Sports In Brief

Robert Thurman headlines Cal hoops’ European Tour

Robert Thurman tallied three points all of last season. Don’t tell Europe that.

The Cal men’s basketball power forward poured in 38 points in the final two games of the Bears’ European Tour.

Cal defeated the Danish National Team, 81-73, on Saturday at Kildeskovshallen, Adolphvej 25, with the junior scoring a team-high 21 points. Sunday’s rematch wasn’t as close; the Bears won, 95-78, to finish the trip with a 4-1 record.

Although Thurman led coach Mike Montgomery’s club with 17 points on Sunday, fellow forward David Kravish was equally impressive. The freshman posted 14 points and seven rebounds, and was on the court during a pivotal run in the fourth quarter that put Cal ahead by 10.

If the two big men can continue their strong play during the regular season, it will help make up for the loss of graduated starting center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who scored nearly 11 points a game and led the team with 7.4 rebounds per game last season.

But he was the lone departure from the 2010-2011 squad — everyone else, including All-Pac-10 First-Teamer Jorge Gutierrez, returns.

Gutierrez, last season’s leading scorer, played this past weekend for the first time on the trip. The senior guard had 13 and nine points, respectively, in the two contests. Reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Allen Crabbe added 13 on Sunday.

Also in the starting lineup was Justin Cobbs, seeing his first action this trip since his freshman year at Minnesota during the 2009-10 season. The redshirt sophomore filled up the stat sheet on Sunday, with eight points and eight assists.

Matt Chisam named track and field assistant coach

It seems the Cal track and field team has traded in one All-American decathlete for another.

NCAA decathlon champion Mike Morrison graduated, but the Bears have added a new decorated decathlete to their squad — the coaching staff, to be precise.

Matt Chisam has been hired to be the Bears’ new assistant coach. A certified athletic trainer, he will work mainly with pole vault and assist with the jumps.

Chisam spent the last five years at Harvard, where he coached four conference champions. He was involved in developing and implementing training programs for various events, including the pole vault, high jump and hurdles.

Chisam was also in charge of the Crimson’s multi-event competitions and the timing systems for home meets.

A 2005 graduate of UC Davis, Chisam was the 2003 NCAA Division II runner-up in the decathlon. During his career with the Aggies, Chisam won conference titles in the 100m hurdles and the decathlon. His senior year, Chisam received the university’s Outstanding Senior Award as team captain in 2005.

He didn’t stop competing after college, though.

Chisam placed ninth in the decathlon at the 2009 USA championships and fourth in the heptathlon at the indoor combined event championships. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, he finished 15th.

Chisam comes from a track & field family. His father Scott led the UCLA women’s squad to NCAA championships in 1982 and 83. His mother Roberta coaches high school cross country in Mountain View, Calif.

The Cal squad will have to replace a bevy of seniors besides Morrison. The departed group includes Tracey Stewart, a two-time Pac-10 runner-up in the triple jump, and Kristen Meister, an All-American who holds the Cal record in the high jump.

Women’s basketball team to face former coach in upcoming season

Coming off a disappointing season, the Cal women’s basketball team will have a rigorous non-conference schedule when they kick off their 2011-12 campaign.

The team’s schedule was released, and the Bears play the likes of Rutgers, Ohio State and Texas during their preseason. Their entire schedule includes 13 squads that made the postseason last year.

Also noteworthy is a Nov. 27 matchup with Virginia in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Cavaliers are led by Joanne Boyle, who resigned from Cal right after this past season ended. The Bears’ new head coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, will have an opportunity to beat her former boss; Gottlieb was Boyle’s assistant at Cal from 2005-08.

The Bears play Rutgers on Nov. 13 in     New Brunswick, NJ, in a rematch of last year’s battle. Cal won that game, 66-57.

The conference season will open in Los Angeles against UCLA on Dec. 29.