NCAA

Cal picked 2nd in Pac-12 media poll, Stanford 6th

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Cal picked 2nd in Pac-12 media poll, Stanford 6th

The Pac-12 men's basketball preseason media poll was announced on Friday, and the California Golden Bears have been picked to finish 2nd, and the Stanford Cardinal 6th.

In 2009-2010, Mike Montgomery's second season at Cal, the Bears were the preseason pick to win the league. They backed it up by winning the school's first conference title since 1960.
RELATED: Montgomery had cancer surgery

The Bears are led by the trio of Jorge Gutierrez, Harper Kamp, and Allen Crabbe. Of the 10 players named to the All-Conference team last season, Gutierrez is one of two players who returned to school. The other is UCLA's Reeves Nelson.

"I like our basketball team," Montgomery said at Pac-12 Media Day Friday morning. "We're not too worried about what anybody else thinks about us. I think we've got to stay healthy. We've got to develop some depth, and we've got to have our key people perform, which I don't think is unusual that anybody would say anything differently."

Stanford's sixth-place projection is the highest since 2007-2008 when it was tabbed 5th. Led by Brook and Robin Lopez, the Cardinal exceeded expectations, finished 2nd behind UCLA, and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

REISS: Pac-12 Hoops -- What to look for in '11-'12

Stanford will be paced by Josh Owens, Anthony Brown, and Dwight Powell. Jeremy Green, an All-Conference selection last year, elected to forego his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. He went undrafted.

"We are very excited about the season. I thought our kids have done a great job this preseason of working hard to get better. I thought it started last spring and continued through the summer and through our trip to Spain, in which our team got closer."

Both the Cal and Stanford Basketball Preview shows will air on CSNBayArea in early November.

In addition, CSNBayArea.com will release the Stanford Basketball 2011-2012 Preview on Thursday, November 10, and the Cal Basketball 2011-2012 Preview on Friday, November 11.

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

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STANFORD.COM

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

Bob Murphy, who was the voice of Stanford athletics when such titles truly mattered in the Bay Area, died Tuesday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 86.

Murphy was viscerally connected to the university in ways that were once in vogue across the nation but are now reserved only to the Midwest and Southeast. He was a walking ambassador for the school’s athletic history, a familiar face to the army of alums who linked to his voice and presence early and ultimately grew old with him, even when coaches and players and athletic directors came and went with unsettling frequency.

And while his time as the alternate face to Hoover Tower eventually faded, he was still Murph – to be honored and respected by all generations, even the ones who never heard him or saw him. If anyone below the age of 25 asked about him, he was spoken of with the reverence reserved for architectural structures or hundred-year-old trees. He belonged to the place, and the place belonged to him.

He mattered at Stanford, because Stanford is an insular community, watching the world outside with a palpable sense of “Thank God we’re safe in here.” He attended the school, he worked as its sports information director, and he was the radio voice who fought for Stanford when only a few people were listening. He had proven his devotion decades ago, until his devotion became part of the background noise and scenery.

And he didn’t even leave after he became ill, and then absent. Only the most successful coaches and athletes get to attain that omnipresent aura in college athletics, and in truth, Murphy reached more people in the community than any coach or player the school has ever had, simply by being at the place, and of the place, longer and more happily than anyone.

Sometime soon, we suspect, he will be remembered with a statue, either near the football stadium or near Maples Pavilion. He will be bronzed, wearing a polo shirt with the S-with-the-interlocking-tree and glasses wedged against the bridge of his nose. He will be seated, with a desk before him and microphone perched atop it, and there will be a plaque with a Wikipedia-ized list of his contributions.

But without the voice, it will be incomplete. That will have to be recreated inside the heads of those who heard it most often, and cared most what words it carried. It is there where Bob Murphy’s memory will thrive – as someone who defined Stanford in ways that no marketing campaign ever could.

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

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USATI

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.