Surviving the off-season from hell: DEBUT CAL MONDAY GRAB BAG EXTRAVAGANZA

Finding ways to have fun between now and whenever we're all back in Memorial Stadium

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused countless negative side effects, from tragic loss of life to sobering economic challenges. By far the least important negative impact is that it has made the already challenging task of off season college sports amateur blogging even harder.

To the extent that there is any news, it’s nearly uniformly depressing. Either real-life depressing, like pandemic related news and NCAA bumbling, or fan depressing, like Cal men’s basketball recruiting. Mostly, there’s not enough Cal news to easily sustain consistent columns. And thanks to uncertainty about whether or not we will even HAVE a 2020 season, this off-season might get even longer.

Which means it’s time to get creative.

This space is going to get even sillier, irreverent, and random. I’m going to be trying different ideas, and continuing with whatever works (read: amuses me/you the most). Quick hitting news ‘analysis,’ pointless rankings, random memories, tongue-in-cheek roasts, rants about topics that are actually inconsequential . . . really, anything that will get us from now until when we have actual Cal sports to talk about again.

Cal offers grad transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands

Coleman-Lands is a shooting guard who has played across four seasons at DePaul but has one year of eligibility left after his junior year was cut short by a broken hand. On the plus side, he’s clearly a solid 3-and-D shooting guard. He’s 36% for his career from behind the line and played lots of minutes for a DePaul team that played pretty excellent defense last year. On the down side, he’s not at all a point guard (about 1 assist/game) and he’s attracted some pretty serious offers from other high major competition.

On the depressing side, looking at his DePaul stats reminded me that Charlie Moore used to play for Cal, and remembering that made me sad.

POINTLESS RANKING OF THE WEEK

Pac-12 head coaches, ranked in order of how funny the first page of their Google Image Search is:

  1. David Shaw - Unintentionally hilarious because 10 of the first 22 images are of different David Shaws. 10 years of unprecedented success, and yet David Shaw is still the oatmeal of Pac-12 coaches.

  2. Clay Helton - I hope he’s at USC forever, adding slack jawed pictures to the archives

  3. Chip Kelly - Seeing four different logos on hats is amusing. Just look at that confident expression, that powerful upright gait. There’s no way this isn’t turning out great!

  4. Herm Edwards - The Herm throwback fro and this spectacular side-eye smirk are both excellent, but ultimately still-image Herm can’t even hope to compete with the joy of live action Herm.

  5. Nick Rolovich - Do you think he’ll miss the leis? Also, points for absurd-trophy adjacency.

  6. Justin Wilcox - You're wasting your time with this stupid list when you could be out there getting better?!

  7. Kyle Whittingham - He’s always looking at me like I’ve disappointed him. Hell, I probably have.

  8. Mario Cristobal - Too many pictures of happiness for my taste, but this handlebar-adjacent shot is worth a few points.

  9. Kevin Sumlin - Mostly benign, but bumped up for the sheer earnestness of this headshot.

  10. Jimmy Lake - Too new to have a good archive yet. Any time I search UW-related things I’m overwhelmed with purple.

  11. Karl Dorrell - Boring, and also disappointing because none of the Karl-Dorrell-wih Moustache images came up.

  12. Jonathan Smith - Even more unknown to the outside world than Shaw, but not funny because he’s relatively new and Oregon State is supposed to be anonymous. Still, only 7/25 photos were him, which says something about the importance of west coast football. The Cal rower of the same name is nearly as well known!

This Week in NCAA incompetence/obsolescence

  1. Duh

  2. Everybody knows

  3. Especially the NCAA

  4. Duke got a bargain and will suffer exactly zero consequences

  5. Why must the NCAA drag their feet on any attempts to change this moronic system

RANDOM READER QUESTION OF THE WEEK

If you have a random question you would like me to answer, please leave a comment below and/or tweet me @norcalnickW4C

Women’s basketball

For context’s sake, my time as a dedicated Cal WBB fan began with the Walker/Hampton/Gray-Lawson Bears that turned the entire program around in 2007

PG: Brittany Boyd
W: Layshia Clarendon
W: Alexis Gray-Lawson
PF: Ashley Walker
C: Kristine Anigwe

Some may argue that this lineup may lack size at the wings, since I picked one true point guard and two combo-guards. But Walker and Anigwe will hoover up any rebound anyway, and I needed AGL for shooting.

Mostly I just picked the five best players I saw play at Cal, with deep apologies to a ton of great post players (Reshanda Gray, Talia Caldwell, Devanei Hampton, Gennifer Brandon) who didn’t quite make the cut.

Men’s basketball

I was already thinking about this because of a fun-but-flawed Cal MBB instragram post:

Which of these Golden Bears-turned-NBA players is in your lineup? Drop your all-Cal NBA Starting 5 in the comments below 👇
May 5, 2020

Leaving out the $1 row makes this hard. If you pick Jason Kidd (by a pretty wide margin the best, most valuable player on the board) your options are limited without a $1 player to compensate. But what if everybody off the board is by definition costing you zero dollars? Behold!

PG: Jerome Randle ($0)
W: Allen Crabbe ($4)
W: Lamond Murray ($4)
PF: Ryan Anderson ($4)
C: Leon Powe ($3)

At 1 through 4 you’ve got perhaps the four of the greatest shooters in Cal history, and all of them can put the ball on the floor. And anchoring it all in the middle is the greatest modern rebounder in program history. Powe would draw so many fouls going up against single team defense surrounded by that kind of shooting. This lineup might be a disaster defensively, but I’m also burning down the net at every Pac-12 gym.

Mostly this is a continuance of my dream of Ryan Anderson staying at Cal for another two years. The 2010 Bears finished third in the country in offensive efficiency and could have, in theory, had Ryan Anderson on the roster!!!