Cal Bears report: Cal hires Ken Moses as fourth assistant coach

The Cal Bears welcome newly hired head coach Ken Moses who joins head coach Mark Madsen. Both Moses and Madsen worked together last season coaching the Utah Valley Wolverines. (image from @CalMBBall)

By Michael Duca

BERKELEY–Cal Bears head coach Mark Madsen was proud to bring on newly hired assistant coach Ken Moses. Moses is the fourth assistant coach hired at Cal by Madsen. Like Madsen, Moses is a recent hire from Utah Valley. Moses and Madsen had worked together for just one season last season as Madsen and Moses were on a staff that helped the Wolverines win 28 games and helped the Wolves get into the NITs.

The Wolverines had an impressive regular season going 28-9, 15-3 conference, the Wolves also had an impressive home record losing only one game at 14-1 and were one of the best road teams at 12-5. The Wolverines during the 2022-23 season had an 11 game win streak and a five game win streak.

Coach Madsen upon coming to Cal is confident that he could get the recruits needed and in place for the 2023-24 season and get the Cal program turned around as opposed to this past season where the Bears had won only three games all season long under former Cal head coach Mark Fox.

Moses also was an assistant coach at Montana State under head coach Danny Sprinkle. Moses with Sprinkle coached the Bobcats into a tournament. Moses attended Colorado State University Pueblo in 2006 through 2010. Moses will be a huge factor in finding talent for this upcoming men’s season as he has experience as development and operations when he was at Southern Illinois.

Cal Bears report: Mark Madsen named Golden Bears head coach; Leaves Utah Valley after three seasons

 Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Madsen becomes the new Cal Bears head coach for the 2023-24 season. (AP file photo)

By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips

Mark Madsen knew the job was his but he had to complete coaching at Utah Valley in the NIT semifinals against the UAB Blazers on Tuesday night. Had the Wolverines won and advanced Madsen would have held off on his official announcement that he would take the job at UC Berkeley in the Cal Bears men’s basketball program.

Utah Valley lost by two points 88-86 in overtime and that was the last and final game that Madsen would be coaching at Utah Valley as he makes his way to the Pac 12 to coach the Golden Bears. Madsen who was a Stanford Cardinal standout and a NBA veteran, finished coaching Utah Valley to a WAC Championship and led the Wolves to a 28-9 record this season.

Over his three seasons at Utah Valley he put together an impressive record at 34-15. Madsen before joining Utah Valley was an assistant coach at the Los Angeles Lakers. Madsen was an assistant coach in the G league and at Stanford. As a college player Madsen was an accomplished player achieving the two time all conference.

Madsen is best remembered for his performance in the Final Four in 1998 and making it as a first round pick in 2000 and helped the Lakers win two championships. Madsen left the Lakers and played six years for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Madsen’s name came up as a possible replacement for Stanford head coach Jerod Haase but Stanford decided at the end of the Pac 12 Tournament to keep Haase as head coach. Cal was considering St Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett, Bennett said he wanted to stay at St Mary’s and so the Bears focused their attention in going after Madsen.

Cal fired head coach Mark Fox at the conclusion of the Pac 12 Tournament after Cal was eliminated in the first game of the tournament. Fox guided the Bears to a 3-29 season in 2022-23. Cal hadn’t been to the big dance tournament since 2016. Cal had gone through three head coaches since their last tournament, Cuonzo Martin 2014-2017 (62-39), Wyking Jones 2017-2019 (16-47), and Mark Fox 2019-2023 ( 38-87).

Morris Phillips and Michael Duca are Cal Bears beat writers for

Cal Bears waiting for Madsen to accept head coaching job

Current Utah Valley Wolverines head coach Mark Madsen draws up plans for his players is coaching tonight Tue Mar 28, 2023 NIT game against UAB. Most likely when Utah Valley is eliminated Madsen will make his announcement that he will be joining the Cal Bears as head coach. (photo by 1160 KSL Salt Lake City)

By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips

The vacancy at the Cal Bears men’s basketball program is all but almost filled as Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen who also played for the Stanford Cardinal is close to being the next head coach at Cal. The Bears are waiting for Madsen to make a decision but sources say it’s very likely he will accept the position.

