Pac-12 Season Preview: Stanford Cardinal

Posted by Tracy McDannald on October 24th, 2014

The Pac-12 microsite will preview each of its league teams over the next few weeks, continuing today with Stanford.

Stanford Cardinal

Strengths: Losing an all-league player (Dwight Powell) and one of its premier defenders (Josh Huestis) will be an adjustment, but there is still enough of the group remaining from Johnny Dawkins’ first NCAA Tournament qualifier to make some noise. Look no further than senior Chasson Randle, the team’s top scorer from a season ago and one-half of a seasoned backcourt to go with the Pac-12’s reigning most improved player in Anthony Brown. The duo started all but one of the Cardinal’s 36 games last season. Center Stefan Nastic, a fifth-year senior like Brown, also logged significant minutes as a starter in the run to the Sweet Sixteen.

Stanford Can Be Fun When They're Scoring, But Their Defense Is The Big Question (Ben Margot, AP Photo)

Chasson Randle (5) and Anthony Brown (21) give Stanford a formidable backcourt high on experience. (Ben Margot/AP Photo)

Weaknesses: Brown just happens to be Stanford’s top returning rebounder at a mere five boards per contest. Those two aforementioned departures, Powell and Huestis, combined to pull down 15 rebounds per game, accounting for 43 percent of the team’s production. Coming into the program will be a pair of top-50 frontcourt recruits, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey, but the boards and their development will be worth watching early. Point guard play is also a concern, despite the abilities of Randle and Brown. Powell led the team in assists last season as a stretch-four, and freshman Robert Cartwright is the only true floor general expected to play a role. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pac-12 Post-Mortems: Stanford

Posted by Andrew Murawa on April 24th, 2014

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll go through each Pac-12 team one by one and recount the season that has just completed and begin to turn the page to what we might see next season. Today, Stanford.

What Went Right

It wasn’t always pretty, and you probably still can’t say that this Stanford team ever consistently played up to its potential, but Johnny Dawkins and his senior class finally got to the NCAA Tournament. And they didn’t stop there, beating two solid teams – New Mexico and Kansas – in the Big Dance in order to earn an unlikely Sweet Sixteen appearance. The team was well-balanced on both ends of the court; Chasson Randle took that long-awaited next step in his personal development; and Dwight Powell eventually slid into a new role in order to begin potentially a new era for Stanford basketball.

Chasson Randle Had A Breakout Season In Leading The Cardinal To The Sweet Sixteen (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo)

Chasson Randle Had A Breakout Season In Leading The Cardinal To The Sweet Sixteen (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo)

What Went Wrong

One major problem plagued the Cardinal all year: team-wide inconsistency. We saw it early in the season when the team decided to forgo any inkling of defense in a loss to BYU while giving up 112 points; or a couple weeks later when they were unable to come up with any more than a half worth of good basketball in Brooklyn in the Legends Classic; or in conference play where they backed up their non-conference accomplishments with an 0-2 start in the Pac-12. Nowhere was this more evident than in the Sweet Sixteen where, coming off of a win over Kansas, the Cardinal had a beatable Dayton team between them and a date with the Elite Eight. What happened? The Flyers scored at will against the Cardinal; Randle was at his brick-tastic worst; and Dawkins and company let a big opportunity slip away without much of a fight.

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The State of Stanford Basketball Heading Into a Huge Road Trip

Posted by AMurawa on December 18th, 2013

Way back before the start of the season, I got caught up saying some silly things: Stanford Sweet Sixteen this, Stanford Pac-12 contender that. And everybody I mentioned that kind of thing to just sorta blew me off, not even really bothering to offer up much of a reason why such notions were wrong-headed. I stuck to my guns, seeing a potentially potent offense and enough athleticism and depth to improve upon a poor defensive effort last season. While a nonchalant four-point win in the opener over Bucknell wasn’t impressive, it was easily written off with excuses about “first game of the year” and “oh, Bucknell’s pretty tough,” both of which were probably true to some extent. But then, against BYU in the second game, Stanford scored 103 points at home. And lost. In regulation. By nine. Alarm bells went off.

