The Cuonzo Martin Era at Cal a legacy of incompleteness


The Cuonzo Martin Era at Cal a legacy of incompleteness

Cuonzo Martin is leaving California, either for the greener currency and greater term (seven years) at Missouri. He wasted fewer than 15 hours since the Golden Bears’ embarrassing NIT beating by Cal State Bakersfield to tell his players he’s three and done.
Three, as in years, making Martin the shortest tenured coach in 97 at Berkeley and abruptly ending a stage in his career that never quite fit anyone right.
Martin’s last act, if it is such, was watching his team lay down against Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night. Without Ivan Rabb (knee/NIT-it is) or Jabari Bird (concussion), their fleeting incentive against the Jackrabbits fled, and they went down with a thudding bad-jumper-laden ignominy.
But Martin was never an entirely cheery fit in Berkeley anyway. Between the school’s initial reluctance to give a formalized contract (he finally got one, and then an extension that takes him to 2020-21), and the general lack of atmospherics around the program despite three consecutive winning seasons, his time has been (on the verge of was) less than electric.
When compared to his essentially laudatory character and work improving the program’s academic profile, that would seem only mildly relevant, but at Cal, where the financial wolf always seems to be in close proximity to the door, deep tournament runs and a powerhouse football program would seem to be more necessity than luxury. 
And the truth is that Martin needed a greater sense of surety than Cal could provide, and Cal needed that cash-fueled electricity – electricity that the successful recruitment of Rabb and Jaylen Brown (a one-and-done now with the Boston Celtics) couldn’t seem to accomplish. Martin’s 62-39 record in three years is leavened by first round losses in each of the past two seasons, to Hawaii in NCAA Tournament in 2016 and Tuesday night, and both years the customers expected more. Expectations, after all, remain undefeated no matter where you go.
The alternate truth is that Missouri, which just canned Kim Anderson after the three worst years in half a century of Missouri basketball is a qualitatively and quantitatively better job with higher energy levels and expectation demands.
Cal athletic director Mike Williams said in the school press release that Martin had “a strong desire to move closer to home,” and while that could be either his childhood home in East St. Louis, his coaching home in Missouri or his last job at Tennessee (the Southeastern Conference), the money is also reportedly much better – perhaps by as much as 50 percent.
That he didn’t engage Cal about a potential extension is an indication that he (a) either knew that a year after his last one he was probably not going to get it, or more likely (b) that he just wanted out despite having four more years on his current contract.
In other words, there are jobs and then there are jobs, and in the college basketball diaspora, Cal is mostly just another job – successful, but not successful enough to change the school’s essential football-first profile or the area’s pro-sport-first profile. And while Cal has to figure out how to get around UCLA, Oregon and Arizona, Missouri has to figure out how to get around Kentucky, which has the strength of three programs on its own.

And in other other words, there are contracts and there are contracts. Cal is still not a high profile revenue generator as major programs go, and has been debt-strapped for years now. Missouri, on the other hand, essentially emptied out for Martin, and that talks just as loud.
His legacy? A .613 winning percentage, two postseason losses (Hawaii in the NCAAs a year ago and the CS Bakersfield debacle), two five-star recruits that could have changed the program, and a legacy of incompleteness that reveals Cal’s essential big-time-athletics flaw.
There are at least 50 athletics programs which are much bigger, and that is not likely to ever change.

Ex-Warriors, Kings coach withdrawns from consideration for Cal job


Ex-Warriors, Kings coach withdrawns from consideration for Cal job

BERKELEY — Nevada coach Eric Musselman said Wednesday he has withdrawn his name for consideration for the coaching vacancy at California, committed to continuing to build the Wolf Pack program after the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007 in his second season.

Musselman's team captured the Mountain West Conference regular-season crown and tournament title, a program first. The Wolf Pack lost in the first round of the NCAAs to fifth-seeded Iowa State last week as a No. 12 seed to finish 28-7. While he originally signed a five-year contract through the 2019-20 season, Musselman is working to finalize a new five-year deal that would keep at the school for the long haul.

"My family and I are so excited about Nevada," he said in a text message to The Associated Press. "I love our players and the bond we have created as a team and on campus and in the community."

The 52-year-old Musselman interviewed in Berkeley for the Cal opening to replace Cuonzo Martin, who resigned from the Golden Bears last Wednesday and was named Missouri's new coach the same day. Martin was formally introduced Monday.

Cal is not announcing the names of anyone brought in to interview for the head coaching vacancy.

Cal's Ivan Rabb declares for NBA Draft, plans to finish education


Cal's Ivan Rabb declares for NBA Draft, plans to finish education

BERKELEY — California star Ivan Rabb will declare for the NBA draft, a move that has been expected since the season began.

The sophomore star announced his decision Wednesday through the school. He says, "After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to forego my remaining NCAA eligibility and enter the NBA draft."

While Rabb says the timing is right to turn his attention to a professional career, he plans to finish school eventually — a promise he made to himself and his mother.

The 6-foot-11 sophomore forward was Cal's second-leading scorer at 14.0 points and top rebounder averaging 10.5 boards for the Golden Bears, who lost to Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the NIT last week without him. Rabb was listed out with a foot injury.

Former coach Cuonzo Martin resigned the next day to become Missouri's new coach.