According to news reports the only thing that stands in the way of Madsen not coming to Cal is some unforeseen circumstance but all indications point that he will accept the head coaching job. Cal women’s basketball coach Charmin Smith is a former Stanford player and is familiar with Madsen.

CBS Sports said that Madsen is the leading candidate and that Cal has offered him the job as head coach. Earlier today it was reported that Madsen had accepted the job. One of the reasons why Madsen might not be making any official announcement is because his current team Utah Valley is in the NIT and about ready to face UAB later tonight. If Utah Valley were to lose to UAB tonight Madsen could announce his accepting the Cal job during the post game press conference.

Michael Duca and Morris Phillips cover Cal Bears basketball for

Cal Bears report: Fox out as head coach; It was matter of time after team went 3-29

Cal Bears head coach Mark Fox has some comments to make after a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Sat Mar 4, 2023 (AP News file photo)

By Morris Phillips and Michael Duca

Cal Bears head coach Mark Fox was the butt end of memes during Cal home games that showed the swirling Fire Fox logo during this season. The inevitable happened on Thursday afternoon when Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton announced that indeed Fox was fired from the flagging basketball team who went 3-29.

“This was a difficult decision and one that I do not take lightly,” Knowlton said. “After deliberately and holistically evaluating all aspects of our program, I felt a change was needed at this time.” Fox took over the reigns of head coach in 2019. Fox gave the Golden Bears some hope when he took the club to a 14-18 season, the Bears that season went 7-11 in non conference games.

It was the last three years that Fox just couldn’t recover Cal basketball with losing seasons that landed him and the Cal MBB program in last place in 2021 and 2023. Cal had a 10-50 overall record in those last three seasons. Previous to Fox coming to Cal head coach Wyking Jones coached the Bears for two seasons going 8-24 in 2017-18 and 8-23 in 2018-19.

Fox leaves Cal with a 38-87 overall record and going 17-61 in four regular seasons. When Fox first took over in 2019-20 he was able to win seven conference games. Fox was unable to win over five games in each of the following three seasons as Cal head coach. Also the Cal program had lost over 20 games in three consecutive seasons with Cal finishing in last place in two seasons under Fox.

Before coaching at Cal Fox coached at the Georgia Bulldogs for nine seasons and led Georgia to two NCAA Tournament appearances. Fox at Georgia finished above .500 in his last five years. As head coach in Reno for the Nevada Wolfpack Fox won three NCAA Tournaments and won at least 21 games in his five seasons in Nevada.

Cal’s Season Ends: Bears outclassed by WSU 69-52 in Pac-12 tourney opener

photo by Cal Bears basketball

By Morris Phillips

Three wins and a 16-game losing streak to end the season will be the legacy of the 2023 Cal men’s basketball team.

The Bears fell 69-52 in Las Vegas in their opening round matchup against Washington State on Wednesday afternoon, ending a dreary season that marks the program’s unprecedented, sixth consecutive losing campaign.

The immediate focus falls on head coach Mark Fox, who is responsible for the most recent four seasons, none better than his first when Cal finished 14-18.

“We understand that there’s an expectation to be successful, and we didn’t do that this year, but most people who are sitting where you’re sitting now are never on the inside. They don’t know the things that we have to deal with that adminstrators and coaches and players do,” Fox said.

The expectation is that Fox will not be retained, and athletic director Jim Knowlton will move on to Tim Miles or Joe Pasternack, the two names most prominent in the coaching rumors.

The Bears didn’t receive any break in the matchups with WSU coming in on a six-game win streak. The Cougars didn’t shoot it well early, but Cal afforded them a 13-2 run before halftime, part of a 35-21 edge at the break.

The Bears again played at their plodding pace, a nod to their persistent injury issues in the backcourt. Their point total of 52 actually fell below their season average of 58.5, the lowest offensive output in 363-member Division I.

Monty Bowser led Cal with a career-best 19 points, but the 43-29 edge for WSU on the glass put the 12th-seeded Bears at an impossible disadvantage.

TJ Bamba led Washington State with 17 points, and three other WSU starters finished with 10 points. The Cougars will face Oregon on Thursday in the tournament’s quarterfinal round.

Cal Competes: Regular season concludes with painful 69-66 loss at Oregon State

By Morris Phillips

Cal’s 15 consecutive losses haven’t often been competitive or engaging. That wasn’t the case on Saturday in Corvallis, where the Bears built a substantial lead that held up throughout the game’s first 27 minutes.

