Saturday, March 03, 2007

NOT THE BEST SENIOR DAY

Defense and Not Much Else (AP/Ben Margot)

Not a great way to finish the year. Losing to the #9 team in the conference (ASU is better than OSU right now) at home and scoring a grand total of 16 points in the second half qualifies as a pretty pathetic sendoff for two memorable Golden Bears. The NIT is now out of reach, barring a 2nd round upset of UCLA at Staples.

Even worse, the Haas crowd was again moribund - on a day when they at least should have shown up to enthusiastically bid adieu to two Golden Bear seniors. The listed attendance was 7900 - I think that's more than a bit of a reach.

Ayinde Ubaka played his last game in Berkeley today. He came to Cal as part of the heralded 2003 recruiting class that was headlined by Leon Powe. Ayinde's the last to go, and he leaves without the conference championship that many anticipated back on signing day.

Like a lot of guards, Ubaka's career was split in two halves. Always fairly steady with the ball, AU became a scorer as a junior last year, and took over several games down the stretch in Cal's run to the Tournament. Some might look at this career and term it a mild disappointment, given that he was a Parade All-American and there was so much optimism about his class. That's a mistake, I think. The good things Cal has done over the past couple of years have been due, in large part, to Ubaka's talents and leadership. That he and his mates didn't win a conference championship is disappointing; but we can point to other problems than the performance of #1. He's been a great Golden Bear, and I wish him well. A shame that he finishes with a 1-8 shooting performance and 3 total points.

Former walk-on Alex Pribble was also honored today. Pribble has been an inspiration to his teammates; for all his limitations, he showed how hard work can transcend potential and earn a handful of Pac-10 starts.

We'll have something up after the season on Coach Braun's future in Berkeley. As most readers know, we're somewhere in the middle of the Great Debate, but finishing the season by shooting 32% against ASU at home doesn't fill us with lots of hope for the future, injuries or no.

Only nine days to spring football practice.

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