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Cal Basketball

My Apologies, Mark Fox

March 24, 2020
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Let me start by saying, I was never a critic — publicly or privately — about Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton’s hiring of Mark Fox. The main reason? It was a luke-warm hire. And that’s not meant to be a critique of Knowlton or Fox. There just isn’t much else to feel for a coach that went to the NCAA Tournament twice in nine seasons at the University of Georgia and never won a game in said tournament. Fox had also been out of the job for a year when Cal came calling.

And for that lack of confidence or excitement, I officially apologize to Coach Fox.

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A 14-18 season is nothing to be excited about. But let’s also not forget where Cal had been — a combined 16-47 over the previous two seasons including 5-31 in the Pac-12. Even the most optimistic fans probably didn’t predict much of an improvement considering the hodge-podge roster Fox slung together after many transfers. But Fox has done exactly what you hope a veteran coach would do immediately to a program that hit rock-bottom — he raised the floor in his own way. 

I didn’t think Cal would win much more than eight to 10 games this year and definitely not seven wins in a Pac-12 conference filled with more athletic and talented rosters than Cal’s. And for that lack of confidence in Fox, I again apologize. Despite some heinous losses in conference play, Fox had his guys ready to go the next game. Even after getting swept by a combined 52 points in the state of Oregon, Cal came out in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament and planted an uppercut on Stanford’s dwindling NCAA Tournament hopes.

Yes, there are still massive improvements to make. Cal fans expect to be in the NCAA Tournament year-after-year. Yes, some of the questions surrounding Fox (like strong recruiting and offense) haven’t been answered. 

But after Year One of the Fox coaching regime, it’s clear his coaching philosophies have been instilled on the young roster. Let’s take a look at what the data tells us.

2019 Offense versus 2020 Offense

Offensive Category 2019 2020 Difference
Adj. Efficiency 103.5 (192) 101.5 (195) -2.0
Adj. Tempo 66.6 (234) 65.2 (315) -1.4
Avg. Poss. Length 18.6 (298) 19.4 (334) 0.8
Effective FG% 48.6% (272) 46.9% (295) -1.7%
Turnover % 16.4% (48) 19.2% (271) 2.80%
Off. Rebound % 23.3% (317) 25.1% (271) 1.80%
FTA/FGA 34.8 (126) 36.0 (83) 1.2
3P% 35.0% (140) 33.5% (161) -1.50%
2P% 46.5% (301) 45.5% (320) -1.00%
FT% 72.3% (120) 73.8% (85) 1.50%
Block % 8.7% (127) 9.6% (251) 0.90%
Steal % 7.2% (20) 7.4% (24) 0.20%
Non-Stl TO% 9.2% (132) 11.9% (322) 2.70%
3PA/FGA 34.1 (294) 28.4 (339) -5.7
A/FGM 45.7 (314) 41.5 (345) -4.2
3-Pointers (Pt. Dist.) 29.3% (250) 23.7% (318) -5.60%
2-Pointers (Pt. Dist.) 50.2% (145) 54.2% (71) 4.00%
Free-Throws (Pt. Dist.) 20.6% (79) 22.1% (37) 1.50%

First, the bad. Cal’s offense actually digressed slightly this year compared to last year, according to KenPom’s metrics. The adjusted offensive efficiency slipped two full points from 103.5 to 101.5, meaning in 100 possessions, Cal would score 101.5 points. For the third straight year, Cal had the least efficient offense in the Pac-12.

Cal slowed the pace — but not by much at just a little over a possession per game. It shot almost two percentage points worse in effective field goals and turned it over almost three percentage points more per game. The Bears did get to the free-throw line at a slightly higher rate and made a higher percentage of shots once it got there.

But the main issue was one that most fans could see — Cal’s only consistent scoring threat was sophomore wing Matt Bradley. Other players had their moments. Andre Kelly had a few solid games and overall progressed throughout the year. Paris Austin threw together a strong second-half to his senior campaign. Kareem South was good early in the season. And Grant Anticevich had some solid games.

None of them were consistent enough, however, for opponents to take focus away from Bradley. To take a step forward next season, Fox needs to either find an impact scorer in the transfer market or a couple of players on the current roster are going to have to take some steps forward. It could happen. Anticevich isn’t the quickest or most athletic, but he can knock down shots. Kelly could continue to improve. A healthy Kuany Kuany could also help.

The other glaring hole that should be addressed is who backs up Joel Brown at the lead guard position. Fox offered junior college transfer Malik Zachery last week. That could be an option. But it’s something to monitor once recruiting picks back up (assuming it does) after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

UGA Offensive Averages versus 2020 Cal Offensive Averages

Year AdjT AdjO eFG% TO% OR% FTR 2P% 3P% FT% 3PA% A% APL
2020 Cal Avg. 65.2 101.5 46.90% 19.20% 25.10% 36.0 45.50% 33.50% 73.80% 28.40% 41.50% 19.4
UGA Average 64.0 107.5 48.09% 19.90% 32.94% 41.8 46.71% 34.13% 70.40% 30.34% 53.32% 18.9

The good news is, Cal's offense should improve as a system. In his nine seasons at Georgia, Fox teams averaged an adjusted offensive efficiency of 107.5. Looking at the two charts above, you can see the offense is slowly moving towards the Fox system of getting to the foul line and crashing the offensive glass. Both of those categories ticked up compared to 2019 but both have a ways to go to meet the averages Fox teams maintained at Georgia.

When Fox teams were at their best at Georgia, they were getting to the foul line at very high rates (47.7 in 2015 and 54.1 in 2014). 

2019 Cal Defense versus 2020 Cal Defense

Defensive Category 2019 2020 Difference
Adj. Efficiency 110.3 (286) 100.4 (130) -9.9
Adj. Tempo 66.6 (234) 65.2 (315) -1.4
Avg. Poss. Length 16.8 (44) 17.5 (184) 0.07
Effective FG% 56.9% (348) 49.9% (200) -7.00%
Turnover % 20.5% (62) 17.3% (275) -3.20%
Off. Rebound % 31.4% (289) 26.3% (102) -5.10%
FTA/FGA 36.1 (260) 37.0 (278) 0.9
3P% 38.1% (331) 36.3% (310) -1.80%
2P% 56.7% (344) 47.0% (81) -9.70%
FT% 71.8% (246) 73.6% (309) 1.80%
Block % 10.0% (141) 7.4% (242) -2.60%
Steal % 10.7% (42) 6.1% (349) -4.60%
Non-Stl TO% 9.8% (149) 11.2% (56) 1.40%
3PA/FGA 41.8 (281) 38.0 (190) -3.8
A/FGM 55.3 (271) 51.7 (192) -3.6
3-Pointers (Pt. Dist.) 34.2% (98) 32.6% (109) -1.60%
2-Pointers (Pt. Dist.) 47.3% (262) 46.0% (309) -1.30%
Free-Throws (Pt. Dist.) 18.6% (175) 21.4% (67) 2.80%

Here’s where the name of this article really applies. Cal’s offense was bad last year. And I didn’t expect it to improve much. But it absolutely did. And Fox gets credit for that. It wouldn’t have happened without player buy-in. But player buy-in doesn’t happen without some coaching. In one season, Cal’s adjusted defensive efficiency went from 110.3 to 100.4. Opponents were averaging 10 points less per 100 possessions. 

Last season, Cal was good at forcing turnovers and not good at basically everything else. This season Cal wasn’t forcing turnovers at the same rate, but they were creating tougher shots for opponents — especially inside the three-point arc, where teams shot almost 10% worse than they did against the Bears last season.