The Bears led by as many as 16 points and took their final lead with 29 seconds remaining. But the visitors came up empty on their final, two possessions in a 69-66 loss to Oregon State.

“A heartbreaking loss,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “I feel awful for everybody because they did everything we asked them to do.”

Oregon State snapped a four-game losing streak but had to dig deep to prevail. The Beavers trailed 32-16 late in the first half.

“It was all Cal,” coach Wayne Tinkle said. “They were focused, and I think they knocked us back and caused a little cloudiness early.”

The loss mattered little in regards to Cal’s seeding for the conference tournament that begins Wednesday in Las Vegas. The Bears will open the tournament against Arizona State or red-hot Washington State as the 12th seed.

The game was physical throughout and whistle-filled. That allowed the hosts to recover with 24 of 29 shooting from the foul line that brought them even with 13 minutes remaining. The game became a see-saw affair at that point, with both teams afforded opportunities to seize control. Oregon State’s biggest lead of 64-61 with 2:03 remaining was immediately wiped out as Cal scored five of the next six points, capped by Grant Newell’s jumper with 29 seconds left.

Michael Rataj scored to put OSU in front with 15 seconds left, and Cal saw the same game lost as Sam Alajiki stepped out of bounds with nine seconds remaining and Joel Brown, who led Cal with 22 points, missed a wild 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Glenn Taylor Jr. paced OSU with 28 points, and Jordan Pope added 17.

Ducks crush Bears in Eugene 84-51; Couisnard leads Oregon with 17 pts

The Cal Bears forward Monty Bowser (2) takes the ball down the floor against the Oregon Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene Or on Thu Mar 2, 2023 (CK Hicks Cal Bears photo)

By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips

The Oregon Ducks (17-13) ran all over the visiting Cal Bears (3-27) in Eugene on Thursday night 84-51 With the win the Ducks picked up their second straight win. The Cal defense all they could do is watch the Ducks run past them as the Ducks had five players finish in double figures.

The Ducks Jermain Couisnard led the with 17 points, the Ducks shot 55% from the field and out rebounded Cal 45-21. The Ducks scored 42 points in each of the first and second halves. Cal’s Sam Alajiki was the only Cal player to finish in double figures with 11 points. Alajiki was followed up by Grant Newell nine points, and Lar Thiemann with nine points.

The Bears Joel Brown had seven points and Thiemann returned after sitting out the last game against Washington State on Feb 25th at UC Berkeley. Thiemann finished tied for second in scoring and came off the bench to do it in less than 23 minutes.

One of the keys to the Ducks success Thursday night was they hit six 3 pointers and shot 59% in the opening 20 minutes of the ball game against the Bears giving the Ducks a 42-26 lead after the first half of the game. The closest the Bears got in this contest was within five points with 6:32 left in the first half. The Ducks then went on a 12-4 run and led by double figures and putting much put the game out of reach for Cal the rest of the way.

The Bears will try and close out the regular season with a win against the Oregon State Beavers (10-20) this game might be the Bears best chance to get back in the win column. The Beavers have been struggling losing their last game to Stanford 83-60 on Thursday night and having lost four in a row and nine of their last ten games. Tip off is 5:00pm in Corvallis this Saturday night.

Cal falls to Washington State 63-57 but remains optimistic in the season’s final days

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–A streak-ending win on Senior Night wasn’t achievable for the Cal Bears.

But that wasn’t the punchline to season-concluding joke. The 3-26 hosts competed hard until seven minutes remained before they ran out of gas in a 63-57 loss to Washington State.

“Obviously, we didn’t get the win, but we made a lot of strides, and going forward we’ve got two games next week,” senior Joel Brown said. “I think there’s a lot of energy and positivity that we can grab from this.”

Cal fell for the 13th consecutive time since January 6 and need a win in their final, three games to avoid setting a new, program-worst season record.

Two regular season games remain at Oregon and Oregon State and an opening round contest in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Optimism within the team remains with hopes they can win at least once more.

“For the whole team it’s a tough situation with the record, but I’ve learned a lot just looking myself in the mirror and just understanding, I’m playing basketball . . . this is what I love doing,” Brown said.