While Stanford Has Had Plenty of Offensive Reasons For Excitement Early, Their Defense Has Let Them Down

While Stanford Has Had Plenty of Offensive Reasons For Excitement Early, Their Defense Has Let Them Down

The Cardinal got back on track briefly, plowing through four mediocre teams and setting up a meeting with another significant challenge against Pittsburgh in Brooklyn. And it was not good. The team showed no heart in giving up 1.33 points per possession, and the same old questions about Johnny Dawkins’ ability to either: (a) gameplan to take advantage of his players’ strengths, or (b) coach his players up to the point where they can improve from season to season re-emerged. Stanford was officially buried until it could do something to prove that the team deserved to be taken seriously this season.

Since that time, the Cardinal have taken care of some bad teams, worked through a tough finals week and lost senior guard Aaron Bright to a season-ending dislocated shoulder suffered in practice. But beginning tonight and continuing on Saturday, this team has a chance to prove that it should be taken seriously. Fail in these two games – tonight at Connecticut, and Saturday against Michigan in Brooklyn – and we’ll check back in with Stanford in early February to see if anything has really changed. Otherwise, throw these guys on the scrap heap.

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Stanford Basketball: What Needs to Change?

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) on November 15th, 2013

So, Stanford. You, me and just about everybody the both of us know were ready to write them off on Monday night, following their pitiful defensive performance against an admittedly very good offensive team in BYU. But, given the underachieving we’ve seen from the Cardinal in recent years, given the questionable coaching from Johnny Dawkins, and given their uninspired performance on a pretty big ESPN-created stage, one couldn’t have been blamed for just throwing in the towel and moving on to greener pastures. But here’s the thing. It’s one loss early in the year to a team that will likely be pretty firmly in the NCAA Tournament picture in four months. Come Selection Sunday, a loss to BYU, even a home loss, is not going to kill anybody.

Stanford's Defensive Struggles Against BYU Were Well-Publicized, But All Hope Is Not Lost (George Nitkin, AP)

Stanford’s Defensive Struggles Against BYU Were Well-Publicized, But All Hope Is Not Lost (George Nitkin, AP)

Meanwhile, last night, Stanford looked, well – certainly not dominant or anything, certainly not good enough to completely erase the memory of Monday night’s non-existent defense – but they looked, at the very least, like they understood that defense mattered. They blocked six shots, they snatched six steals, they forced 16 turnovers, and they held a halfway decent offensive Northwestern team (albeit in the midst of a coaching transition) to less than 0.90 points per possession. Now the preceding are not necessarily stats upon which hats are hung, but they show progress. And they show that the team is capable of dialing in the defense.

But, there are concerns. Many, many concerns. We could start anywhere, but let’s start where BYU exposed the most glaring weakness on Monday: defense. The most egregious place where the Cardinal got exposed against the Cougars was a simple one: effort. The Cardinal repeatedly failed to box out rebounders; they showed no inclination to stop the ballhandler in transition; there was no communication between teammates. These are simple fundamentals. And sure, it’s November and in most cases you could say, oh, this team will improve as they get used to each other. But this is a team made up of mostly juniors and seniors. How do these guys not have a grasp of those fundamentals by this stage? As mentioned before, there was improvement last night, although against a lesser offensive opponent, but we’ll need to keep an eye on how this effort issue progresses this season.

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Pac-12 Team Preview: Stanford Cardinal

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) on October 30th, 2013

We continue unveiling our team-by-team breakdowns, in roughly the reverse order of where we expect these teams to finish in the conference standings.

Stanford Cardinal

Strengths. Experience and depth. Oh, and a lot of talent. This Cardinal roster is littered with upperclassmen, with seniors Dwight Powell, Aaron Bright and Josh Huestis expected be in a starting lineup joined by a couple of juniors in Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown. More upperclassmen are among the names of  the guys in competition to contribute off the bench – John Gage, Stefan Nastic, Robbie Lemons. And if there are still some holes left after listing those guys – and there definitely are – the freshmen and sophomores on this club are generally highly regarded players who are expected to be able to fill roles around the stars on this team; prospects like Grant Verhoeven, Rosco Allen, Christian Sanders, Elliott Bullock, and twin guards Marcus and Malcolm Allen.

