Tag Archives: Cuonzo Martin

PacHoops Two-A-Days: The Bay Schools (Cal & Stanford)

We’re finally previewing the Pac-12. This week, the last before games actually tip, I’ll post two previews of travel mates (i.e. UW and WSU will appear in the same post) and, in the interest of being fully prepared for Friday’s hoop joy, I’ll post two-a-day. Thus the title. Although it’s 4 previews-a-day. Regardless. Enjoy. (Other school previews)

California Preview


We’re entering year three with Cuonzo which is his average tenure. He stayed three years at Missouri State before earning a Sweet Sixteen and a ticket to Knoxville where petitions were started to oust him. The people demand Bruce Pearl! And now we’re here. He’s got an outbound lottery pick, a four-year-five-star, a Columbia grad transfer, and Marcus Lee on the bench. His athletic department has significant deficits but Cuonzo got a contract. Alas, that’s a grim outline for what’s generally viewed as a promising season. The Bears were picked to finish 4th this season and, despite my run down, all can’t be bad in Berkeley (I have friends that live there!).

Last season on “Everybody Love Cuonzo”

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Week 15 PacHoops Pac-12 Power Rankings. All Quiet on the Western Front.

I spent the Pac-12 week on the East Coast and I maintain a West Coast bias. That said, it was mostly quiet on the Western Front as the conference’s top-4 teams established themselves as…the top-4 teams. Of course Utah asserted themselves on the road and Cal did something they’d never done before. We’re 2 weeks away from some definitive answers but I’m not comfortable pretending like I know anything.


1a. Oregon

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Podcast of Champions. The Dawgs will have their day.

We got together with old friend of the pod and real friend in real life, Jamie, to chat during Utah’s home (shocker) win over Cal. Having noted that fact, be warned that there are asides to discuss Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Sam Singer, Brandon Taylor as well as the game’s score. No spoilers, the contest is over. We also dove into the impending reality of the Washington Huskies, which unblemished home team will stumble first, Spencer’s heated take on court storming, an aside to the national scope of CBB, and a tangent on court appearances.

Per usual: subscribe on iTunes and feel free to tweet me ANY of your concerns, questions, or dreams.

Podcast of Champions. Hellllo Hardwood

Early in this episode (S3:E1), Spencer and I promise a rebrand. It wasn’t a significant one but here’s the first edition of Spencer and me speaking as the Podcast of Champions. But you might also still find us as WANE. let’s leave the branding for another time, we’ve got hoops to discuss. Here’s the first podcast of the 2015-16 season:

And here’s what you need to know about this podcast.

I wanted to guide our conversation, use some parameters to determine how we’d discuss each team. We talk about it in the podcast but I thought some literature might assist. We took the KenPom predicted rankings (which admittedly don’t include certain metrics like transfers and most recruits) and let an over/under thought drive the discussion. We paid no heed to whether we tracked too many overs and too few unders. I think, by my rough re-listening math, everyone in the conference is going to finish above 10-wins. Nevertheless, every team discussed. Enjoy.

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2015-16 California Basketball Preview: The great golden hype

If you’ve spent any time parousing the world wide web, you’ve likely come across a comments section, message board, or tweet surrounding the NCAA legality of Cal’s most recent recruiting class. A brief history lesson on California sports and its fiscal management before we return to even greater levels of reality:

Cal has always stunk at money. They announced the elimination of five sports due to budget constraints in 2010 (including their Rugby program and its 26 titles and the baseball program which would go on to the 2011 CWS and is arguably a better Bay Area budget underdog than Moneyball). Financing of their upgraded Cal Memorial Stadium has been widely criticized, an upgrade balked at while Jeff Tedford had Cal football on the cusp of Rose Bowls. Todd Bozeman was a coach at Cal.

