“I’m sure he’ll give me some crap,” Cal guard Ricky Kreklow said of his father, Wayne.
Wayne, after all, was a 1980 All-American basketball player at Drake. And come today, after missing all of last season, Ricky will hold court against his father’s alma mater.
“But I’m sure he’ll be cheering for Cal,” Ricky said.
The redshirt sophomore Kreklow and his Golden Bears teammates will tip off the first round of the DirecTV Classic today against Drake from the Anaheim Convention Center. Other participating teams include Pacific, Xavier, Drexel, St. Mary’s, Rice and Georgia Tech.
Cal will enter the four-day tournament starting their young 2012 season unbeaten at 3-0, but it was their latest win, a grueling 72-62 victory at mile-high Denver, that has Kreklow confident.
“It’s a whole different skillset to learn to play when you’re exhausted,” Kreklow said of Denver. “And just having done that, it’s really going to help us in the future.”
But in looking to the immediate future, Kreklow reflects on his recent past. The Missouri transplant sat out the entire 2011 season per NCAA transfer rules. But from the bench, he battled seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp from the practice court.
And he learned.
“To be able to watch guys like that for an entire year, it would be pretty bad if you didn’t learn anything,” he said. “And I felt like I did. It was a good year to develop my game.”
And that game will be displayed come today.
“It would just be great for the program as a whole for this year to go out and win that tournament,” Kreklow said.
“We feel like we have a good team this year. There’s a long way to go. But we feel like we have the pieces for this team to be special.”
As for Wayne, who despite being on the 1981 Boston Celtics NBA championship team, he never domineered his child toward basketball.
“He doesn’t want to feel like he is kind of pushing you to do one thing or the other,” Kreklow said of his father. “He’s been there, he’s done that. And that’s something that I would love to do as well. Everyone wants to emulate what their father has done. And personally for me, it would be a very lofty goal that I would love to accomplish