Stanford Week: What To ExpectPosted by Connor Pelton on July 22nd, 2012
We’re most of the way through our week-long look at the Cardinal and have at least enough information to make some educated guesses about what the 2012-13 season has in store. With four players lost to graduation and a trio of highly rated recruits coming in, we can expect to see a different, and likely better, team than won the NIT Championship last year. But who exactly will lead this team and what will the final results be? Here are our guesses.
Stanford’s Leading Scorer – Chasson Randle. No doubt about this one. Randle’s average of 13.8 PPG last season might drop a bit due to him trying to become more of a passing threat, but there’s no question that he is the best scorer on the roster. The next step for Randle is to become an All-Pac-12 guard, and he’s got the talent and scoring ability to do so.
Stanford’s MVP – Aaron Bright. Bright is the team’s truest point guard and has shown good growth in his first two seasons on the Farm. If the upward trend continues, he should be averaging around 13 PPG and 5 APG next season. Overall, he’s not a better talent than Randle, but his nose for the ball and on-floor leadership make him one of the most important players on the team.
Stanford’s Most Improved Returnee – Anthony Brown. Although Brown’s averages from minutes played to rebounds and points were almost identical in his first two seasons with the Cardinal, the games where he put everything together and made a true impact have been sporadic. With Josh Owens and Andrew Zimmerman gone, that should, and has to, change. Brown needs to be the guy who can get 10 points and five boards night in and night out, providing balance in an offense that is centered around guards getting to the basket and putting a shot up. If he can become an Owens-type of player and make an impact with just his sheer athletic ability, good things will happen for Stanford.
Stanford’s Most Impactful Newcomer – Rosco Allen. All three incoming recruits are great players with a high basketball IQ, and while they will all make an impact at some point throughout their careers, Allen will have the opportunity to do so first. He is the classic Johnny Dawkins recruit, a small forward who is heady enough to grab a few boards, but also has a sweet stroke from outside. Allen is a great floor general, similar to Randle, but his main contributions early on will come in the passing game. The three/four is highly touted as a prolific passer, something the Cardinal desperately needs.
Stanford’s Conference Record/ Finish – 11-7, 5th Place. If Stanford doesn’t go through its annual mid-conference slump, it should be squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble come Championship Week. It’s doubtful that we’ll see anything as extreme as last season’s 1-5 stretch, but it’s tough to give them the benefit of the doubt. A record of 11-7 sounds about right, as Randle and Bright will make up one of the best backcourts in the league. The big men are relatively unproven, but if they can provide stability in the offense, watch out.