The perimeter was a big issue early but stabilized. But the pack-line defense Fox instilled worked. Cal’s best games were ones when it bogged down other teams and made the game a rock fight. That comes from solid interior defense.

UGA Average Defenses versus 2020 Cal Average Defense

Year AdjD eFG% TO% OR% FTR 2P% 3P% Blk% 3PA% A% APL 2FP%
2020 Cal Avg. 100.4 49.90% 17.30% 26.30% 37.0 47.00% 36.30% 7.40% 38.00% 51.70% 17.5 22.90%
UGA Average 97.3 46.07% 16.99% 29.54% 36.3 44.39% 32.70% 12.33% 35.63% 46.42% 17.8 7.10%

There are also some improvements to be made on defense to hit Fox's Georgia averages. In nine seasons at Georgia, the Bulldogs averages an adjusted defensive efficiency rate of 97.3 — about three points better than this year’s Bears squad. Fox’s last team at Georgia was probably his best defensively. That year the Bulldogs were very bad at forcing teams into turnovers but incredibly good at making them miss. That’s something that will likely continue to be a trend in Fox-coached teams.

Cal’s improvements on defense were what helped this team over-achieve. It was a very flawed offensive team. But when it played solid defense, the Bears could keep themselves close. I didn’t expect Fox to get that sort of buy-in this quickly. And I didn’t expect 14 wins. I didn’t expect Cal to finish ahead of Mike Hopkins and the Washington Huskies or Kyle Smith and the Washington State Cougars — both of which are coaches I think many Cal fans (myself included) would’ve picked over Fox. And for all of that, once again, my apologies, Mark Fox.

Discussion from...

My Apologies, Mark Fox

13,383 Views | 168 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by HoopDreams
bearchamp
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As has been stated elsewhere on this site, the first half of the season was night and day different than the last 10 games. An analysis of the last 10 games would be very interesting.
Civil Bear
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bearchamp said:

As has been stated elsewhere on this site, the first half of the season was night and day different than the last 10 games. An analysis of the last 10 games would be very interesting.

The difference for the Las 10 games from the previous season was also like night & day. Any additional comparisons should use the same time frames.
calumnus
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For those of us that were critical of Knowlton, it was not because we doubted Fox would be able to eventually get Cal to his Georgia averages.

Similarly, I am not at all surprised by the improvement in the team this year, 110% on defense. Fox did a good job in making this group of players as competitive as possible. Congrats to him and to the team for buying in and giving their all.

bluehenbear
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Did we get another AD? Who's this Knowland fella? Stopped reading after seeing it misspelled twice...
OaktownBear
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calumnus said:

For those of us that were critical of Knowlton, it was not because we doubted Fox would be able to eventually get Cal to his Georgia averages.

Similarly, I am not at all surprised by the improvement in the team this year, 110% on defense. Fox did a good job in making this group of players as competitive as possible. Congrats to him and to the team for buying in and giving their all.


I'm trying to understand if OP previously thought that Fox was not going to be a better coach than Wyking Jones. Because that is what is proven here. He performed as I expected. I also don't think it was possible to do much better than that with what he inherited. He had a season that is not deserving of criticism but is also exactly on par with the expectations of anyone who thought the hire was disappointing. I think everyone would expect continued improvement. The question is what is the ceiling on that improvement.
calumnus
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OaktownBear said:

calumnus said:

For those of us that were critical of Knowlton, it was not because we doubted Fox would be able to eventually get Cal to his Georgia averages.

Similarly, I am not at all surprised by the improvement in the team this year, 110% on defense. Fox did a good job in making this group of players as competitive as possible. Congrats to him and to the team for buying in and giving their all.


I'm trying to understand if OP previously thought that Fox was not going to be a better coach than Wyking Jones. Because that is what is proven here. He performed as I expected. I also don't think it was possible to do much better than that with what he inherited. He had a season that is not deserving of criticism but is also exactly on par with the expectations of anyone who thought the hire was disappointing. I think everyone would expect continued improvement. The question is what is the ceiling on that improvement.



It is a bit of a catch-22 for Fox. His patented slow down, defense-first strategy (at the expense of offense to a lesser degree ) was arguably the best strategy for this group of players to get as many wins as possible. And wins are needed for recruiting. However style of play is also needed for recruiting. The question is, can he increase the wins, attract a couple top players under the promise of opening up the offense and then deliver on that promise? Never really did at Georgia, where he got some top recruits, but stuck with his style, but it doesn't mean it can't happen this time.
socaltownie
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I am not sure it is a bad form of basketball for recruiting. Look at Virginia. It is different than say Howland's defense which required a huge amount of banging and hand checks (taken away) and arguably really was hard on the kids bodies. That was more of an issue - because while it isn't a guaranteed negative recruiting advantage to say "you will have to play defense and not get to dunk" to a kid it IS an advantage to say "you are going to be banging so much for him that you could get injured and never make the show."

And even then Howland recruite just fine in westwood.
Take care of your Chicken
annarborbear
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We have one National Championship from 60 years ago, and one Conference Championship in the past five decades. So we do have to try something different. Our best bet is a Wisconsin-type program, with mostly four-year players, a few transfers in, a few international players, and a commitment to defense. We also need a decent coach who is willing to stay for awhile to implement that strategy. I think we are off to a good start, but obviously have a long way to go.
calumnus
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annarborbear said:

We have one National Championship from 60 years ago, and one Conference Championship in the past five decades. So we do have to try something different. Our best bet is a Wisconsin-type program, with mostly four-year players, a few transfers in, a few international players, and a commitment to defense. We also need a decent coach who is willing to stay for awhile to implement that strategy. I think we are off to a good start, but obviously have a long way to go.


So why didn't that ever happen at Georgia in 9 years?

Why didn't that happen at Cal under Braun?

There are literally hundreds of college basketball teams attempting that strategy. Every year a few are successful. It may very well be a strategy best suited to schools located in the Midwest, with Wisconsin's academics giving them a particular advantage over ever other school in the Midwest attempting the same thing.

Just a few years ago we had a team with 3 McDonald's Americans, went undefeated at home and had a 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Then were derailed by injuries, which as a percentage of the starters (and team) was far far worse than what the football team experienced at any point in this recent season but everyone cites.

Why sell Cal basketball short? Cal is a great university in a great location. We have a history of attracting top players from across the country. I don't think Fox has given up on recruiting top players. If instead we end up with a "Wisconsin style team" and are successful at it, filling Haas, and going deep in the Tournament, great. We will all be thrilled. I just think people underestimate how difficult it is to do that.
annarborbear
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calumnus said:

annarborbear said:

We have one National Championship from 60 years ago, and one Conference Championship in the past five decades. So we do have to try something different. Our best bet is a Wisconsin-type program, with mostly four-year players, a few transfers in, a few international players, and a commitment to defense. We also need a decent coach who is willing to stay for awhile to implement that strategy. I think we are off to a good start, but obviously have a long way to go.


So why didn't that ever happen at Georgia in 9 years?

Why didn't that happen at Cal under Braun?

There are literally hundreds of college basketball teams attempting that strategy. Every year a few are successful. It may very well be a strategy best suited to schools located in the Midwest, with Wisconsin's academics giving them a particular advantage over ever other school in the Midwest attempting the same thing.

Just a few years ago we had a team with 3 McDonald's Americans, went undefeated at home and had a 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Then were derailed by injuries, which as a percentage of the starters (and team) was far far worse than what the football team experienced at any point in this recent season but everyone cites.

