When a reporter asked Randle about the dunk -- whether he had indeed become more engaged after Brown put him on a proverbial poster -- Randle gave a confused look. Huh? What dunk?
It was a comical bit of feigned confusion. It was also a brief flash of the too-cool approach Calipari has often ascribed to his team this season. The Wildcats coach has begged his players to do the little things, to invest themselves in team outcomes, to play every game with enthusiasm and energy, often to the point of exasperation. But Randle, with minimal exceptions, has been the lynchpin of the Wildcats' bruising interior attack, the tip of Kentucky's offensive arrow. Even when the Wildcats play disjointed, hesitant offense, Randle's ability to clean up offensive misses and bruise his way to field goals and foul shots has established UK's baseline performance. It's why Randle is a likely top-five pick in this summer's NBA draft.
Brown might one day play his way into that league, especially if he keeps up anything close to this torrential scoring pace. Eye-popping highlights like Saturday's certainly won't hurt his case.
But even if Brown somehow never finds his way to an NBA arena -- maybe he makes a nice career for himself in Europe, or decides to become a technology blogger, or develops a stand-up routine and starts hitting the late-night comedy clubs, or whatever -- he'll always be able to tell people about that one Saturday, when the nation's top freshmen were all on stage, when he put one on one of the biggest college basketball stars in years. Even if he wasn't feeling much like talking about it Saturday.
"It was a momentum play for us, but it didn't amount to much, because we lost the game," Brown said. "But it was definitely a nice play. It felt good."
Thomas Fang joined Cal's fans as they celebrated Saturday's 60-58 victory over No. 1 Arizona on the floor at Haas Pavilion, the first time the Golden Bears had defeated a top-ranked team in that building. But the former Cal walk-on hated to see Arizona freshman star and friend Aaron Gordon and the Wildcats suffer their first loss of the season.
"I'm very conflicted because I love the Cal program, but I'm very close and connected with Aaron," Fang said as Cal fans screamed around him after the game. "I have to give it up to the Cal program -- [coach] Mike Montgomery, especially. They did a great job. They did what it took to beat Arizona today. It's amazing. I didn't expect this to happen. It's been very bittersweet."
Fang played basketball at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., with Gordon's brother, Drew Gordon, so he's watched Aaron's transformation from lanky kid with oversized shoes to McDonald's All-American and likely NBA lottery pick.