Stanford Week: Q&A With Pachoops’ Adam ButlerPosted by Connor Pelton on July 22nd, 2012
As we go to wind down our coverage of the Stanford basketball program, we head back to Adam Butler of Pachoops for his perspective on the Cardinal basketball program. Adam and I go over every pressing topic surrounding the team’s immediate future, including how they plan on replacing three key seniors and expectations for sophomore-to-be extraordinaire, Chasson Randle. Here’s our conversation:
RTC: How do the Cardinal replace players like Josh Owens, Jarrett Mann, and Andrew Zimmerman?
AB: First of all, you don’t replace an Andrew Zimmerman. Beards like that don’t come around often, but when they do, they’re irreplaceable. On the court, however, Mann and Zimmerman were very solid role players and integral to the success of a Johnny Dawkins team in which hustle and defense would seem to be heavily rewarded. How else does a guy averaging 3 PPG and 3 RPG (Mann) play 20 MPG? So replacing those guys in some respects is easy in that they brought effort to the table. Guys like Josh Huestis, Gabriel Harris, and John Gage should be able to fill those roles. But it’s Owens who leaves the most gaping hole in the Cardinal lineup. Hustle, effort, all of the Tebow stuff, cannot replace talent, and Josh Owens had that. I loved his game and believe he’ll be tough to replace. But this is a roster seemingly full of eligible Owens replacements. My favorite of those candidates is Dwight Powell, who has length and athleticism for days but basketball IQ for minutes. Some more floor time for the rangy Canadian should go a long way in helping the Cardinal replace Owens. I’ll talk about Anthony Brown later.
RTC: Through some luck and upsets along the way, Stanford never faced a team seeded higher than fifth in the NIT. Do you think it would have won the whole thing if they had to face teams like Mississippi, Arizona, and Seton Hall instead of Illinois State, Nevada, and Massachusetts?
AB: This question embodies the beauty of March Madness. Sure, this was the NIT, but at the core it’s still a one-and-done tournament, otherwise known as perfection. Stanford showed up five times to play a basketball game and won each time. No one else did that. Boom, champs. Love it, there’s nothing better. The Cardinal don’t have to answer this question. I do, however, and my answer is a soft “no.” They were just so unimpressive during so much of the Pac-12 season it would seem they couldn’t sustain quality ball against quality opponents. But now I feel like I’m back to the beauty of March and reminded that in that glorious month, anything can happen.
RTC: After an incredible start to his career in Stanford, what do you expect from sophomore guard Chasson Randle in 2012-13? Do you see him becoming more of a true one this season?
AB: I like him off of the ball. A lot. Frankly I just like Chasson Randle on the basketball court and I think he and Aaron Bright play well together (see: winning streak, NIT). I’d like to see Bright be a better decision maker at the one because he’s not as good as Randle, but they’re going to cause problems this season. Alas, Randle is going to be the primary scoring threat on this team – I love how he’s able to create for himself – which is good news because he’s good at that. My expectations? All-Conference performer, Player of the Year consideration, and leader of a team that should turn some heads nationally.
RTC: Which newcomer do you think will have the biggest impact this season?
AB: I’m not certain the newcomers will get a ton of play, but I’m certainly intrigued by Rosco Allen. He’s got some size and can shoot it, and if he can manage some semblance of an interior game, he could become a very threatening player. He projects to a Landry Fields type. Legit. I don’t know a ton about the other two, Grant Verhoeven and Christian Sanders, and don’t expect either to contribute a lot this season. Size is always appreciated so Verhoeven brings an untrainable commodity, particularly in a year when the conference elite (Arizona and UCLA) have quite a bit of size.
RTC: Name a sleeper player if he isn’t different from the guy above?
AB: I’ve been on the Dwight Powell train for a while now and I believe this year could be his to shine. He was hurt through parts of last season which limited him (as does the fact he hasn’t played a ton of basketball), but the framework is there for him to be a very good player and I think he’s the sleeper. The not-so-sleeping-giant is Anthony Brown. I didn’t mention him as a replacement for Owens because I feel like he basically is Josh Owens. He’s not quite the same size but he brings a similar skill set and is going to help the Cardinal on all parts of the floor. He’s tough enough to board and get into the paint and skilled enough to drill the three. A 6’6” matchup nightmare. Unless of course you’re in the Pac-12 and you’ve got to deal with Solomon Hill, Kyle Singler, Shabazz Muhammad, Scott Suggs, CJ Wilcox, Allen Crabbe, etc…