Stanford Basketball Has Enough Talented Veteran Depth To Return To The NCAA Tournament (Steve Solis / PRPhotos.com)

Stanford Basketball Has Enough Talented Veteran Depth To Return To The NCAA Tournament (Steve Solis / PRPhotos.com)

Weaknesses. There’s all that veteran talent, but the most this group has accomplished in their time on The Farm is an NIT title a couple years back. And while that was a genuine accomplishment for a program coming back from the ashes left in the wake of Trent Johnson’s departure, last year the Cardinal failed to improve upon it. The blame for the lack of success comes down on the head of one man: head coach Johnny Dawkins. He’s assembled plenty of talent in Palo Alto, but now is the time for his group to put it all together. A lot of that will have to do with finding a coherent rotation. Last year, 12 different players on this team played in more than 20 games and averaged more than five minutes per game; nine of them averaged more than 10 minutes per contest. Ideally, we’d like to see Dawkins find his eight-man rotation and, depending on the circumstance or the opponent, rotate a ninth guy in there as needed. But these players need to know their roles, and even if it means some of the guys on the bench wind up wearing a redshirt or seeing a year of eligibility go down the tubes, that may be better in the long run for the ultimate goals of the program.

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Stanford Post-Mortem

Posted by AMurawa on April 18th, 2013

Now that we are officially in the offseason, it’s time to take a look back and evaluate each team’s 2012-13 performance. Here’s a look at Stanford.

What Went Right

After three years of showing signs of a mouthwatering combination of skill and athleticism, Dwight Powell exploded in his junior campaign. At 6’10” and a now well-built 235 pounds, Powell displayed the type of versatile game that will have him playing in the NBA following the completion of his college career. He’s always had the hops and size to throw down massive dunks, but he’s now got the ball-handling, basketball IQ and, perhaps most importantly, confidence to complete those types of plays with defenders in the area. Throw in an excellent feel for rebounding the ball, a developing jumper that is slowly approaching the three-point line, improved post moves and a variety of ways to finish in the paint and Powell has established himself as one of the best and most exciting players in the Pac-12.

Dwight Powell, Stanford

Dwight Powell Had A Breakout Season In His Junior Campaign (AP)

Before we leave this topic, we’ve got to spend a second on Andy Brown. After three ACL tears in his left knee, it was just assumed that the chances of the 6’7” forward every being a meaningful on-court contributor at the Division I level had passed. Instead, Brown made for one of the nicest stories in this or any other season. He played in all but one Cardinal game this season, averaged 23 minutes a night, and wasvery effective, displaying a toughness (as if you didn’t already know that a guy who had rehabbed from three torn ACLs was tough) and a feel for the game that can’t be taught. Already 22, he’s got at least one year of college eligibility ahead of him and here’s hoping it is another healthy and productive season.

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Pac-12 M5: 01.08.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on January 8th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Three months ago, Malcolm and Marcus Allen committed to Stanford. But as we get into the thick of hoops season, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a nice feature on the twins yesterday. The Allens, out of Centennial High School (Nevada), have both earned astounding 4.8 GPAs while in high school, which resulted in offers from Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, among others. When asked why they chose Johnny Dawkins and the Cardinal over the rest, the brothers said that Stanford’s perfect mix of athletics and academics was just too good to pass up, not to mention the fact the Pac-12 is a “premier conference.” The one and two guards will be battling Chasson Randle for minutes in their freshmen season next year.
  2. It was painful for fans of upsets everywhere on Saturday afternoon when Arizona continued to give Utah chance after chance at beating the Wildcats on their home floor, only to see the Utes tighten up in the closing minutes. Scoring has been a problem in the Larry Krystowiak era, but as of late, it’s been the three-point shot that has plagued the Utes. Utah missed three of its final four shots from behind the arc, a stinging stat considering the Utes suffered only a three-point loss. Utah’s leading scorer, Loyola Marymount transfer Jarred DuBois, is in the midst of a big slump, and it seems to be contagious. Their outside stroke won’t be needed to earn a split on the weekend, considering offensively-challenged USC rolls into Salt Lake City on Saturday, but if the Utes have any shot at an upset of UCLA earlier in the week, DuBois and the rest of the team need to do some serious slump-busting.
  3. The guys over at House of Sparky continually churn out great stuff, and yesterday they took a look at why the Sun Devils’ win over Colorado was so huge for the program. The first sentence pretty much sums up my thoughts on the win. I had been skeptical for all of November and December of the Sun Devils, thinking that their win total was just the product of an easy schedule. But on Sunday, Arizona State proved it was legit. The Devils completely took Andre Roberson out of the game, and with a combination of Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix, and Jordan Bachynski all attacking the ball, ASU gave the Buffaloes a migraine on defense. If they can keep up this level of play for the next two months, an NCAA Tournament bid isn’t out of the question.
  4. Sticking with HoS and Arizona State, if the Sun Devils do want to return to the Big Dance, they’ll need to knock down clutch free throws as games wind down. They haven’t done a great job in this area so far in 2012-13, shooting at less than a 63% clip from the charity stripe. One thing that is becoming a noticeable trend with ASU is that all of its shots — but specifically free throws — are falling short towards the end of games. And of course, that makes sense; the more tired you get, the tougher it is for players’ legs to launch the ball to the hoop. But I want to start talking about Herb Sendek‘s guys as a legitimate Pac-12 contender, and contenders make big shots down the stretch rather than leaving them short when their bodies start wearing down.
  5. For every “make you feel good” underdog story, there is another one to tell on the other side of the spectrum. The team lost in the shuffle after the first week of Pac-12 play was Colorado, who looked flat-out awful in the 45 minutes following Sabatino Chen‘s waved off game-winner at Arizona on Thursday. But as head coach Tad Boyle points out, nothing is given to you in conference play, and the Buffs need to have a short memory. Because as he puts it, they’re currently on the road to 0-18, and if they don’t prepare well for a visit from the LA schools, that road will get quite a bit shorter by Saturday night.
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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 09.21.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on September 21st, 2012

