Giants Insider notes: No more 'Bum' luck


Giants Insider notes: No more 'Bum' luck

May 30, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 7-3 victory over the host Cardinals on Monday at Busch Stadium.

Double duty: Despite having pitched himself out of an early season funk with a series of rock-solid outings, Madison Bumgarner entered the Memorial Day matinee with one win over his past six starts -- all of them "quality." One of the reasons for his "Bum" luck was a lack of run support; the Giants were blanked in two of those games. So in addition to firing seven strong innings to give himself a 2.21 ERA in May, Bumgarner took offensive matters into his own hands to a degree by drilling a leadoff double and scoring to give himself a 2-0 lead in the third. He also was on base, via walk, in the fourth when the game was broken open with one swing of the bat.

Unloading: With the memory of rookie Brandon Crawford's game-breaking grand slam at Milwaukee on Friday still fairly fresh in everyone's mind, Andres Torres did the same thing to Monday's game with a bases-juiced blast off Kyle McClellan, who has been one of the pleasant surprises on the St. Louis pitching staff this season. Torres was anything but surprised by the get-me-over, belt-high fastball McCllellan offered him, pushing the Giants' lead from 3-2 to 7-2.About that kid: Crawford got another start at shortstop and continued to impress on both sides of the ball. His footwork is outstanding, his arm above-average, and if he keeps putting up swings like the one that broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth ahead of Torres' slam, he's going to see his name in the lineup more often than not. Nobody's saying the guy's going to challenge for NL Rookie of the Year, but he looks awfully comfortable as a big leaguer right now. Like he belongs.Truly foul: It cost Bumgarner a couple of runs, but at least it didn't cost the Giants the game. After two quick outs in the bottom of the third, Ryan Theriot hit a legit double into the left-field corner. The subsequent double by Allen Craig was not legit. It was a foul ball, ruled fair by third-base umpire Tim Welke, who chose not to heed the animated advice of San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy and ask for help on the line-hugger. Craig's "double" scored Theriot, and Albert Pujols followed with a gorgeous piece of hitting -- a shot into right field -- to tie the game. Random thought: Don't the Giants feel like a way better team on the days that Cody Ross homers? His shot in the second inning opened the scoring.Ramirez in a rut: Remember when right-handed hitters had a better shot at picking up a rattlesnake with his teeth than getting a hit off Ramon Ramirez? Gone. At least lately. Pujols' Pujolsian home run off Ramirez in the eighth inning was victory No. 6 for the hitters in the past eight Ramirez-vs.-righties battles.

New Cal coach Wyking Jones ready to prove critics wrong amid changes


New Cal coach Wyking Jones ready to prove critics wrong amid changes

Even the most passionate Cal fan might struggle to name a single player on the current basketball roster. The team's top five leading scorers from last season have all departed. Ivan Rabb and Jabari Bird moved on to the NBA, Grant Mullins graduated, and both Charlie Moore and Kameron Rooks elected to transfer.

But perhaps the most significant change is on the sideline. Out is Cuonzo Martin, who agreed to a massive seven-year contract with Missouri, worth a reported $21 million. Replacing him is 44-year-old Wyking Jones, a longtime assistant coach, who spent the past two seasons as Martin's top aide in Berkeley.

Jones' promotion was met with heavy criticism from many in the media, both locally and nationally. Skeptics believe Cal settled for the cheap option, rather than the best option. But why can't both be true? There's no denying that salary played a factor in the hire - the athletic department's financial troubles have been well documented in recent years. But Jones impressed Athletic Director Mike Williams in other areas too, reportedly acing his job interview with a detailed plan for the program moving forward. And unlike the other candidates, Jones already has direct experience dealing with Cal's unique set of circumstances.

“It's not something that you can walk into and just get a really good grasp of,” Jones explained. “It's a learning curve that, if you walk into this situation for the first time, it would take you a tremendous amount of time. Knowing who to go to when you need things, who's in charge of this, who's in charge of that, just having a familiarity of how to really get things done around here.”

Jones also discovered the challenges of recruiting at a school like Cal, where not every athlete can qualify academically. While many coaches would view that as a negative, Jones chooses to embrace it.

“In my mind, that's what makes this place special,” he said. “It's the number one public institution in the world for a reason. Your recruiting pool shrinks quite a bit, but that's okay because typically what happens is if you get a kid who has a lot of discipline on and off the court, you're not going to run into troubles on the weekends when they're in the dorms. They're usually kids who have a lot of respect for the community and other students.”

From a coaching standpoint, Jones has unquestionably paid his dues in the world of college basketball. Prior to joining Cal as an assistant in 2015, he made stops at Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount, where he also played from 1991-95. Now, after nearly 15 years in collegiate coaching, Wyking Jones is a head coach.

“I think initially it's very exciting to have an opportunity to coach, have your own program at a storied program like Cal, to follow in the footsteps of some great coaches,” he said, smiling. “But now the smoke has cleared and it's time to get to work.”

That work has already begun. As previously mentioned, Jones will have to replace his top five scorers from a year ago, who accounted for nearly 56 points per game. The Bears will count on increased production from senior center Kingsley Okoroh and junior guard Don Coleman. They will also rely heavily on redshirt senior forward Marcus Lee, who sat out last season after transferring from Kentucky.

“It's an adjustment, for sure,” Jones admitted. “But you have 13 scholarships for a reason. It's just an opportunity for the guys who are still here to earn their scholarship. It's an opportunity for them to make a name for themselves and have an impact on this program.”

Under Cuonzo Martin, Cal established itself as one of the best defensive teams in the country. Last season, the Bears ranked 18th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 63.4 points per game. Jones hopes to continue that trend while also implementing a full-court pressure defense, similar to the one he coached at Louisville, which resulted in a national championship in 2013.

“It's a process,” he acknowledged. “In year one, hopefully we can be good at it. In year two, look to improve. In year three, hope to be great at it... It's a type of defense, when you're talking about pressing, it's reading all the other guys on the court. It's never scripted. It's being able to read when is the right time to go trap, when is the right time to go switch, when is the right time to bluff and stunt at a guy to slow him down. So there's a learning curve in it.”

Jones knows there will also be a learning curve for him personally as a head coach, especially with such a young and inexperienced roster. He expects his team to be overlooked and undervalued by much of the college basketball world, but that's just fine with him.

“I think a lot of people will probably guess that we won't be very good, and that's motivation right there. That's motivation for my staff, for our managers, for the support staff. It's motivation for everybody that's a part of this program to exceed those expectations. So I think that makes for an exciting season.”

Source: Kings to sign Summer League standout to two-way contract


Source: Kings to sign Summer League standout to two-way contract

Jack Cooley must have made a good impression on the Kings during the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League.

The former Notre Dame will sign a two-way contract with Sacramento, a league source confirmed to's James Ham.

Cooley averaged 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and shot 64 percent over five games during Summer League action.

Cooley had other offers from teams overseas, but is hoping for another shot in the NBA.

Undrafted in 2013, Cooley's only NBA action came with Utah during the 2014-15 season. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 16 games.

News of a deal was first reported by's Chris Reichert.