Why sell Cal basketball short? Cal is a great university in a great location. We have a history of attracting top players from across the country. I don't think Fox has given up on recruiting top players. If instead we end up with a "Wisconsin style team" and are successful at it, filling Haas, and going deep in the Tournament, great. We will all be thrilled. I just think people underestimate how difficult it is to do that.

A coach who recruits like that may get lucky with a few local players, but will then bolt for more lucrative pastures like Cuonzo. Worth trying a more stable long-term approach. Hopefully, we have the right coach for that. But to be determined.
socaltownie
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Let me say something controversial - I think the reason that the Wisky strategy DOESN"T work in the Pac-12

1) Bo is a once in a generation coach. You really should read up on how he built that program and the VERY long and deep success he had at lower levels with that approach.
2) I am not convinced that anyone in the Big10 recruits at the level that UCLA, Arizona and Oregon do on a year in-year out basis.

I love this site.

https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-Ten-Conference/2/nba-players

40 Big 10 players in the NBA. 62 Pac12 players in the NBA

Again, repeat after me.

Many (most?) years Cal has to play UCLA, Zona, and Oregon 6 games. Sometimes we only have to play them 5. A very few only 4. To get off the seed of death Cal either has to run the table on a BRUTAL OOC schedule (when they have no drawing power and thus few invites to the made for TV tournies and home/aways in December) OR split those games. If you are on the seed of death (7 through 10) it means, in the current Pod system, you are almost guaranteed a brutal second game should you be able to win the first (essentially a 1 or a 2 getting a near home game where they may not have had to fly and usually have 90% of the fans in the stands - sometimes in a stadium they know and have played in (see Greenville)

Now can the scrappy team from hickory high beat, on any given night, a team of wildcats stuffed with 2 or 3 first round picks? Sure. Why sports are great. But you need more than 1 win. You gotta have 3 or 4 or else...again....seed of death.

I just am at a loss as to why people on this site do not get this. Blue and gold glasses? Pete Newell nostalgia? Forgetting that our conference championship came at a VERY down time for both Zona and UCLA and prior to the true emergence of Nike U.

Now maybe it could be cause some posters are FINE with getting in as an 8. Honestly I find that nearly as depressing as missing the entire tournie cause it isn't fun to watch cal get stripped in the backcourt 3 successive possessions by UCON in a game that essentially was at UCON.
Take care of your Chicken
BeachedBear
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socaltownie said:

Let me say something controversial - I think the reason that the Wisky strategy DOESN"T work in the Pac-12

1) Bo is a once in a generation coach. You really should read up on how he built that program and the VERY long and deep success he had at lower levels with that approach.
2) I am not convinced that anyone in the Big10 recruits at the level that UCLA, Arizona and Oregon do on a year in-year out basis.

I love this site.

https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-Ten-Conference/2/nba-players

40 Big 10 players in the NBA. 62 Pac12 players in the NBA

Again, repeat after me.

Many (most?) years Cal has to play UCLA, Zona, and Oregon 6 games. Sometimes we only have to play them 5. A very few only 4. To get off the seed of death Cal either has to run the table on a BRUTAL OOC schedule (when they have no drawing power and thus few invites to the made for TV tournies and home/aways in December) OR split those games. If you are on the seed of death (7 through 10) it means, in the current Pod system, you are almost guaranteed a brutal second game should you be able to win the first (essentially a 1 or a 2 getting a near home game where they may not have had to fly and usually have 90% of the fans in the stands - sometimes in a stadium they know and have played in (see Greenville)

Now can the scrappy team from hickory high beat, on any given night, a team of wildcats stuffed with 2 or 3 first round picks? Sure. Why sports are great. But you need more than 1 win. You gotta have 3 or 4 or else...again....seed of death.

I just am at a loss as to why people on this site do not get this. Blue and gold glasses? Pete Newell nostalgia? Forgetting that our conference championship came at a VERY down time for both Zona and UCLA and prior to the true emergence of Nike U.

Now maybe it could be cause some posters are FINE with getting in as an 8. Honestly I find that nearly as depressing as missing the entire tournie cause it isn't fun to watch cal get stripped in the backcourt 3 successive possessions by UCON in a game that essentially was at UCON.
Good Post SCT, but I don't think its that controversial and many, if not most, on this site probably agree with you, but just aren't as vocal about it as some of the Whisky pumpers. I, for one, am looking forward to the days when Cal is back at the seed of death level - which is honestly where we've been during the BETTER years of the last few decades (since the 60+ team tourney).

I would love to get past that level and regularly get a top 20 seed. But that takes BOTH excellent coaching and excellent recruiting. I feel recruiting will follow excellent coaching much more often than vice versa. But it needs to be excellent coaching, not just pretty good. Since Newell, Cal has had ONE excellent coach - Monty, But we had him at the end of his career, when recruiting wasn't working for him (and that is going to happen to excellent coaches, sometimes). With wins and coaching, the recruits will come. We may have to be more selective, but the positives of Cal along with a top coach will suffice.
socaltownie
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BeachedBear said:

socaltownie said:

Let me say something controversial - I think the reason that the Wisky strategy DOESN"T work in the Pac-12

1) Bo is a once in a generation coach. You really should read up on how he built that program and the VERY long and deep success he had at lower levels with that approach.
2) I am not convinced that anyone in the Big10 recruits at the level that UCLA, Arizona and Oregon do on a year in-year out basis.

I love this site.

https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-Ten-Conference/2/nba-players

40 Big 10 players in the NBA. 62 Pac12 players in the NBA

Again, repeat after me.

Many (most?) years Cal has to play UCLA, Zona, and Oregon 6 games. Sometimes we only have to play them 5. A very few only 4. To get off the seed of death Cal either has to run the table on a BRUTAL OOC schedule (when they have no drawing power and thus few invites to the made for TV tournies and home/aways in December) OR split those games. If you are on the seed of death (7 through 10) it means, in the current Pod system, you are almost guaranteed a brutal second game should you be able to win the first (essentially a 1 or a 2 getting a near home game where they may not have had to fly and usually have 90% of the fans in the stands - sometimes in a stadium they know and have played in (see Greenville)

Now can the scrappy team from hickory high beat, on any given night, a team of wildcats stuffed with 2 or 3 first round picks? Sure. Why sports are great. But you need more than 1 win. You gotta have 3 or 4 or else...again....seed of death.

I just am at a loss as to why people on this site do not get this. Blue and gold glasses? Pete Newell nostalgia? Forgetting that our conference championship came at a VERY down time for both Zona and UCLA and prior to the true emergence of Nike U.

Now maybe it could be cause some posters are FINE with getting in as an 8. Honestly I find that nearly as depressing as missing the entire tournie cause it isn't fun to watch cal get stripped in the backcourt 3 successive possessions by UCON in a game that essentially was at UCON.
Good Post SCT, but I don't think its that controversial and many, if not most, on this site probably agree with you, but just aren't as vocal about it as some of the Whisky pumpers. I, for one, am looking forward to the days when Cal is back at the seed of death level - which is honestly where we've been during the BETTER years of the last few decades (since the 60+ team tourney).

I would love to get past that level and regularly get a top 20 seed. But that takes BOTH excellent coaching and excellent recruiting. I feel recruiting will follow excellent coaching much more often than vice versa. But it needs to be excellent coaching, not just pretty good. Since Newell, Cal has had ONE excellent coach - Monty, But we had him at the end of his career, when recruiting wasn't working for him (and that is going to happen to excellent coaches, sometimes). With wins and coaching, the recruits will come. We may have to be more selective, but the positives of Cal along with a top coach will suffice.
I will continue to shout it. Football is different. You just need to go 500 and you don't nee to beat Oregon, USC or Washington (and can lose all three) and still make a Bowl game and get 7/8 wins. You DO have to go through those teams to make the RoseBowl but that has been so long that I am not even sure it matters anymore except as a fun joke on the board. But "math" is compelling.

