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Monday, January 25, 2010
Getting to know Cal Poly

By Diamond Leung

First-year Cal Poly coach Joe Callero spoke with ESPN's Andy Katz over the summer and indicated he was ready for the coaching challenge. The Mustangs were promptly picked last in the Big West preseason media poll.

But somehow, someway, Cal Poly has positioned itself to play in a big game on Thursday at UC Santa Barbara. The winner gets at least sole possession of second place in the conference.

The Mustangs are 8-10 overall, but 5-2 in conference play. They are riding a three-game winning streak coming off a one-point victory over defending Big West champion Cal State Northridge.

Cal Poly is led by guard Lorenzo Keeler, who averages 15.1 points per game and hung 38 on UC Irvine in the conference opener.

Fittingly, the Mustangs have a player named Darling. Senior walk-on Ryan Darling used to serve as a 6-foot-8 team manager, but worked his way into the rotation, started in a win at Long Beach State, and even notched a double-double.

“If you could say you could be anywhere else, be Brad Pitt for a day, I would choose to be here playing basketball at Cal Poly," Darling told the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Cinderella, I presume?