Now please remove your foil hat and come in close for this: Cal did a great job recruiting. They secured the third ranked class in the country and they didn’t send a bagman with the heaviest satchel into anyone’s living room. Of course Yanni Hufnagel could be throwing Dre McGee-esque parties starring the Madame of Berkeley and none of us – especially Cuonzo – know anything about. But this is recruiting. Grow up Peter Pan, Count Chocula. These are kids making decisions with a ton of whispers and shouts in their ears. Nothing is given. Nothing should be expected. Yes a kid from Marietta, Georgia can play at Cal. It’s happened before. And yes a kid from Oakland can play at Cal. It’s happened before. Coach Cuonzo Martin has got one helluva basketball team and they’re going to play at Virginia. Tune in. Ultimately I don’t care if this team’s Scout.com page looks like the Milky Way – it’s time to compete and this is a team sport played across 30+ games. Nothing has been awarded these Bears. Most certainly nothing earned.

What I love about them

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The Drive Ep 4 Recap: Cuonzo’s Noises and Johnny’s Threats

I can’t confirm the immediate intro jams – we’re talking striking college scenery not Wooden statues and Boyle barking – but I feel none were as fitting as this week’s. Stereotyping can be funny so acoustic tunes conjuring be-dreadlocked coeds frolicking in the hills of Berkeley’s campus was notable. It felt right. Certainly more than any other school’s introduction.

And when we’re invited into the basketball side of Berkeley, well I don’t know what the hell. We first see the team standing around coach. They’re just standing around and the first thing Cuonzo says is, “Anybody ready to quit?” Quit what? Everyone’s just standing there. He continues inaudibly as he lightly bends at the hips, looking almost the part of a hobbled man with a cane. It doesn’t look like Cuonzo Martin. He continues inaudibly to his audience that won’t quit but has go to be grossly confused until you hear him say, “wobble.” And old-man-looking Cuonzo’s leg give a slight tremble. He straightens, “Now are we on the same page?” I watched this 4x. Continue reading

Eight Observations From Inside Haas Pavilion

From inside the Haas Pavilion for Cal-Stanford, I observed things. This is what I went home thinking about after an entertaining 69-59 Cardinal win.

1) Basketball Players are Big

I laud you to finagle yourself into excellent basketball tickets. They are a dish best served free so always say ‘yes’ when offered tickets. It remains my life’s greatest regret that I adhered to a study schedule (yes, that was a component of college life for me) rather than accept the owner (owner, as in: Man who shelled out cash to make decisions) of the San Diego Padres’ tickets. Of note, I did not study and watched the entire game on television. I digress. When you’re up close for a basketball game you get to see exactly how seven feet fills up a lane. Suddenly, ‘points in the paint’ isn’t a statistic, it’s a goddamn Purple Heart. Length isn’t so much a draft component, it’s the tentacles of The Kraken.

2) Adam’s an Architect

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Week 2 Pac-12 Hoops Preview: CFP Mentions

Before we get too serious with things, I want to remind all Oregon fans that there are two games this weekend – in Eugene – and their attendance would likely be appreciated. That said, if you’re preoccupied, I’d understand. Hell, Dana Altman might even get it. SCOOOOO BUCKS DUCKS. Allow me to remind you that I’m a heart divided. Grandpa – who’s daughter is featured at the tail of this post – gave me a different Ohio State sweatshirt for the first 13 years of my life. I grew up in scarlet hoodies – for the weekend a year that I’d wear one in Arizona – and dad telling me what an asshole Woody Hayes was (great story about my dad’s law partner and Woody Hayes, ask me about it some time). But after grandpa, grandma, a buncha cousins, and a video of my mom telling me she’d root for OSU over Arizona (her alma mater) I have some really good Duckships (which is friendships with Duck fans). Am I split? Probably not. Let’s talk Monday around 10 PST. I love all y’all.

Week 2 Preview:

Game of the Week

The obvious call here is the first ever CFP championship game in which Oregon or Ohio State will arguably earn themselves the moniker of MOST DESERVING COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPION EVER. That’s literally what I’ll run with. In the hoops world this is – to be honest – a really uninteresting week of Pac-12 basketball. Can we say that in week two? Am I supposed to hype something that’s unhypable? Neverthless, I think the game I’m most interested in is Stanford’s visit to UCLA. It’s doesn’t feature the two best teams to face off or arguably anything even that close to it. But Stanford came it at #3 in our Power Rankings this week suggesting, they’re good. Good enough to beat UCLA in Pauley. For UCLA, that would be six straight. Reeling. Conversely, this would be a really big win for a team that needs a really big win. The Bruins are capable of doing it but will they? I’ll be watching to see if Bryce Alford can connect on his first three point bucket of 20-Quinceañera.

