Cal Bears basketball gets boost, NCAA approves Tyson’s transfer


BERKELEY — First-year coach Mark Madsen’s Cal basketball team got a lot better Thursday.
Jaylon Tyson, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound junior, received approval from the NCAA on his appeal for an eligibility waiver and is expected to be in the starting lineup Friday night when the Bears face Pacific at Haas Pavilion. Tyson immediately becomes one of the Bears’ best players.
The decision, first reported by Jeff Goodman of The Stadium, not completely unexpected because Tyson had a compelling case for reinstatement.
“We are very thankful that the NCAA has approved Jaylon Tyson’s waiver for immediate eligibility,” Madsen said in a statement. “We are excited that he will be back on the court Friday night playing the game he loves.”
Tyson transferred to Cal from Texas Tech, where he averaged 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds and shot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point arc last season.
The NCAA denied his eligibility waiver last month on the basis that he is a two-time transfer, having begun his career at Texas.
But Madsen was confident from the start that Tyson’s argument for eligibility was powerful, centered on allegedly abusive remarks made to him by former Texas Tech coach Mark Adams.
“Last year, I was racially discriminated against on multiple occasions. I was called a slave, and that Mark Adams was my master,” Tyson, who is Black, told Sports Illustrated. “When he said that I kind of froze and went down a dark path in my life that I had never (experienced) before. It was very embarrassing for me and my family to have to go through this process.”
Along with a report by Goodman that Adams had spit in the face of another player and defended his right to do so, there was some surprise that the NCAA didn’t immediately accept Tyson’s bid for eligibility as a transfer.
Adams was dismissed as Tech’s coach after last season.
Madsen, talking about the issue after the NCAA first denied Tyson, said he was confident the decision would be reversed.
“I’ve looked at the waiver material — I’ve been looking at it for months — and I believe he has a very . . . I believe it’s extremely important for Jaylon Tyson to be granted this second waiver,” he said.
“Not only for himself, but for every other student-athlete who finds himself in a situation like this in the future.”
Without Tyson, Cal opened its season Monday with a 71-66 victory over St. Thomas of Minnesota.
They could have a different look on Friday against Pacific.
“Jaylon Tyson’s a leader. He’s great on both sides of the ball,” Madsen said. “He’s someone who will get after his teammates and hold them accountable. Jaylon is a tremendous basketball player in terms of instinct, in terms of talent, shooting ability, rebounding. Jaylon Tyson’s a great passer.
“He has just been fantastic with this program.”
Tyson is among four transfer players Madsen brought on board to help rebuild the Golden Bears program, which has suffered an unprecedented six consecutive losing seasons. Cal was 3-29 a year ago, the worst record in program history, leading to the dismissal of Mark Fox as coach.


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