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RIP Gene Ransom, Cal basketball legend
The Cal basketball star was killed earlier this week in a drive-by shooting.
Former Cal basketball star and Cal Athletics Hall of Famer Gene Ransom was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on the Oakland freeway earlier this week.
A local star at Berkeley High, Ransom had several major offers before picking Cal, leading to a headline “Edwards lands a giant and he's only 5-foot-8." (Dick Edwards was the Cal men’s basketball coach who recruited Ransom).
Here’s former NBA champion Bill Cartwright talking about his matchup with Ransom at Berkeley High (with some quality gametape).
Here’s a cut of some of Ransom’s interview about the Tournament of Champions (the former major high school state tournament for California basketball), with Ransom drawing comparisons to Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe.
Ransom still holds the record for most minutes played in a Pac-10/12 basketball game at 63.5 in a five-overtime win against Oregon in 1977, scoring 36 points in the process.
"I had three fouls in the first half and picked up my fourth early in the second half," Ransom said, recalling a game played more than half his lifetime ago. "That was my greatest accomplishment, playing another 40 minutes before fouling out."
Ransom averaged 14.8 points per game during his Cal career and led the Bears in assists all three seasons. Ransom played three seasons at Cal before transferring to Nevada after struggling to mesh with new head coach Dick Kuchen. He still ranks in the top-ten all-time in Cal assists with 356.
Ransom would be offered a chance to play with the Harlem Globetrotters, but declined. Ransom would make the Golden State Warriors team but was cut before the season. He then spent several years in the Oakland Athletics farm system (Ransom played both baseball and basketball growing up).
Post-playing career, Ransom dedicated his life to service in the East Bay community. He coached the Berkeley High boy’s team. One of his players (Kevin McGlothen) remembers his coaching style.
"He expected the best out of us. Our team, he coached our freshmen team. We were undefeated that year. He expected us to perform at a high level," said McGlothen.
Ransom also started Reach Your Goals, a Berkeley community team that Ransom co-founded with the goal of shaping young athletes through basketball and community service. In a cruel twist, Ransom had also been involved in "Athletes United for Peace," a local nonprofit working to combat violence in the inner East Bay.
Ransom’s reported killer is in custody. The incident was characterized by police as road rage. It is one of several freeway shooting incidents on the Oakland freeway in the last several months.
Ransom was 65.
We at the Write For California Community express our deepest condolences to the Ransom family. Gene’s son Thaxter released this statement:
"My father was and still is a great man, he was a major influence in the East Bay Area community. He showed love to everyone he met and came across sometimes as a flirt. That was him Gene 'the dream' Ransom. He opened the door for future basketball stars who came out of the Bay Area. He was looked up to and loved by many. I'll never forget him, and will always love him."