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Cal Basketball

The Benson Blog: The Energy Shift

February 1, 2024

We play Arizona tonight, in Arizona. 

I’ve been there before, rolling into Tuscon, taking the bus down a 10-lane street called “speedway.” We’d turn past the Jack in the Box and head in to do a shootaround at McHale. It’s cold in there, bro. That added to the drama. 

I’ve been there, getting taped in the back, listening to Barry explain to Braun that Leon wouldn’t be able to go that night. Braun, then turning to Richard and me, expecting us to make up the difference. I’ve been there when 14,000 aging Wildcat fans were screaming a very confusing “BEAR DOWN” so loudly that I couldn’t hear whoever was calling out screens. So much drama. 

I don’t know why, but I have that same feeling today. I’m not even playing, bruh. I just feel like I am. The team has started to look and feel like our teams from the past and it’s connecting me to the experience again. That said, I’m not going to sit here and say that I ever won a game down there. I did not. I very famously did not:

But that was my team. That wasn’t this team. We didn’t have Jaylon Tyson on that team. We didn’t have Aimaq or Kennedy. We didn’t have someone who played like Cone, or defended like Newell. We didn’t have Madsen to get us hyped before the game. We had a bunch of Juniors who were under the age of 21 trying their best. And still we were hyped. There was drama.

Tonight, we may win, we may lose, but doesn’t it feel nice to not really know? That there might be drama? Like, for real, we could win. And if somehow we did, it would set up a chance at our first ever sweep of the desert schools. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m getting way ahead of myself but isn’t that fun, too?

One thing that’s been difficult is that I have to talk about the team when they’re down bad. But what’s dope is how hard I can brag after a couple nice wins. I can definitely get hyped when we beat Leland Stanfurd Jr U (paging Casey Jacobsen). And I am certainly gonna go dumb if we even play a close game tonight. It’s my right that’s been denied to me for the last few years. 

But that’s all changing. We had a “gold out” in the last game (still unsure if it was a sellout 😂). We have one of, if not the best players in the conference. And we have guys like Jaylen Brown paying attention. Well, he reposted a video of a painting I did, but he’s never interacted with me before. Something must be changing, ya dig?

So, with the full might of the Bear Basketball force, let’s bring this energy to the team tonight, and the rest of the season, because they need that energy when you roll up to McHale. It’s cold in there. But also because it’s recruiting season soon, and recruits can tell when a team goes from cold to hot.

Btw if you like the Jaylen painting, I made some prints by request and they’re available on Go Bears!

Rod Benson


Discussion from...

The Benson Blog: The Energy Shift

1,841 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by HoopDreams
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Lots of great content today from Rod heading into tonight's road game vs Arizona
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That artwork is sick! Love the momentum and energy heading into this series.
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Great post, Rod. You are echoing a lot of the energy thoughts I've been having recently, especially since this feeling has been dormant with Cal basketball for many years now. It's good to know it was still there, just waiting to resurface!

Tonight is a monumental task, but the only thing I can guarantee is that our guys are going to give their entire selves to the game and the team. Go Bears!

Btw - I love Casey Jacobsen catching strays, this needs to become a weekly activity
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Great story teller, the graphics and production is new level

LOL on the post game interview stuff

Quick note on the book... one of the interesting things in the book is a walk down memory lane about the personal technologies (e.g. phones) over this period of time

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