  1. Coach Larry Krystowiak and Utah picked up a huge commitment this week as San Francisco City College combo guard Delon Wright verbally committed to the Utes. Wright got a sense of just how loud and exuberant Utah’s student section, The Muss, could be when he took a visit to Salt Lake City for last weekend’s Holy War. Krystowiak is certainly getting the guys in place to rebuild a dormant Utah program (four-star small forward Jordan Loveridge is the other big catch, who will be a freshman in 2012-13). Wright will arrive for the 2013-14 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. He also drew interest from Gonzaga, Washington, Washington State, and St. Mary’s.
  2. Arsalan Kazemi, the man who entered Rice three seasons ago as the first ever native Iranian to play D-I basketball, was granted a transfer from the Owl program on Monday. The senior power forward told Sports Illustrated that Oregon and Kentucky were early leaders for his transfer options. Fall classes at Oregon don’t start until next Monday, September 24, making the Ducks a sensible option. Kazemi also told SI he intends to petition for a hardship waiver in order to play immediately, although he did not say on what grounds the waiver request would include. With the Ducks losing Olu Ashaolu, who emerged as a solid go-to guy in the post toward the end of last season, this would be a huge pick-up for Dana Altman. Kazemi is also in talks with Cincinnati, Texas, Florida, and Ohio State, and has denied that he might turn professional. He is the sixth player to leave Rice this offseason, with the other one of most note to Pac-12 fans being center Omar Oraby. Oraby transferred to USC last Thursday.
  3. Stanford got a pair of commitments from Las Vegas twins Malcolm and Marcus Allen earlier this week. Marcus, a shooting guard, seems more fit to garner early minutes as a freshman, but both definitely have talent at the one and two positions, respectively. Both brothers have been praised for their knack in scoring, making them perfect Johnny Dawkins prototypes. Perhaps even more impressive is the work they’ve done in the classroom, though, with both of them earning weighted 4.8 GPAs in their three years at Centennial High School. Both brothers will be eligible to play beginning in 2013-14.
  4. Stepping away from the recruiting and transfer news that dominates this time of year, Jeff Goodman has a terrific article on the “second chance kids” that will try to bring USC back to national relevance this season. Things got considerably tougher on Kevin O’Neill and company when star guard Maurice Jones announced he was transferring out of the program just a little over two weeks ago. Ruled academically ineligible 10 days before the announcement, Jones wouldn’t have played the 2012-13 season anyway. But it brought back more of the “what else can go wrong” feeling that haunted the Trojans all of last season. Even despite the loss of Jones, the Trojans figure to be much more competitive this year through the play of returnees and newcomers like Jio Fontan, J.T. Terrell, and Eric Wise.
  5. Lastly, it’s that time of year again where Drew and I get to exchange our weekly football picks. Last week Drew took advantage of a pair of home upsets (Stanford over USC and Utah over BYU) to pull within just three games of me.  Things should get really interesting beginning this week now that Pac-12 play begins in earnest. We’ve got a battle of the basement up on the Palouse (Colorado-Washington State), the Drew-Connor rivalry (Oregon State-UCLA), an in-state rivalry featuring two teams coming off close losses (California-USC), and our game of the week, Arizona-Oregon. Utah and Arizona State will also play each other, but I couldn’t think of anything creative for that one. Picks below, with our game of the week prediction in bold:
Game Connor’s Pick (26-7) Drew’s Pick (23-10)
Oregon State at UCLA UCLA UCLA
Colorado at Washington State Washington State Washington State
California at USC USC USC
Utah at Arizona State Arizona State Utah
Arizona at Oregon Oregon 31-17 Oregon 40-28
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2009-10 Conference Primers: #25 – Atlantic Sun

