I went to the showdown at Haas on Thursday night with a good crew and discovered a few things.
- Cal is not a basketball school
- Colorado is for real
- Soft pretzel trumps nachos
- The best Haas Pavilion parking spot
- Andre Roberson will be drafted in 2013
It was indeed a great night and now I’ll elaborate, discovery-by-discovery.
1. Cal is not a basketball school – Granted, it was a late start (8pm) but it was also the Thursday before a three day weekend so who was really going to get any work done Friday? Haas got to about 65% capacity with first place on the line and rarely recognized their cheering moments. The crowd’s greatest effort to get into the game came with a West-to-East: “GO!” … “BEARS!” call and response. This got the volume up and the fans approaching vertical but it also came as Allen Crabbe toed the line at a critical juncture in this battle of conference leaders. Bad timing if you ask me. But the Cal fans were comfortable and looked good. Thusly fulfilling the goal of the arena/pavilion’s namesake, Walter A. Haas, Jr. the philanthropic San Franciscan who ran Levi Strauss for some twenty years. However, I firmly believe that Monty will begin putting butts in the seats just like Haas made butts look good in jeans. He’s got a good thing going in Berkeley and it’s a fan base that I believe wants to erupt.
2. Colorado is for real – In an interview with Jeff Eisenberg, Tad Boyle said he wanted his team to play defense and rebound to remain atop the conference. He didn’t mention that he wanted to shoot the ball well or not turn the ball over – both of which his team didn’t do Thursday night. Getting back to the his remarks, Boyle’s Boys play some tight defense and move well. It may not be the prettiest brand of basketball but Carlon Brown has some skills and there is a supporting group there understanding their supplementary roles to the Brown-show. Andre Roberson fills in nicely for any defensively minded team as he’s incredibly versatile on that side of the ball. I like that the Buffs are making the Ski Trip a lot more than a bunny slope and I think – particularly considering their forthcoming recruiting class – that Colorado is for real for 2012 and beyond. Welcome to the conference.
3. Soft pretzel trumps nachos – This may be a given but when your diet for the day consisted of coffee, a scone, animal crackers, and some beers, soft pretzel definitively trumps nachos. The key here, of course, is to garner a bite-for-cheese agreement. If you can pull this off – and I did – you’re in the money. This purchase got me through to the post game meal at Triple Rock Brewery; a must if you’re ever in Berkeley and a need if you haven’t eaten all day. Try the A-B-S burger and the IPA. Legit.
4. The best Haas Pavilion parking spot – Not telling.
5. Andre Roberson will be drafted in 2013 – Sure, this too may be a given but to see him in person is to see what scouts talk about when they talk about length. He can grab anything. The lanky sophomore swallowed fourteen boards and guarded nearly every position on the floor. Athleticism for days. He had a tip dunk where he appeared to hover for half the shot clock awaiting the ball out of the cylinder (debatable whether he waited long enough but filthy nonetheless). He highlighted his night, however, late in the second half with a drawn up isolation play from the wing. The Buffs cleared out and Roberson used a jab then drive for an easy layup. It was impressive and demonstrated just what how high a ceiling he has. His shot is less than pretty but he has time still (I did say 2013, yeah?). Worth noting in this section is the block Carlon Brown put on the Bears during a fastbreak. There unfortunately isn’t any footage I could find (someone in this league has gotta get ranked) but anytime someone gets pinned above the square it’s gotta get mentioned.