No Luck is bad luck


No Luck is bad luck

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Scott Reiss will be in New York for comprehensive coverage of the awarding of the Heisman Trophy. Follow all the news on SportsNet Central.This Heisman vote is a sham.And before you go accusing the Stanford guy of being a homer, let me state for the record: Robert Griffin III is a deserving Heisman candidate. Hes an electrifying player who has had an incredible season. But if RG3 wins, it will be for two reasons: one good, one ridiculous.The good is obvious: 4,000 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Nine more touchdowns rushing. The ridiculous (and the sham part): The Big 12 had no championship game.Stay with me here. If the Big 12 had a title game, as it did in previous years, Baylor -- which was in the South Division with Oklahoma State -- would not have played in that game. Which means the Bears would have finished their season a week ago. Like Stanford. Like Alabama. And Griffins performance against Texas -- though quite nice -- simply would have been considered a draw with Lucks four-TD effort against Notre Dame and Richardsons 200-plus yards against Auburn.
But because RG3 got to show off his stuff against a mediocre Texas team on Championship Saturday, he got the closing argument. Last change. Final at bat. Pick your metaphor. And again, his team was simply playing a regular-season game.There are two Heisman tracking polls which are considered to be most accurate in predicting the ultimate winner. Prior to Saturday, one had Richardson over Luck by a hair, with Griffin third; the other had Luck over Griffin and Richardson by more than a hair. Yet RG3 was able to completely turn the tide (no pun intended) on the national stage.This is the same phenomenon that occurred in 2009, when Stanford's Toby Gerhart lost out to Alabama's Mark Ingram. Alabama played on the final Saturday, Ingram went for 100-plus yards and three scores, and the tide turned (OK, this time I meant it). Gerhart, by the way, rushed for 200-plus and three scores the week before against Notre Dame. But how can voters be expected to think back that far?Gerharts numbers -- at the same position -- were superior to Ingrams in every way -- by a lot. And dont give me the but Ingram played in the SEC baloney. There were statistical algorithms which accounted for the tougher competition, and Toby still had superior numbers. The result? Ingram by 28 points, the closest vote in Heisman history. You dont think the recency effect (and the fact that Stanford didnt promote its guy at all -- but thats another gripe) might have accounted for that slimmest of margins? Without question it sunk Gerhart, and it might well sink his former teammate.The only silver lining here -- if youre a disgruntled Stanford fan who cringes at the thought of another Alabama running back beating out a Cardinal for the award -- is that this time around, the 'Bama guy is in the same boat. Wisconsin's Montee Ball went nuts in the Big Ten Championship game and surely convinced a bevvy of voters (and rightly so, I would add) that he is, in fact, the best running back in America. The numbers certainly support it (Ball 1,759 yards, 6.4 yardscarry, 32 rushing TDs Richardson 1,583-6.0-20 not even close!), and the recency effect clinches it.The difference between Ball and Griffin is simple: Montee was (unjustly) barely on the grid prior to Saturday; Griffin was already a legit contender. By the way, lest anyone dare try to use my logic against me and argue that, by way of the Ball-Richardson theory, Griffin is more deserving than Luck because his numbers are better, slow your roll (did I really just type that?). The better stats argument is fine for running backs. Quarterbacks need to be evaluated on a completely different level, as there are so many intangibles that come into play. Fortunately, I dont need to make the Luck intangibles argument. David Shaw did a fine job of that last week.So when the announcement is made in Manhattan this coming Saturday, let nothing surprise you. Luck could still win. Richardson could still win. Or Baylor might indeed have its first ever Heisman recipient. And if the latter happens, at least youll know why.

Stanford rallies to beat Notre Dame, punches ticket to Final Four


Stanford rallies to beat Notre Dame, punches ticket to Final Four


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Alanna Smith's jumper with 23 seconds left capped Stanford's rally from a 16-point deficit in the second half, Erica McCall blocked a last-second shot and the Cardinal edged top-seeded Notre Dame 76-75 Sunday to reach its first Final Four since 2014.

Brittany McPhee scored 27 as the second-seeded Cardinal (32-5) won its eighth in a row overall. This was the third straight year Stanford and Notre Dame have met in the NCAA Tournament, with the Cardinal winning twice.

Down 47-31 in the third quarter, Stanford surged to end Notre Dame's 17-game winning streak. The Irish (33-4) had a final shot, but McCall blocked Arike Ogunbowale's drive near the basket.

The win in the Lexington Regional gives Stanford a chance to pursue its third national championship under coach Tara VanDerveer.

Among those in the crowd at Rupp Arena was Jon Samuelson, whose daughter, Karlie, scored 15 for Stanford. A day earlier, he was at the Bridgeport Regional to see another daughter, UConn star Katie Lou Samuelson, help the Huskies win their 110th straight game.

Smith finished with 15 points.

Ogunbowale had 25 and Marina Mabrey 20 for Notre Dame, which had sought its sixth Final Four in seven seasons.

After driving for a basket with 51 seconds left, Smith added her biggest shot for the go-ahead score. Stanford then denied Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen and Ogunbowale on successive attempts in the final 15 seconds to spark a wild celebration.

Stanford once again proved no deficit was too big to overcome. The Cardinal shot 12 of 26 on 3-pointers, Samuelson and McPhee each making five. Not bad, considering Stanford shot 2 of 15 overall in the second quarter while getting outscored 23-7. ... McCall had 15 rebounds.

Notre Dame seemed to do everything right for most of the game but couldn't stop Stanford's perimeter game in the second half. The Irish also made just 11 of 31 shots after halftime and were topped 33-32 on the boards.

Stanford faces the South Carolina-Florida State winner in the Final Four in Dallas next weekend.