Posted by rtmsf on October 13th, 2009

seasonpreview

Ryan Dunn is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Sun Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Lipscomb Bisons                             (20-9, 15-5)
  2. Jacksonville Dolphins                     (19-11, 14-6)
  3. Mercer Bears                                   (17-15, 12-8)
  4. Campbell Camels                            (17-13, 11-9)
  5. East Tennessee State Bucs              (15-15, 11-9)
  6. Belmont Bruins                               (13-17, 10-10)
  7. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles              (14-15, 9-11)              
  8. Stetson Hatters                               (13-16, 8-12)
  9. North Florida Ospreys                    (11-19, 7-13)
  10. Kennesaw State Owls                   (9-23, 5-15)
  11. USC-Upstate Spartans                  (4-25, 4-16)

Preseason All-Conference Team (all stats 2008-09 season):

  • James Florence (G), Mercer                  20.8 points, 3.7 assists
  • Ben Smith (G), Jacksonville                   16.9 points, 4.0 assists
  • Jonathan Rodriguez  (F), Campbell        15.6 points, 8.3 rebounds
  • Mike Smith (F), ETSU                               15.3 points, 7.7 rebounds
  • Adnan Hodzic (C), Lipscomb                17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds

6th Man.  Daniel Emerson, Mercer.  Yes I know Emerson will not come off the bench but since he is such a good player and he wasn’t mentioned on my all-conference team I wanted to give him some recognition.  Emerson was the only player in the league last year to average a double-double.  

Impact Newcomer.  Justin Tubbs, ETSU.  Transfer from Alabama, very athletic and should provide immediate help in the ETSU backcourt.

a sun

What You Need To Know.

  • While the A-Sun has 11 teams in the league, only nine teams are eligible for postseason play as Florida Gulf Coast and USC-Upstate are still completing their transition from Division 2to Division 1.  This upcoming season marks the first year that North Florida and Kennesaw State will be eligible for postseason play as they have now completed their transition to Division I.  Only eight spots are reserved for the conference tournament meaning that only one eligible team will miss out.  This year’s tournament will be played at Mercer’s University Center in Macon, Georgia.
  • Some headlines that made news this offseason included a coaching change at North Florida as they named former Baylor assistant Matthew Driscoll head coach.  Driscoll has put together quite the coaching staff that features former Campbell assistant Bobby Kennan, former Head Coach at Lander College Bruce Evans, and Jeremy Shyatt, former Director of Basketball Operations at VCU and son of former Clemson head coach and current Florida top assistant Larry Shyatt.  Driscoll and his staff brought in nine newcomers to go along with six returning players.  Five of the newcomers earned all-state honors in the state of Florida. 
  • The league features two of the more premier mid-major players in Campbell’s Jonathan Rodriguez and Mercer’s James Florence.  Both have a chance to rewrite their school and conference record books.  Florence is the active leader for career scoring in the league with Rodriguez following in second.  Rodriguez stands second on the Atlantic Sun’s career double-double list with 39, and is just three off the record.  Florence currently sits in fifth on the Mercer all-time scoring list.  Both players should indeed break numerous records and if you haven’t seen them play it would definitely be worth your money to see them in action this season.

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