Even the ACC isn't as bad. Sure you got two bluest of blue bloods. But NC and Duke pull the rest of the conference up more than Zona and UCLA do us (not sure precisely why - I think - again - better SOS in December because they get better matchups cause of TV) and thus you can finish 3rd or 4th in the ACC and get off the seed of death (getting sometimes as high as a 4 or even a 3).
Take care of your Chicken
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

annarborbear said:

We have one National Championship from 60 years ago, and one Conference Championship in the past five decades. So we do have to try something different. Our best bet is a Wisconsin-type program, with mostly four-year players, a few transfers in, a few international players, and a commitment to defense. We also need a decent coach who is willing to stay for awhile to implement that strategy. I think we are off to a good start, but obviously have a long way to go.


So why didn't that ever happen at Georgia in 9 years?

Why didn't that happen at Cal under Braun?

There are literally hundreds of college basketball teams attempting that strategy. Every year a few are successful. It may very well be a strategy best suited to schools located in the Midwest, with Wisconsin's academics giving them a particular advantage over ever other school in the Midwest attempting the same thing.

Just a few years ago we had a team with 3 McDonald's Americans, went undefeated at home and had a 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Then were derailed by injuries, which as a percentage of the starters (and team) was far far worse than what the football team experienced at any point in this recent season but everyone cites.

Why sell Cal basketball short? Cal is a great university in a great location. We have a history of attracting top players from across the country. I don't think Fox has given up on recruiting top players. If instead we end up with a "Wisconsin style team" and are successful at it, filling Haas, and going deep in the Tournament, great. We will all be thrilled. I just think people underestimate how difficult it is to do that.

First of all, annarborbear left out one thing with his description of the Wisconsin-type program: top 100 ranked players. I looked at Bo Ryan's career at Wisconsin, and he averaged 3 top 100 players on his rosters. There were a few years where Ryan had as many as 6 top 100-ranked recruits on his rosters. Wisconsin did not have the same level of recruiting stars as say, North Carlolina, which averages 8 top 100 recruits on the roster per season over the last 20 years. Ryan did recruit, just not as well in terms of stars as UNC and the other elite programs did.

Why didn't it happen at Georgia? Actually, annarborbear's description of what Wisconsin does may be a better fit for Mark Fox, who landed only 9 top 100 ranked players in 9 years, and average of one top 100 recruit per season on his rosters. There were a couple of years where Fox's rosters at Georgia didn't have a single top 100 ranked recruit. And I don't know why that is. I doubt that he planned it that way.

Why didn't it happen at Cal with Ben Braun? Actually it did happen. Braun's 2003 class was ranked #5 nationally, and included top 100 stars like Leon Powe, Ayinde Ubaka, Marquise Kately, and also Dominic McGuire. Braun's roster also included very good players like Tamir, Midgley, McGuire, Benson, and Paris. The following season, Braun would add top 100 recruit Devon Hardin, while losing Tamir and Kately, and in Powe's 3rd season, Braun would add top 100 transfer Omar Wilkes, and Theo Robertson, while losing McGuire. There were injuries to Powe and Ubaka, and none of these three teams had great success. And Braun did not back up that 2003 class with more good classes in a row

It also happened one other time in Cal history, in 1971, when Jim Padgett recruited the best 5 players Cal has ever had on the floor on one team. Ansley Truitt from San Francisco, Phil Chenier from Berkeley, Charlie Johnson from Redwood City, John Coughran from Piedmont, and Jackie Ridgle from Arkansas, the best player in that state. As we know, CJ and Chenier went on to have long NBA careers, each winning championship rings, and the other three all played professionally. In my opinion, they would all have been 5-star players, and Chenier played one year and left for the NBA as a hardship case. They were poorly coached, and finished 16-9, and 3rd in the conference.

In my opinion every one of those players would have been a 5-star recruit, and along with Chenier, I think Ridgle, CJ, and Truitt might have jumped to the NBA as well, had it been available and if they had the same mindset that modern players have about turning pro early. Coughran might have gone to the NBA after one or two years more. That team had 5 great players. Today the NCAA is dominated by a handful of teams that often have twice that number of top 100 recruits on the roster. Over the last 25 years, the team with the best record in the NCAA is UNC, which has won 3 NCAA titles, and been to the Final Four 9 times, or UConn with 4 titles and 5 Final 4s. UNC averaged 8 top 100 recruits for every year. Michigan State with 8 Final 4s and one title, Kentucky with one title and 7 Final 4s, Duke with 6 Final 4s, and 3 titles, UConn with 4 titles and 5 Final 4s. Kansas, Florida, Syracuse, and UCLA are the rest of the elite teams which have had success, and they have only reached a final 4 at best in one out of 3 years. (Syracuse and UCLA, about one out of six years.)

In order to get to this elite level, you need to have 6 to 8 top 100 recruits on every roster. You can't be like Cuonzo's teams, where he had only one good recruiting class of three, and when those players left, the roster was nearly empty of stars. The same thing happened with Braun's team, along with injuries. Typically, with every class, 10% or more of the top 100 will jump after a year for the NBA. Some will jump after year 2 or year 3. 40% of the top 100 will transfer to another school. And nearly every school has players who will miss games or seasons or end their career with injuries. And there are many players who are overrated by the recruit ranking services.

I think we are being optimistic if we think Cal will reach the elite level, and reach a level of 6-8 top 100 recruits on the roster every year. That means that Cal will have to bring in a few top 100 recruits every season, which Cal has never done, and few teams do. I would be much more interested in focusing on players who are well-rounded, team orientated, who have some acumen for defense. And instead of looking for the Bo Ryan approach (which resulted in just 3 trips to a Final 4 in 25 years, or Mike Montgomery's approach, which was one Final 4 in his career) I'd want to look at what Tony Bennett did to build his teams. As for coaching, I'd like to look at what Chris Beard did at Texas Tech, getting to the NCAA Final, with only one top 100 recruit, 6th man Brandone Francis. Or maybe what Shaka Smart did at VCU, getting to a Final 4 with only one top 100-ranked player. I'd like us to finish in the top 3 or 4 of the conference every year, which I think is doable, and will fill the seats, give us a good shot at the PAC12 tournament, and get into the NCAA. From there, it depends on the draw, the matchups, and staying injury free.
annarborbear
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I won't be belabor the point, but I do think we are going to have to get a number of good players out of international recruiting in these initial years. The type of big people Wisconsin always gets out of the Midwest could come from that source. Otherwise, we are just going to be beating ourselves up recruiting against programs that are already successful. The programs we will really need to recruit against for those international players are Gonzaga and St. Mary's. We have a better degree to offer, so that may help.
socaltownie
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<Sigh> Sometimes you people drive me batty.

Here is a good review of the Bo Ryan approach. It is VERY unique. It is unclear it is easily replicated and taken "off the shelf".

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/sports/ncaabasketball/bo-ryan-is-weaned-to-win-in-wisconsin.html

Here is my take.....

1) He knows the inside game. He ONLY has really coached in the state of Wisconsin and within the same "system". A lot of you discounted Russel Turner but unless you have WORKED for a university I I don't think you can appreciate just how different is it and how each university has such a different culture. Shared governance is a real thing and it is so useful to understand how to navigate that system.

2) It also means that Bo probably knows the names of every kids, grandkid and dog of every HS coach in his state. That is a huge advantage both in recruiting AND in identifying "fit". I challenge any of you to come up with a coach in the state that has that sort of background. Maybe the nation. It really is unique.

