe ball where the offense was get the ball down low to your best player and make the other team match up. But, my memory could be faulty....
Civil Bear
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ncbears said:

calumnus said:



Exactly! Braun was worried about trying to match up, instead go big play your best players and let other coaches have nightmares trying to match up with YOU.

Hmm. I seem recall people complaining about Braun playing Lampley ball and Powe ball where the offense was get the ball down low to your best player and make the other team match up. But, my memory could be faulty....


Yup, Braun's offensive philosophy was to get his best players in the best positions to score, and it looked quite different depending on who those players were. Compare the Lamply/Powe years v. the Shipp/Grey/Carlisle years.
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