Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 4, 2014

Sports Shorts

FINAL FOUR BOUND . . . Much has been made about Kentucky's outstanding basketball freshmen class and how many of them are in the 'one and done' category with their next stop being the NBA. One freshman not in that category will enjoy the Wildcats' upcoming trip to the NCAA Final Four and, most likely, look forward to contributing to Kentucky's success in the coming years. That player is E.J. Floreal, a freshman walk-on. Floreal is just two years removed from Palo Alto High, where he starred in basketball plus track and field before departing prior to his senior year as his family moved to Lexington, Ky. Floreal, one of nine freshmen, is not among the Kentucky stars this season, which continued with a 75-72 win over Michigan on Sunday n the Midwest Regional final. Far from it. The 6-foot-3 freshman guard from Dunbar High has spent his time during the Wildcats' 28-10 season on the bench. Floreal has played in three games, all of four minutes. He mad his only field-goal attempt, has one rebound, one block and one steal. Safe to say Floreal is not declaring early for the NBA draft.

Floreal averaging 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds last season, his first at Paul Dunbar High in Lexington. He was a second-team All-City selection. He also ran track, where he finished fourth in the 100 meters (10.98) and 200 (21.37) at the Class 3-A Kentucky State Meet. Floreal left Palo Alto when his father, Edrick, left his job as Stanford's head track and field coach and took at similar job at the University of Kentucky. E.J. selected Kentucky over Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Cal Poly and Santa Clara. While he's not getting a lot of playing time this season, he is getting a basketball education. Moreover, he's getting a trip to the Final Four.

SO LONG MONTY . . . Former Stanford head coach and longtime Menlo Park resident Mike Montgomery, one of college basketball's all-time winningest coaches, has announced his retirement this week as head men's basketball coach at the University of California. Montgomery, who directed the Golden Bears' program to postseason appearances during each of his six seasons at the school, enjoyed a storied career that spanned more than four decades and also included head coaching stints at Montana and with the Golden State Warriors. "It's with a great deal of pride that I retire as a basketball coach," Montgomery said. "I have enjoyed 45 years coaching the game I love while developing long-lasting friendships along the way. This is a decision that was not made lightly. This is the right time for me to move on to the next phase of my life. I want to thank my colleagues in the coaching profession and the student-athletes I've had the opportunity to coach and mentor. It has been an incredible journey and now I look forward to devoting more time to my family and visiting the countless friends I have met during my career." In 32 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Montgomery had 677 career victories and exits the game as the 25th-winningest head men's basketball coach with at least 10 years of experience at the Division I level in NCAA history. He ranks third on the Pac-12's all-time victories list behind Arizona's Lute Olsen and UCLA's John Wooden with 282 league wins between his time at both Cal and Stanford. Montgomery enjoyed 31 winning seasons in his 32 years as a collegiate head coach. The coaching icon closes his storied career with a 677-316 (.682) record at the college level. In his 18 years at Stanford, he boasted a 393-167 mark (.702) between 1987-2004, including a school-record 31 victories during the 2000-01 season.

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