3) Being the "flagship" (and arguably the best university in for hoop West of Ann Arbor and East of *****..Seattle? seattle it gives him a great recruiting footprint across the entirety of the entire upper midwest. And then you have this really bizzaro situation that Chicago - a huge metro area with a great baskeball tradition, does not really have a local university competing for all that talent. It is as if UCLA or USC did not exist and you had the 12 million great LA region and all that talent every year without a home town school. Madison, meanwhile is NOT that far from the Windy City.

3) He has a VERY strong AD. (too strong?) Again, the context matters here. Having an AD who is badger red through and through (and a former winning football coach) is a HUGE deal. It means you don't have an idiot like Mike Williams doing dumb ***** It means you have someone that has a huge amount of creed with the faculty. And since Alverez ran a squeeky clean program while allowing Madison faculty to be a pretty good R-1 institution, he has the leeway to set acaedemic policy. Is there ANY AD in the Pac 12 that has a similar background.

It is SO easy to type "just be like Wisky" until you do about 30 minutes of unpacking. Then it becomes a LOT harder to see how it can be easily duplicated.
Take care of your Chicken
socaltownie
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annarborbear said:

I won't be belabor the point, but I do think we are going to have to get a number of good players out of international recruiting in these initial years. The type of big people Wisconsin always gets out of the Midwest could come from that source. Otherwise, we are just going to be beating ourselves up recruiting against programs that are already successful. The programs we will really need to recruit against for those international players are Gonzaga and St. Mary's. We have a better degree to offer, so that may help.
I don't disagree at ALL with an international focus. It SEEMS like it should play to a strong suite for the Bears (CAL has a great brand overseas). What I am LESS clear about is the world of international HS recruiting. It seems like so many of those kids are coming out of "prep schools" and thus I am not sure it really is that much different than the rest of the slimy AAU circuit - and in some cases more corrupt.
Take care of your Chicken
calumnus
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socaltownie said:

<Sigh> Sometimes you people drive me batty.

Here is a good review of the Bo Ryan approach. It is VERY unique. It is unclear it is easily replicated and taken "off the shelf".

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/sports/ncaabasketball/bo-ryan-is-weaned-to-win-in-wisconsin.html

Here is my take.....

1) He knows the inside game. He ONLY has really coached in the state of Wisconsin and within the same "system". A lot of you discounted Russel Turner but unless you have WORKED for a university I I don't think you can appreciate just how different is it and how each university has such a different culture. Shared governance is a real thing and it is so useful to understand how to navigate that system.

2) It also means that Bo probably knows the names of every kids, grandkid and dog of every HS coach in his state. That is a huge advantage both in recruiting AND in identifying "fit". I challenge any of you to come up with a coach in the state that has that sort of background. Maybe the nation. It really is unique.

3) Being the "flagship" (and arguably the best university in for hoop West of Ann Arbor and East of *****..Seattle? seattle it gives him a great recruiting footprint across the entirety of the entire upper midwest. And then you have this really bizzaro situation that Chicago - a huge metro area with a great baskeball tradition, does not really have a local university competing for all that talent. It is as if UCLA or USC did not exist and you had the 12 million great LA region and all that talent every year without a home town school. Madison, meanwhile is NOT that far from the Windy City.

3) He has a VERY strong AD. (too strong?) Again, the context matters here. Having an AD who is badger red through and through (and a former winning football coach) is a HUGE deal. It means you don't have an idiot like Mike Williams doing dumb ***** It means you have someone that has a huge amount of creed with the faculty. And since Alverez ran a squeeky clean program while allowing Madison faculty to be a pretty good R-1 institution, he has the leeway to set acaedemic policy. Is there ANY AD in the Pac 12 that has a similar background.

It is SO easy to type "just be like Wisky" until you do about 30 minutes of unpacking. Then it becomes a LOT harder to see how it can be easily duplicated.


Which is why Cal has to take advantage of its comparative advantages. We are not Wisconsin, but what are the things that are unique about Cal that others can not replicate? Obviously lock down the Bay Area, have a good relationship with the Soldiers. Annarbor's suggestion of International students is a good one. In addition to Europe, definitely China. We landed Shareef and Jaylen Brown out of Georgia, why? Largely academics and Cal's reputation for intellectual inquiry and social activism, plus in Shareef's case the Islamic Studies program. Hakeem said that if he had known about it, he would have come too. Maybe recruit Africa? Defi
socaltownie
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calumnus said:

socaltownie said:

<Sigh> Sometimes you people drive me batty.

Here is a good review of the Bo Ryan approach. It is VERY unique. It is unclear it is easily replicated and taken "off the shelf".

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/sports/ncaabasketball/bo-ryan-is-weaned-to-win-in-wisconsin.html

Here is my take.....

1) He knows the inside game. He ONLY has really coached in the state of Wisconsin and within the same "system". A lot of you discounted Russel Turner but unless you have WORKED for a university I I don't think you can appreciate just how different is it and how each university has such a different culture. Shared governance is a real thing and it is so useful to understand how to navigate that system.

2) It also means that Bo probably knows the names of every kids, grandkid and dog of every HS coach in his state. That is a huge advantage both in recruiting AND in identifying "fit". I challenge any of you to come up with a coach in the state that has that sort of background. Maybe the nation. It really is unique.

3) Being the "flagship" (and arguably the best university in for hoop West of Ann Arbor and East of *****..Seattle? seattle it gives him a great recruiting footprint across the entirety of the entire upper midwest. And then you have this really bizzaro situation that Chicago - a huge metro area with a great baskeball tradition, does not really have a local university competing for all that talent. It is as if UCLA or USC did not exist and you had the 12 million great LA region and all that talent every year without a home town school. Madison, meanwhile is NOT that far from the Windy City.

3) He has a VERY strong AD. (too strong?) Again, the context matters here. Having an AD who is badger red through and through (and a former winning football coach) is a HUGE deal. It means you don't have an idiot like Mike Williams doing dumb ***** It means you have someone that has a huge amount of creed with the faculty. And since Alverez ran a squeeky clean program while allowing Madison faculty to be a pretty good R-1 institution, he has the leeway to set acaedemic policy. Is there ANY AD in the Pac 12 that has a similar background.

It is SO easy to type "just be like Wisky" until you do about 30 minutes of unpacking. Then it becomes a LOT harder to see how it can be easily duplicated.


Which is why Cal has to take advantage of its comparative advantages. We are not Wisconsin, but what are the things that are unique about Cal that others can not replicate? Obviously lock down the Bay Area, have a good relationship with the Soldiers. Annarbor's suggestion of International students is a good one. In addition to Europe, definitely China. We landed Shareef and Jaylen Brown out of Georgia, why? Largely academics and Cal's reputation for intellectual inquiry and social activism, plus in Shareef's case the Islamic Studies program. Hakeem said that if he had known about it, he would have come too. Maybe recruit Africa? Defi
I have LONG advocated that Cal should own NorCal and especially the East Bay. But that requires they try. CAL should be joined at the hip to the Soldiers and we should be especially active in outeach/mentoring/etc. high school hoops essentially from San Jose to Sacramento. Every great player that grew up in the Bay Area that went to a rival Pac12 school makes my heart break.
Take care of your Chicken
calumnus
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socaltownie said:

<Sigh> Sometimes you people drive me batty.

Here is a good review of the Bo Ryan approach. It is VERY unique. It is unclear it is easily replicated and taken "off the shelf".

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/sports/ncaabasketball/bo-ryan-is-weaned-to-win-in-wisconsin.html

Here is my take.....

