Cal guard Jorge Gutierrez is a senior now after racking up more floor burns and gutting through more aches and pains than just about anyone on the West Coast. If he were a running back, a commentator might say he loves delivering the hits. His aggressive, blue-collar style doesn't play well with opponents, and really, he doesn't care.
So in advance of tonight's season opener, Gutierrez sent a bit of a warning out to opposing players who think they might be able to come into Haas Pavilion and push him around.
From the Oakland Tribune:
"At first, I thought I didn't belong here," Gutierrez said while sitting in a hallway at Haas Pavilion. "But now it's my house. This is my court, and you play the way I want you to play."
Few in college basketball play the way Gutierrez does. He attacks the game, enjoys playing defense, backs down from no one and is concerned only with winning.
"Everybody wants guys like Jorge," said coach Mike Montgomery, who made Gutierrez his first recruit in the spring of 2008 after watching him for 10 minutes in a pickup game. "If I could get eight Jorges in different sizes, you know you'd win because he's a tremendous competitor."
In other words, do not mess with Gutierrez, who is quiet yet thoughtful with the media while a complete pest for anyone on the court not wearing Cal colors. Just ask Kansas.
In any case, he's one of Montgomery's all-time favorites, as the coach said last month at Pac-12 media day.
"It's a pleasure that any coach in our conference or any coach in the country to coach a young man like Jorge who comes to play every day, gives you what he has," Montgomery said. "Just one of the toughest kids I've ever coached.
"One of the questions asked earlier was, 'Who is your favorite player?' I've got a bunch of them, and generally for the same reasons, Jorge would be on that list."