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Cal Basketball

The Benson Blog: Season Wrap

March 25, 2024
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Cal fam, that was a season, huh?

It was just over a year ago that Fox was fired. Remember that? I was sitting in my studio with my hands in the air like “welp.”

But it was on April 9th that Mark Madsen was hired and a few weeks later that the hype began. I wrote in one of my earliest blogs that the team felt like they could go .500 and, in the end, they ended up being about that good. 

This wasn’t because of talent, though. This year's team felt at times like they were as talented as anyone. After watching the NCAA tournament, I’m even more convinced. Every Pac-12 team in there won their first game. I don’t have any doubt that we could have as well. Doubling down, I still say with the utmost confidence that Tyson is going to have a shot to succeed at the NBA level.

So, what went wrong?

In the scope of the entire season, nothing. Every team has major ups and downs, and our team was no different. The difference with us was that we were thrown together at the last minute, so some of our problems showed themselves more plainly than other teams. 

To me, it was all chemistry. There were guys from last year who were held back in a major way by Fox, who left them underdeveloped and lacking in confidence. I know their “star ratings” were lower, but as a former 3 star, I don’t believe in all that. I think most players have a real shot to improve when they reach the collegiate level, and Fox did those guys no favors.

Then there were the transfers. These dudes came in like The Avengers damn near. With each new signing, a different social media post about their accolades and possibilities, and talks of how much each player was worth in NIL terms. On one side, these guys were given a ton of pressure to turn around one of the worst college basketball programs in history. On the other hand, these guys were thrown into the faces of the returning players. I can’t speak for them, but I can’t imagine the calvary arriving to “save” me would be high on my list of wishes.  

Then there were the recruits from last season (Brown), who came into this dynamic just trying to find a lane. He did what he could to find his lane, but often it was forced in a way that indicates a dude who didn't know when to give in to whom. 

This all showed up early on in the season, especially on defense. To me, the teams who are the tightest play the best defense. There's a level of trust and communication that comes with it. We were lacking in that department big time, until…

Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it’s over and he’s gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can’t say we’d be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I’ve been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It’s just that simple. 

Caption

Now it’s time to reload damn near everything. I know the portal is a stressful time, and then recruiting and all of that. But I’m not as worried as everyone else, simply because every team is facing the same pressure and often they won’t deliver. There isn’t infinite money to keep funding and growing NIL-related costs. 

I saw a graphic after the Yale win about how their NIL budget is 1/10 of Auburn and they won. That’s not to glorify having no money, it’s to say that the teams with solid communities, fan bases, infrastructure, and graduation opportunities will always be able to compete with the biggest of boys. And each time a team with all that cash loses, the media will call out if it’s all worth it.

Regardless, we will have a whole new set of dudes to learn about soon and track and support. My personal opinion is that player retention and development is going to be key going forward, so I’m going to throw my full force at these kids to show them that they can find a home at Cal for all four years if they choose to stay. I’ve tapped in with our recruiting guys to try to build better social connections with our targets and get them hyped on what we offer: family.

Since we are in the offseason, The Rodcast on BI will drop to once a month with all the same type of coverage. To make up for this and to have a space to create content and connect with you all and the recruits, I’ll be doing frequent drops on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ZSORRYON). It’s free to jump in, but some of the bigger video stuff will be subscriber (blah blah I have to pay my rent) 😂. Like I said, the BI stuff will continue into the new season, but I’m about to go next-level on my Patreon. No rules, just whatever I feel like saying or dropping at any time. Could be articles like this. Could be a podcast. Could be me painting something random. 

Aight folks, until next time.

Related:

The Rodcast: Next Steps

Discussion from...

The Benson Blog: Season Wrap

2,448 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 18 days ago by calumnus
oskidunker
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"Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it's over and he's gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can't say we'd be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I've been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It's just that simple"

The why was everyone including Madsen singing his praises? Everyone I sit with knew we were worse and slower when he played yet announcers constantly bemoaned. Poor Cal having to play without him l We started feeling we must be stupid and not seeing what our eyes did.
Go Bears!
bearsandgiants
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You're a gift that keeps on giving. Go Bears!
dha
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It seems to me that the biggest problem for this Cal team was that we lacked any consistent scoring threat, other than Tyson. The team shot 42% from the field and 33% from three ball. Both near the bottom of the Pac-12. You are not going to make the NCAA or NIT with shooting like that. If Tyson leaves for the NBA this season, we are left with an almost a complete rebuild. So far one high school recruit? The ACC is a tougher basketball conference than the Pac 12. Cal will need to be active in the portal and let's hope we can find another Tyson.
Civil Bear
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oskidunker said:

"Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it's over and he's gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can't say we'd be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I've been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It's just that simple"

The why was everyone including Madsen singing his praises? Everyone I sit with knew we were worse and slower when he played yet announcers constantly bemoaned. Poor Cal having to play without him l We started feeling we must be stupid and not seeing what our eyes did.
When Askew went down he was a better defender than Cone.
stu
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Defense is a team thing.
calumnus
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oskidunker said:

"Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it's over and he's gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can't say we'd be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I've been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It's just that simple"

The why was everyone including Madsen singing his praises? Everyone I sit with knew we were worse and slower when he played yet announcers constantly bemoaned. Poor Cal having to play without him l We started feeling we must be stupid and not seeing what our eyes did.