1) He knows the inside game. He ONLY has really coached in the state of Wisconsin and within the same "system". A lot of you discounted Russel Turner but unless you have WORKED for a university I I don't think you can appreciate just how different is it and how each university has such a different culture. Shared governance is a real thing and it is so useful to understand how to navigate that system.

2) It also means that Bo probably knows the names of every kids, grandkid and dog of every HS coach in his state. That is a huge advantage both in recruiting AND in identifying "fit". I challenge any of you to come up with a coach in the state that has that sort of background. Maybe the nation. It really is unique.

3) Being the "flagship" (and arguably the best university in for hoop West of Ann Arbor and East of *****..Seattle? seattle it gives him a great recruiting footprint across the entirety of the entire upper midwest. And then you have this really bizzaro situation that Chicago - a huge metro area with a great baskeball tradition, does not really have a local university competing for all that talent. It is as if UCLA or USC did not exist and you had the 12 million great LA region and all that talent every year without a home town school. Madison, meanwhile is NOT that far from the Windy City.

3) He has a VERY strong AD. (too strong?) Again, the context matters here. Having an AD who is badger red through and through (and a former winning football coach) is a HUGE deal. It means you don't have an idiot like Mike Williams doing dumb ***** It means you have someone that has a huge amount of creed with the faculty. And since Alverez ran a squeeky clean program while allowing Madison faculty to be a pretty good R-1 institution, he has the leeway to set acaedemic policy. Is there ANY AD in the Pac 12 that has a similar background.

It is SO easy to type "just be like Wisky" until you do about 30 minutes of unpacking. Then it becomes a LOT harder to see how it can be easily duplicated.


Which is why Cal has to take advantage of its comparative advantages. To be fair to Annarborbear , he is thinking in the right direction. Madison has some similarities with Berkeley. We are not Wisconsin, but what are the things that are unique about Cal that others can not replicate? Obviously lock down the Bay Area, have a good relationship with the Soldiers and other California AAU programs, and have deep connections with California HS and JC programs. Ann Arbor's suggestion of International students is a good one. In addition to Europe, definitely China. We landed Shareef and Jaylen Brown out of Georgia, why? Largely academics and Cal's reputation for intellectual inquiry and social activism or in Shareef's case the Islamic Studies program. Hakeem said that if he had known about it, he would have come too. Fox obviously knows Georgia, so look for the next Shareef, the next Jaylen there. Maybe recruit Africa? Bill Walton obviously loves Berkeley and recommenced us to Dr. j for his son. Who is the next Bill Walton, a kid with talent whose personality screams Berkeley. We should be a pipeline for the best grad transfers from the Ivy League. Columbia is a natural, there are already a lot of connections between the universities.

Fox does not run a complex system. This is not Monty with a lot of set plays to learn. That was one of the keys to his ability to make the team at least competitive in his first year. Grad transfers, one and dones, transfer portal players, can be effective. Talent into the system and working hard on defense is more important than time in the system. The result is our uniqueness might lead us to looking very different from Wisconsin (relying on 4 year players, big kids from farms in the Midwest with a couple kids out of Chicago), but it might have fans of other programs similarly asking "why can't we be Cal?"
HoopDreams
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lots of good thoughts of which I agree with many

first the wisconsin model and the virginia model are often cited, but agree with SF that they are in the basketball crazy mid-west and typically have a team full of 4 star and high 3 star (top 150) recruits

they also have great coaches (although I really am only referring to Bennett, I don't know much about wisconsin's coach)

and they have players who stay, so they typically have experienced and deep teams


So for Cal, I think we can try to replicate both, although we are not going to have the same quantity of top 150 players as either of them for a while

My hope is we can build the same level of continuity, experience and depth, and we increase the average star rating of the team each year

If we can do that, I think we reach the top half of the conference, build back our fan base, and start attracting more top 100 players, with the occasional top 30 player

And to do the above, I agree with others that you need to own Nor Cal, and I would say focus recruiting on the West Coast, Canada, and continue to pull in the occasional international or recruit from outside the west

We also absolutely need to mine the transfer market, as most teams will always have holes to fill, especially once the transfer rules allow auto eligibility (probably this summer)... look how Oregon and SC have benefited from that
annarborbear
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If we are going to go with something different this time, we will need player and coaching continuity, and probably at least five years to get into a solid situation. My biggest fear would be taking a step back next year. It would be hard to get started again after that. So we will need to pull some grad transfers and at least one more international player for year two.
oskidunker
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My biggest fear is that the season might be cancelled
Cal8285
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SFCityBear said:





It also happened one other time in Cal history, in 1971, when Jim Padgett recruited the best 5 players Cal has ever had on the floor on one team. Ansley Truitt from San Francisco, Phil Chenier from Berkeley, Charlie Johnson from Redwood City, John Coughran from Piedmont, and Jackie Ridgle from Arkansas, the best player in that state. As we know, CJ and Chenier went on to have long NBA careers, each winning championship rings, and the other three all played professionally. In my opinion, they would all have been 5-star players, and Chenier played one year and left for the NBA as a hardship case. They were poorly coached, and finished 16-9, and 3rd in the conference.

In my opinion every one of those players would have been a 5-star recruit, and along with Chenier, I think Ridgle, CJ, and Truitt might have jumped to the NBA as well, had it been available and if they had the same mindset that modern players have about turning pro early. Coughran might have gone to the NBA after one or two years more. That team had 5 great players.

In the 1979-80 season, John Coughran signed played a couple dozen games for the Warriors. When he was signed, the papers said it meant that 5 players from that 71 team had played in the NBA.

We know about CJ and Chenier, Ridgle was on the second year expansion Cavaliers in 1971-72, and Coughran with the Warriors, but I have never found anything to suggest Truitt ever played a game in the NBA. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Knicks and did play a season for Dallas in the ABA, but I don't think either of those count as playing in the NBA, so I think the papers were wrong when Coughran got signed to say that it made 5 players from that 71 Cal team played in the NBA.

Yep, a lot of talent on that team which went 8-6 in conference and tied for 3rd.
bluesaxe
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socaltownie said:

Let me say something controversial - I think the reason that the Wisky strategy DOESN"T work in the Pac-12

1) Bo is a once in a generation coach. You really should read up on how he built that program and the VERY long and deep success he had at lower levels with that approach.
2) I am not convinced that anyone in the Big10 recruits at the level that UCLA, Arizona and Oregon do on a year in-year out basis.

I love this site.

https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-Ten-Conference/2/nba-players

40 Big 10 players in the NBA. 62 Pac12 players in the NBA

Again, repeat after me.

Many (most?) years Cal has to play UCLA, Zona, and Oregon 6 games. Sometimes we only have to play them 5. A very few only 4. To get off the seed of death Cal either has to run the table on a BRUTAL OOC schedule (when they have no drawing power and thus few invites to the made for TV tournies and home/aways in December) OR split those games. If you are on the seed of death (7 through 10) it means, in the current Pod system, you are almost guaranteed a brutal second game should you be able to win the first (essentially a 1 or a 2 getting a near home game where they may not have had to fly and usually have 90% of the fans in the stands - sometimes in a stadium they know and have played in (see Greenville)

Now can the scrappy team from hickory high beat, on any given night, a team of wildcats stuffed with 2 or 3 first round picks? Sure. Why sports are great. But you need more than 1 win. You gotta have 3 or 4 or else...again....seed of death.

I just am at a loss as to why people on this site do not get this. Blue and gold glasses? Pete Newell nostalgia? Forgetting that our conference championship came at a VERY down time for both Zona and UCLA and prior to the true emergence of Nike U.

