Only one word can describe the Cal men's basketball program:
That's because the rookie head coach, Wyking Jones, is a disaster. He didn't inherit a bunch of five-star players but there is some talent there, particularly power forward Marcus Lee, a transfer from Kentucky who has pro potential and is by far the best Bear. The team looks poorly coached, playing what amounts to ragged, playground basketball. The players are constantly in the wrong defense, allowing opponents to dominate the inside, clean up the boards and get open look after open look. The Bears' outside shooting, due to horrible mechanics, is awful. Even worse, the players are often roaming at half speed, looking disinterested.
The team is an embarrassment. After following Bears men's basketball for many decades I can say this is, unequivocally, the worst Bear team I've ever seen. They are 7-9 and that's with a preseason schedule packed with patsies. But, shockingly, this sorry bunch was blown out by some of these patsies, losing badly to the likes of Chaminade, Central Arkansas and UC Riverside. Now that they have started the PAC 12 schedule and will be facing much better competition, Cal's record will only get worse.
They opened the league season with a surprising win over Stanford in Palo Alto, thanks to closing the game playing their best ten minutes of ball of the season. However, they followed that victory by reverting to form in routs by USC and UCLA. Why, Cal fans are naturally asking, can't the Bears always play like they played at the end of the Stanford game? Because of uninspired, inept coaching, that's why.
How did the Bears get in this mess? Athletic director Mike Williams is largely to blame. He hired Jones, who had no head coaching experience. There is a reason Jones was a career assistant, working for several schools over a period of 15 years. It was obvious to others that he'd make a lousy head coach--obvious to everyone except Williams, that is. Jones had been a Cal assistant for two years under Cuonzo Martin. When Martin left to take the Missouri head coaching job, Williams promoted Jones.
In hiring Jones, Williams was obviously looking for a bargain. Someone like Jones, with no head-coaching experience, commands much less money. Cal can afford an experienced, high-quality coach but Williams, using horrible judgement, opted for the cheap way out, settling for Jones.
Cleaning up this mess won't be that easy. Firing a coach in the middle of the season is generally a bad idea, unless there is a great assistant who can step in right way. Unfortunately the Bears don't have a top-notch assistant. Also, at the end of the season, there's a much bigger pool of coaches to chose from, so it's wiser to wait til then. There's another reason not to dump Jones now. Williams has resigned, effective in May. The new AD, who hasn't been hired, should pick the next coach. Besides, Williams can't be trusted to hire a good coach.
Here's the bottom line. We're stuck with Jones. Supposedly he has lined up a Top 25 recruiting class for next season, but with his job hanging by a thread and the team's record on the way down the drain, some of these incoming studs may sour on Cal and decide to go to other schools. One thing for sure. The new coach will inherit a bad team, with no time to make any improvements.
So look for chaos and crappy play to haunt the team for at least another season or two. The hole that Williams and Jones have buried the program in is so deep that it will take at least that long for Cal to field another decent team.