Madsen sings everyone's praises.

These are the same announcers that praised Fox.

We can confirm our observation with the numbers. Askew was our 10th most valuable player. A guard that shot .143 from 3 this year, worst on the team, worse than Bowser. Worst FG% on the team. Perhaps slowed by injuries, but one of our worst defenders.

In two years at Cal he played in 2 wins as a starter: St. Thomas and Cal State Bakersfield.
BeachedBear
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calumnus said:

oskidunker said:

"Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it's over and he's gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can't say we'd be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I've been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It's just that simple"

The why was everyone including Madsen singing his praises? Everyone I sit with knew we were worse and slower when he played yet announcers constantly bemoaned. Poor Cal having to play without him l We started feeling we must be stupid and not seeing what our eyes did.


Madsen sings everyone's praises.

These are the same announcers that praised Fox.

We can confirm our observation with the numbers. Askew was our 10th most valuable player. A guard that shot .143 from 3 this year, worst on the team, worse than Bowser. Worst FG% on the team. Perhaps slowed by injuries, but one of our worst defenders.

In two years at Cal he played in 2 wins as a starter: St. Thomas and Cal State Bakersfield.
The same Bakersfield that humiliated us in the NIT a few years earlier, He was obviously motivated by GLORIOUS VENGEANCE!

As for St Thomas, I have no explanation. LOL
calumnus
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BeachedBear said:

calumnus said:

oskidunker said:

"Askew went down. To me, it was clear as day, and now that it's over and he's gone, I can say it. Man alive, look at our defense before and after he got hurt. I actually think that had he not been on the team at all, we may have had a winning record. I can't say we'd be a lock for the tournament, but I know how one guy can drag things down. I've been that guy before, and I had to be removed. It's just that simple"

The why was everyone including Madsen singing his praises? Everyone I sit with knew we were worse and slower when he played yet announcers constantly bemoaned. Poor Cal having to play without him l We started feeling we must be stupid and not seeing what our eyes did.


Madsen sings everyone's praises.

These are the same announcers that praised Fox.

We can confirm our observation with the numbers. Askew was our 10th most valuable player. A guard that shot .143 from 3 this year, worst on the team, worse than Bowser. Worst FG% on the team. Perhaps slowed by injuries, but one of our worst defenders.

In two years at Cal he played in 2 wins as a starter: St. Thomas and Cal State Bakersfield.
The same Bakersfield that humiliated us in the NIT a few years earlier, He was obviously motivated by GLORIOUS VENGEANCE!

As for St Thomas, I have no explanation. LOL


My guess is more like he once got a speeding ticket in Bakersfield driving home from high school. And he once got a sunburn vacationing in the Virgin Islands.
HoopDreams
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Rod

Thanks for covering the season, and good to hear you're continuing during offseason and will connect with some recruits

BoomTho

RodBenson
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Staff
Thanks

I just spoke to Jalen Cone and he's looking for all the help he can get going forward. If anyone out there knows someone they think could help him in the future, reach out to him. Young man is humble as all hell.

Also I did a breakdown of Aimaqs pro chances on the patreon. Will be updating much more often than I was here. Cheers.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/101144089?utm_campaign=postshare_creator
MoragaBear
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Staff
Re. Jalen, I talked to someone who knows him who said he's a very talented country singer and even has a song he's written that a fairly reputable source wanted to buy but he's holding out for a better opportunity.

If anyone has any contacts in the music business, that could be really helpful.

Also talked to his uncle at the P12 tourney and he may look to play oversees but it's not as easy to get a spot as one might think as there are limits for foreign players on many team's rosters.
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

Re. Jalen, I talked to someone who knows him who said he's a very talented country singer and even has a song he's written that a fairly reputable source wanted to buy but he's holding out for a better opportunity.

If anyone has any contacts in the music business, that could be really helpful.

Also talked to his uncle at the P12 tourney and he may look to play oversees but it's not as easy to get a spot as one might think as there are limits for foreign players on many team's rosters.


Yes, for Americans with no ties to a foreign country,, playing overseas is more competitive than many on this board realize.
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