Now maybe it could be cause some posters are FINE with getting in as an 8. Honestly I find that nearly as depressing as missing the entire tournie cause it isn't fun to watch cal get stripped in the backcourt 3 successive possessions by UCON in a game that essentially was at UCON.
Bo Ryan hasn't coached that team for the last four years and they're still doing fine. And the Big Ten is a far better conference than the Pac-12 and has been for a while so I don't get the brutal schedule argument.

Drop the hickory high bull**** for a minute. Ask yourself, can Cal legitimately expect to build a program on top level recruits when we have tougher academics to deal with and don't have the amenities to offer that the competition does? And when we've outright sucked the last few years? How much are donors willing to put up for a new practice facility, another coach buyout, probably another AD?

Yeah, building a program like Wisconsin takes time, takes a good ability to spot talent to develop outside the usual top-100 list, takes a good coaching staff able to develop players, and a strong regional recruiting program. And it isn't clear Fox is a guy who can do that. But this discussion seems totally binary in your mind. Either magically grab top 50 recruits all the time or be an 8 seed at best. But look at last year's results. Purdue had the 34th ranked class in 2017 and 49th in 2018 and was a final four team. Texas Tech was 39th and 33rd. Virginia Tech 18th and 54th. Obviously all those teams had talent. They also had good coaching. And it would be better to get more top ranked players in the mix, which they are doing now. But you have to have a base to build on and we do not. So instead of assuming everyone who favors a longer-term build wants to be scrappy underdogs forever, maybe you should consider if your premise is even relevant right now.
UrsaMajor
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calumnus said:

socaltownie said:

<Sigh> Sometimes you people drive me batty.

Here is a good review of the Bo Ryan approach. It is VERY unique. It is unclear it is easily replicated and taken "off the shelf".

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/sports/ncaabasketball/bo-ryan-is-weaned-to-win-in-wisconsin.html

Here is my take.....

1) He knows the inside game. He ONLY has really coached in the state of Wisconsin and within the same "system". A lot of you discounted Russel Turner but unless you have WORKED for a university I I don't think you can appreciate just how different is it and how each university has such a different culture. Shared governance is a real thing and it is so useful to understand how to navigate that system.

2) It also means that Bo probably knows the names of every kids, grandkid and dog of every HS coach in his state. That is a huge advantage both in recruiting AND in identifying "fit". I challenge any of you to come up with a coach in the state that has that sort of background. Maybe the nation. It really is unique.

3) Being the "flagship" (and arguably the best university in for hoop West of Ann Arbor and East of *****..Seattle? seattle it gives him a great recruiting footprint across the entirety of the entire upper midwest. And then you have this really bizzaro situation that Chicago - a huge metro area with a great baskeball tradition, does not really have a local university competing for all that talent. It is as if UCLA or USC did not exist and you had the 12 million great LA region and all that talent every year without a home town school. Madison, meanwhile is NOT that far from the Windy City.

3) He has a VERY strong AD. (too strong?) Again, the context matters here. Having an AD who is badger red through and through (and a former winning football coach) is a HUGE deal. It means you don't have an idiot like Mike Williams doing dumb ***** It means you have someone that has a huge amount of creed with the faculty. And since Alverez ran a squeeky clean program while allowing Madison faculty to be a pretty good R-1 institution, he has the leeway to set acaedemic policy. Is there ANY AD in the Pac 12 that has a similar background.

It is SO easy to type "just be like Wisky" until you do about 30 minutes of unpacking. Then it becomes a LOT harder to see how it can be easily duplicated.


Which is why Cal has to take advantage of its comparative advantages. To be fair to Annarborbear , he is thinking in the right direction. Madison has some similarities with Berkeley. We are not Wisconsin, but what are the things that are unique about Cal that others can not replicate? Obviously lock down the Bay Area, have a good relationship with the Soldiers and other California AAU programs, and have deep connections with California HS and JC programs. Ann Arbor's suggestion of International students is a good one. In addition to Europe, definitely China. We landed Shareef and Jaylen Brown out of Georgia, why? Largely academics and Cal's reputation for intellectual inquiry and social activism or in Shareef's case the Islamic Studies program. Hakeem said that if he had known about it, he would have come too. Fox obviously knows Georgia, so look for the next Shareef, the next Jaylen there. Maybe recruit Africa? Bill Walton obviously loves Berkeley and recommenced us to Dr. j for his son. Who is the next Bill Walton, a kid with talent whose personality screams Berkeley. We should be a pipeline for the best grad transfers from the Ivy League. Columbia is a natural, there are already a lot of connections between the universities.

Fox does not run a complex system. This is not Monty with a lot of set plays to learn. That was one of the keys to his ability to make the team at least competitive in his first year. Grad transfers, one and dones, transfer portal players, can be effective. Talent into the system and working hard on defense is more important than time in the system. The result is our uniqueness might lead us to looking very different from Wisconsin (relying on 4 year players, big kids from farms in the Midwest with a couple kids out of Chicago), but it might have fans of other programs similarly asking "why can't we be Cal?"
Good take, Calumnus. One minor tweak: recruiting China is going to be difficult (especially if Trump is re-elected). The administration is trying to cut down on Chinese students in the US. I know of several grad students at Cal who have not had their visas renewed for no reason other than being from China.
socaltownie
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bluesaxe said:

socaltownie said:

Let me say something controversial - I think the reason that the Wisky strategy DOESN"T work in the Pac-12

1) Bo is a once in a generation coach. You really should read up on how he built that program and the VERY long and deep success he had at lower levels with that approach.
2) I am not convinced that anyone in the Big10 recruits at the level that UCLA, Arizona and Oregon do on a year in-year out basis.

I love this site.

https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-Ten-Conference/2/nba-players

40 Big 10 players in the NBA. 62 Pac12 players in the NBA

Again, repeat after me.

Many (most?) years Cal has to play UCLA, Zona, and Oregon 6 games. Sometimes we only have to play them 5. A very few only 4. To get off the seed of death Cal either has to run the table on a BRUTAL OOC schedule (when they have no drawing power and thus few invites to the made for TV tournies and home/aways in December) OR split those games. If you are on the seed of death (7 through 10) it means, in the current Pod system, you are almost guaranteed a brutal second game should you be able to win the first (essentially a 1 or a 2 getting a near home game where they may not have had to fly and usually have 90% of the fans in the stands - sometimes in a stadium they know and have played in (see Greenville)

Now can the scrappy team from hickory high beat, on any given night, a team of wildcats stuffed with 2 or 3 first round picks? Sure. Why sports are great. But you need more than 1 win. You gotta have 3 or 4 or else...again....seed of death.

I just am at a loss as to why people on this site do not get this. Blue and gold glasses? Pete Newell nostalgia? Forgetting that our conference championship came at a VERY down time for both Zona and UCLA and prior to the true emergence of Nike U.

Now maybe it could be cause some posters are FINE with getting in as an 8. Honestly I find that nearly as depressing as missing the entire tournie cause it isn't fun to watch cal get stripped in the backcourt 3 successive possessions by UCON in a game that essentially was at UCON.
Bo Ryan hasn't coached that team for the last four years and they're still doing fine. And the Big Ten is a far better conference than the Pac-12 and has been for a while so I don't get the brutal schedule argument.

Drop the hickory high bull**** for a minute. Ask yourself, can Cal legitimately expect to build a program on top level recruits when we have tougher academics to deal with and don't have the amenities to offer that the competition does? And when we've outright sucked the last few years? How much are donors willing to put up for a new practice facility, another coach buyout, probably another AD?