Game to Avoid

This one’s pretty clear to me but if you disagree, you have the opportunity to channel hop. Simulcast with our GotW – Thursday at 6pm PST on FS1 – will be Arizona State’s visit to Corvallis. While I like what Oregon State is doing with Tinkle Time, and think this is one of their best opportunities at a distinguishing win, I really don’t think this is remotely must-see. You can probably save yourself the thumbing, stick to ESPN and the ‘Furd-UCLA game, and use TV timeouts for things like the restroom or calisthenics.

Something to Prove

Sorry to be redundant but it’s got to be UCLA here. They’re losers of five straight and in unimpressive fashion. But, because I’m not going to harp on one team throughout our Week 2 Preview, the team with the most to prove could be the Oregon Ducks. On WANE this week, Spencer and I talked about this being a sleeping giant (can you call a team that mid-season? I feel like that’s a phrase reserved for the “Program” level and perennially used to make ASU football fans feel good). The Ducks have played well for the most part and host the Wildcats who haven’t won in Eugene since 2010 (which is misleading because it was December 30th 2010 but nevertheless it’s been quite awhile).

Also going to give a Colorado mention. They played better against the LA schools, got a kick in the emos from Xavier Johnson, did it all without Josh Scott (whom they’ll get back tonight at Utah) and won’t be lost in the thin air of Salt Lake. Further, they’d kicked the demons of never beating UCLA so why not this curse, too:

Something to Lose

UCLA? Nah. OK but seriously. UCLA. But for serious, we’re so early and the schedule is so light that there isn’t much for people to lose. If forced to pick – and I’m forcing myself to pick – I’m going with the Cal Bears. After a big win over UW they lost to WSU suggesting anything is possible. So losing to USC on the heels of that would be bad. Malo if you’re speakin’ Spanish.

Texts from Family Members

This is our newest feature where I text my mom or another family member about the happenings of last week’s Pac-12 to see what she or they have to say. I already can’t wait for next week:


And We’re Back: A Run Through Weekend Pac-12 Hoops

Nice to be back. I’m not about to walk us through my Friday night. I already exposed you to too much of my life in last week’s essay. So rather than tell you I absorbed pizza and beer and two screens worth of Pac-12 hoops, let’s just run through some astute observations and leap to gross conclusions about the season based off of one weekend. Rational? I just watched Interstellar so it’s all relative.

NorMAN Powell

I only watched the first half of UCLA’s Friday game because they won by 1000 and the opening minutes of Sunday’s because of 2 hours and 45 minutes of hoping Matthew McConaughey would run into Cyrus the big bull in Space. But when I was tuned in I saw Norman Powell – he who we know needs to be an Alpha Bruin – swallow a rebound, run coast-to-coast, absorb contact and finish with utter authority. He’s Cyrus the bull, taking 15 FTs en route to 25 points on Friday. He perhaps cooled off on Sunday but not much, still collecting 13 points. Continue reading

THREE FOR BART: Cuonzo, Tim, Homeless

  1. Cal’s Cuonzo Martin product of tough environment – And it shows. Well, I gathered as much in just a morning with the man but in what little interactions we had (he was leaving the kitchen as I was entering and he shook the two hands in front of me and then we awkwardly looked at each other and just carried on) the man carries that toughness. Repeatedly he discussed being comfortable while uncomfortable and getting outside of one’s comfort zone. He wants his team going hard at all times. Here’s why.
  2. Tim Miles denied position with Nebraska student group after humorous application – This is gold, utter gold, and reminds me of this blog post from Minnesota’s Richard Pitino. Always love it when coaches not only break the barrier, but do so in a human way.
  3. College basketball’s only ‘homeless’ team finds humor in misfortune – They say you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and this squad has mastered just that. They’ll be stronger and better and – in a completely unrelated note – I’ve really enjoyed the off-the-beaten-path stories Eisenberg has been sharing in the lead to this season. Really good stuff.