Cal promotes Wyking Jones as next head men's basketball coach


Cal promotes Wyking Jones as next head men's basketball coach

BERKELEY – Wyking Jones, who has served the past two seasons as a Golden Bear assistant coach and has nearly 15 years of experience in collegiate coaching, has agreed to become the next men's basketball coach at the University of California. Over the course of his career, he has been a part of teams that have won a national championship and advanced to a pair of Final Fours, set all-time win records and been conference-leading defensive units.

"I am very excited to announce Wyking Jones as our next men's basketball coach at Cal," Director of Athletics Mike Williams said. "We conducted a thorough search, looking near and far and talking to people all around the country. We consulted with several Cal basketball alumni, as well as a multiple NBA and college coaches – some of the most experienced basketball minds in the game. Ultimately, we came back to where we started and found what we wanted right here in Berkeley.

"Wyking exudes all of the characteristics we want in a head coach," Williams added. "He is a person of high character who understands what it takes to thrive on and off the court. He has an affinity for Cal and its values, he has developed strong relationships with the student-athletes he coaches, and he has experienced success at the highest levels of the sport. Over the two years he has been in Berkeley, we have seen without a doubt that Wyking can coach, teach and be a leader of young men. We fully believe our men's basketball program is on an upward trajectory, and Wyking is poised to continue that momentum and take our program to even greater heights."

A California native who grew up in Inglewood, Jones played for and graduated from Loyola Marymount. Following a brief professional career, his coaching stops have taken him to Louisville, New Mexico and Pepperdine, in addition to his alma mater. Jones has mentored over a half-dozen current NBA players, including Cal's Jaylen Brown, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

While an assistant coach at Cal, Jones helped the Bears to a combined 44-24 record and reach the postseason twice. In 2015-16, Cal finished 23-11 overall, third in the Pac-12 and received a No. 4 seed to the NCAA Tournament – the highest in the history of the program. This past year, the Bears posted a 21-13 mark and earned a berth to the National Invitation Tournament.

Charged with coaching Cal's big men, Jones helped forward Ivan Rabb become a two-time All-Pac-12 performer and Brown earn All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2015-16. In addition, center Kingsley Okoroh, who will return for his senior season next year, set a school record with 74 blocks this past season.

Over his two years at Cal, the Bears' defense has led the Pac-12 in points per game and field goal percentage allowed both seasons – 67.3 ppg and 39.6 percent in 2015-16 and 63.4 ppg and 40.0 percent in 2016-17.

Jones' connections to the Bay Area run deep as his wife Estrella was born and raised in Berkeley and his sister-in-law, Dr. Na'ilah Suad Nasir, serves as UC Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and has been a Cal faculty member since 2008.

"I am extremely excited to be taking over at Cal as the new men's basketball head coach," Jones said. "To be able to lead this incredible group of men is a dream come true for me. When I left Louisville and decided to come home to California, I was stepping out on faith, but I knew in my heart this was where I needed to be. Coach Martin left an unbelievable foundation for the program and we will work hard to continue to elevate Cal basketball. I want fans to know that I'm excited to coach these guys, not only for what they can do on the court but to continue to cultivate them as young men."

Jones enjoyed tremendous success at his stops prior to moving to Cal. During his four seasons under head coach Rick Pitino at Louisville from 2012-15, the Cardinals compiled a 123-30 record, reached two Final Fours and captured the 2013 NCAA title. Louisville also completed the 2014-15 season with a 27-9 record, advancing to the regional final.

Prior to Louisville, Jones served two seasons on the coaching staff at New Mexico with then-head coach Steve Alford where the Lobos won a combined 52 games, including a school-record 30-victory campaign in 2009-10, finishing with a No. 8 ranking in the Associated Press national poll.

From 2002-06, Jones spent five seasons at Pepperdine where he was the Waves' recruiting coordinator. He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount, during the 1996-97 season. In addition, Jones served as the travel team manager for the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) from 2006-09.

As a student-athlete, Jones was a standout at LMU from 1991-95 under head coach John Olive, scoring 1,076 points and collecting 493 rebounds. He was a two-time All-West Coast Conference selection, highlighted by a 19.7 ppg average as a junior. Jones earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount in 1995.

Following graduation, Jones played professional basketball from 1995-2001 in Italy, France, Japan, Lebanon and South Korea. He also served on the staff at Nike Elite Youth Basketball four two years from 2007-08. Jones and his wife, Estrella, have a son, Jameel and a daughter, Zoe.

What They're Saying …

"I'm ecstatic about the news. Coach Wyking is great with the players, knows his spots and gives us the confidence to go out there without looking over our shoulders." – freshman guard Charlie Moore

"I was recruited by Coach Wyking when I was first looking at schools. We were two California guys in Kentucky who started out as rivals but remained close. I saw him being able to do great things, and to start his head coaching career with him as my head coach is the best thing I could picture happening. Having him as my head coach now is one of the best things I could ever see." – senior forward Marcus Lee

"Wyking is a five-star recruiter, a five-star coach and a five-star person. I'm so happy for him and his family." – Louisville head coach Rick Pitino

Wyking Jones Year-by-Year

Fulltime Assistant Coach

Year     School Record Postseason

2016-17          California         21-13  NIT (1st round)

2015-16          California         23-11  NCAA (1st round)

2014-15          Louisville          27-9    NCAA (Elite Eight)

2013-14          Louisville          31-6    NCAA (Sweet 16)

2012-13          Louisville          35-5    NCAA (Champion)

2011-12          Louisville          30-10  NCAA (Final Four)

2010-11          New Mexico     22-13  NIT (2nd round)

2009-10          New Mexico     30-5    NCAA (2nd round)

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