Yeah, building a program like Wisconsin takes time, takes a good ability to spot talent to develop outside the usual top-100 list, takes a good coaching staff able to develop players, and a strong regional recruiting program. And it isn't clear Fox is a guy who can do that. But this discussion seems totally binary in your mind. Either magically grab top 50 recruits all the time or be an 8 seed at best. But look at last year's results. Purdue had the 34th ranked class in 2017 and 49th in 2018 and was a final four team. Texas Tech was 39th and 33rd. Virginia Tech 18th and 54th. Obviously all those teams had talent. They also had good coaching. And it would be better to get more top ranked players in the mix, which they are doing now. But you have to have a base to build on and we do not. So instead of assuming everyone who favors a longer-term build wants to be scrappy underdogs forever, maybe you should consider if your premise is even relevant right now.
The numbers say otherwise. 62 current NBA players from the PAC 12 while 40 from the FOURTEEN team big 10. Big 10 has done better in tournament time - but I think a pretty clear argument that the raw TALENT at the Pac12 has been, based on who is getting paid serious money to play by the best talent evaluaters on the planet, a more talented conference.

Again, we can ALWAYS find a team in any particular year or even a couple of years that does well. Talent develops, a kid is undervalued, a player doesn't play AAU, he grows 6 inches and suddenly is a monster. These are all good stories.

But you are not building a PROGRAM over a set of years because to get off the seed of death (because it is a really hard truth to lean into) that you have to split against.....

A) A team which clearly is a criminal enterprise in Arizona with a leadership who doesn't give a rats ass and which is not a selective (in any stretch of the imagination) R1 institution
2) A team which is an extension of a multi Billion dollar shoe company whose mission is not to educate its players but to promote a brand by winning at any price necessary
3) A school which is frankly in its twilight but which is the preeminent school in a major metro area of 10 million and which has a legacy of NBA stars that are deeply committed to the institution and willing to encourage recruits to put on Bruin Blue

And finally a conference, because it is on the west coast, is somewhat "cheap" and which doesn't travel strongly doesn't get as a strong a November and December schedule as the Big 10, Big 12 or ACC (and increasingly SEC)

These are not facts I am particularly happy about. But they are facts. You don't get to choose the ground you fight on. Simply put - unless Cal has a pathway to having talent ABOUT as good as the top 3 there really isn't a path forward than seeds of death every 3-4 years.

BTW - One of the reasons I mistakenly thought Martin was the guy (and I think could have been the guy except for Williams & Dirks cutting his knees off) was NOT because he recruited Ivan and Brown - it was the guys that got nixed by the admin - hard nosed kids that wanted to play in the East Bay. Think a multitude of Jason Kidds.

And btw - in case you want to have fun. Here is a great piece about an "All Oakland" team. Funny that only ONE of those kids went to Cal.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/35724-what-if-the-nba-all-oakland-team
Take care of your Chicken
4thGenCal
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Good post and accurate, too many people on this string rip on Cuonzo for leaving us high and dry and not really understanding the factors that led him to leave. He wanted to build a winner here (his wife LOVED the area) and he decided to leave mainly because he had several (5 players) players over his last two seasons that wanted to play for him, but the administration turned down. Other factors included not having a contract extension signed, the lack of administration support during the Hufnagel debacle and no clear path to having a practice facility(that is a Huge factor in many recruiting decisions right or wrong). He was and is a very good devoted coach whom the players almost universally respected and appreciated his demanding approach (both on the court and in the classroom)
socaltownie
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4thGenCal said:

Good post and accurate, too many people on this string rip on Cuonzo for leaving us high and dry and not really understanding the factors that led him to leave. He wanted to build a winner here (his wife LOVED the area) and he decided to leave mainly because he had several (5 players) players over his last two seasons that wanted to play for him, but the administration turned down. Other factors included not having a contract extension signed, the lack of administration support during the Hufnagel debacle and no clear path to having a practice facility(that is a Huge factor in many recruiting decisions right or wrong). He was and is a very good devoted coach whom the players almost universally respected and appreciated his demanding approach (both on the court and in the classroom)
+1

Martin wasn't the guy but the KIND of guy that I really do believe will ultimately be the kind of coach that can win a cal - a guy who can relate to kids from the East Bay, who plays hard nose basketball, and who has NBA experience so he can talk about what it takes, what is realistic, and the value of education and school for making it.

Yeah - I actually think that ROMAR is the kind of guy who could also just kill it at Cal. Depending on the fox experiment (and how he does at Pepperdine) i hope that we kick the tires on Lorenzo.
Take care of your Chicken
Professor Harold Hill
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If your goal is just to write articles worthy of CGB, maybe you should do that.

If you can't even be troubled to re-read your own material to check for errors, why should anyone pay this site to read your opinions.

P.S. Mark Fox doesn't care what you think. You are not remotely on his radar.
RedlessWardrobe
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Professor Harold Hill said:

If your goal is just to write articles worthy of CGB, maybe you should do that.

If you can't even be troubled to re-read your own material to check for errors, why should anyone pay this site to read your opinions.

P.S. Mark Fox doesn't care what you think. You are not remotely on his radar.
Whoa, Mr. "professor" take a step back and chill for a minute.

With all due respect:
Who the hell are you?

If your goal is to get on this board and just slam somebody, at least have the decency to be a tad bit more specific in your reason for doing it. i.e. "material errors" - would it be too much to explain what you're referring to?

Also isn't it just possible that the title of the article was more symbolic than something to be taken completely literally?

I for one, thought the article was quite interesting. If you respond I would appreciate it if your statements are a little more analytical and a little less emotional. Thanks.
HoopDreams
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4thGenCal said:

Good post and accurate, too many people on this string rip on Cuonzo for leaving us high and dry and not really understanding the factors that led him to leave. He wanted to build a winner here (his wife LOVED the area) and he decided to leave mainly because he had several (5 players) players over his last two seasons that wanted to play for him, but the administration turned down. Other factors included not having a contract extension signed, the lack of administration support during the Hufnagel debacle and no clear path to having a practice facility(that is a Huge factor in many recruiting decisions right or wrong). He was and is a very good devoted coach whom the players almost universally respected and appreciated his demanding approach (both on the court and in the classroom)
I liked Martin as our coach, and saw the issues that would frustrate any coach

however his swing for the fences strategy didn't work, and we ended up with lack of depth and talent surrounding the big 5 stars we signed

But who are the big recruits that he successfully recruited but got turned down by the admin/admissions? If one of them was the player who stayed local, and then transferred, not sure that the admin was wrong on that one

willing to listen, as this is new info to me
Chapman_is_Gone
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RedlessWardrobe said:

Professor Harold Hill said:

If your goal is just to write articles worthy of CGB, maybe you should do that.

If you can't even be troubled to re-read your own material to check for errors, why should anyone pay this site to read your opinions.

P.S. Mark Fox doesn't care what you think. You are not remotely on his radar.
Whoa, Mr. "professor" take a step back and chill for a minute.

With all due respect:
Who the hell are you?

If your goal is to get on this board and just slam somebody, at least have the decency to be a tad bit more specific in your reason for doing it. i.e. "material errors" - would it be too much to explain what you're referring to?

Also isn't it just possible that the title of the article was more symbolic than something to be taken completely literally?

I for one, thought the article was quite interesting. If you respond I would appreciate it if your statements are a little more analytical and a little less emotional. Thanks.
He's a troll who joined in early March and has done nothing but post on the topic of politics. Ignore it.
RedlessWardrobe
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Got it. Thx.
oskidunker
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Maybe the Professor from Gilligans Island.
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