When asked if he had any discussions regarding his future with Cal, coach Mark Fox said he had not, while saying he and Athletic Director Jim Knowlton speak frequently, and Fox considers Knowlton to be an ally.

Fox fell to 38-84 in his four seasons in Berkeley, and it’s widely assumed he won’t be retained.

The Bears trailed 29-26 at halftime and were within 46-44 with 7:24 remaining when they could get no closer. A 7-0 run for the Cougars created separation and put the visitors in position for a fifth straight win.

Mohamed Gueye led WSU with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and TJ Bamba added 19. Brown led Cal with 13 points, nine rebounds, and Kuany Kuany added 11.

Plodding Bears can’t shoot it or hold on to it in 65-56 loss to Washington

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Can’t shoot straight or pass accurately? You’re in trouble, especially in the Pac-12 Conference, where opposing defenses feed off that level of disfunction.

The Cal Bears started competitively for a change and kept within range for 35 minutes, but 31 percent shooting and 15 turnovers weren’t going to cut it against visiting Washington.

Cal fell to UW, 65-56, their 12th straight loss since they last won against Stanford on January 6.

One of the confounding aspects of Cal’s worst-ever season (along with the fact that they likely won’t win five games, which is hard to do when they, like all Power 5 schools, have a stranglehold on how they schedule, and who they play) is they continue to compile high turnover numbers despite playing at one of the slowest paces in 363-member Division I.

It makes sense that Cal plays slow. They’ve been decimated by injuries at the ball handling positions and again played without guard DeJuan Clayton on Thursday.

It doesn’t make sense that they regularly register double-figure turnovers at this stage of the season. But Pac-12 opponents sense Cal’s lack of organization and hunt the basketball as much as they successfully keep the Bears from scoring.

Again, on Thursday, the formula worked.

“We kept the score, the pace of the game where we wanted it,” coach Mark Fox said. “(It’s) just unfortunate that we didn’t make more shots.”

The Bears also missed seven free throws and fell behind by 18 points at one juncture. That preceded a 15-3 run that brought them within 52-46. But Cal would get no closer. The Huskies responded with a pair of free throws and a Keion Brooks Jr. dunk to push their lead back to ten.

“They’re at home. They’re fighting, but our guys, at the end of the day, found a way to win,” UW coach Mike Hopkins said. “We made some foul shots down the stretch and got the stops we needed.”

Brooks led UW with a game-best 24 points and 11 rebounds.

“They came out and fought hard,” Brooks said of Cal. “They were physical. We knew they were going to do that. Those are the type of games that you get up for because you know it’s going to be a little back and forth. But credit to them, we got up big and they didn’t go away.”

The Bears’ final home came comes on Saturday at 2:00pm against Washington State at Haas Pavilion.

UCLA Overwhelms Cal 78-43: Bears’ losing skid hits 11

By Morris Phillips

UCLA coach Mick Cronin made his point at halftime of the Bruins’ game versus Stanford on Thursday: respect the opponent and be ready from the opening tap.

It was a message Cronin didn’t have to repeat prior to or during the Bruins meeting with Cal on Saturday.

Instead, the hyper alert Bruins displayed their readiness by holding the visiting Bears to 15 points before halftime. That’s the fewest a Cronin-coached UCLA team has allowed in any half of a game.

Message delivered by the Bruins and received by the downtrodden visiting Bears.

“They’re great defensively,” coach Mark Fox admitted. “You have to give them credit.”

Cal trailed by 23 points at the break, and their 22 percent shooting for the game gave them no chance for a recovery. The Bears have dropped 11 consecutive games since beating Stanford on January 6.

Were there any surprises in Saturday’s matchup between the nation’s number two ranked defense and the painfully-slow, 296th ranked offense? Well, maybe how few minutes were afforded hyped-up UCLA walk-on Russell Stong, who didn’t make his entrance until fewer than two minutes remained.

UCLA (23-4, 14-2) led by Jamie Jaquez Jr. with 20 points and Amari Bailey with 16. The Bruins continued their cruise to their anticipated showdown with Arizona in two weeks by winning their 23 consecutive game at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bears, led by Kuany Kuany’s 14 points, did themselves no favors by starting the game with a 12-0 deficit after trailing 13-0 at USC on Thursday.

The Bears (3-24, 2-14) return to Berkeley next week for their final, two home games against Washington and Washington State.