Nov 1, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here.
“Next year, there’s no reason why we can’t get to where we want to be and have the opportunity to make a run in this thing. Coach is in his sixth year. There’s a reason why he was hired to be our Stanford guy, and I have full confidence he can get us there.”
Those were the words of Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir in a story written by Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group back in March, with the Cardinals on their way to the Postseason NIT and missing out on the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive season. Despite having the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player in forward Dwight Powell and other key contributors such as guards Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle and forward Josh Huestis, Stanford couldn’t get over the hump. With more than 90% of the scoring and rebounding from last season’s team back on The Farm the expectations are straightforward, both within and outside of the Stanford program.
“We have high expectations,” Powell told NBC Sports. “None of the guys on the team right now have played in the Big Dance, and I think that’s the dream of everyone who’s ever picked up a basketball. That’s one of our biggest goals, to get to the tournament and play on that stage and play against that level of competition. That’s our major goal.”
The 6-foot-10 senior from Toronto will be an integral part of the rotation for the Cardinal, and he’s coming off of a busy summer that included playing for Canada in the World University Games. Playing alongside the likes of Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim and Baylor’s Brady Heslip, Powell shot 61.9% from the field and posted averages of 12.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as Canada finished fourth in the event. That performance came on the heels of Powell’s best season at Stanford, as he led the Cardinal in scoring (14.9 ppg) and finished second on the team in rebounding (8.4 rpg). He’ll be asked to lead the way for what should be a balanced club, and he’s got a highly dependable front court sidekick in junior Josh Huestis (10.5, 9.0).
“Their versatility is what makes them so special for us,” Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins told NBC Sports. “We play a system in which they’re not relegated to playing one set position on the floor. With that being the case they have to be skilled; they have to be able to pass, shoot and handle the basketball some. They’re both good enough at those things to be productive in our system. They’re both long, can rebound and block shots as well.”
The backcourt will possess depth, talent and experience, with veteran returnees Bright and Randle combining for 67 of a possible 68 starts a season ago. Randle was Stanford’s second-leading scorer (13.6 ppg), and he was second on the team in assist rate (18.7%) while factoring into more than 24% of Stanford’s possessions (only Powell and Stefan Nastic rated higher in possession percentage, per kenpom.com). And Bright led the team in assists while also averaging nearly ten points per game.
The Cardinal will add freshman twins Malcolm and Marcus Allen as well as Anthony Brown (8.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg in 2011-12), who returns to the lineup after a hip injury forced him to redshirt last season. And the return of Brown is important, especially when considering the fact that Andy Brown (no relation) had to retire this past offseason after suffering yet another knee injury. While the loss of Andy shouldn’t be glossed over, as he started 19 games last season and shot 49% from the field the return of Anthony, who was a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection in 2010-11, will give Stanford a needed boost.
“We lose a man with a really good basketball IQ who would have given us a lot of experience and leadership, and his return was an inspirational story to our guys,” Dawkins said of Andy Brown, who suffered four knee injuries before being forced to retire. “Both Andy and Anthony are versatile players for us, and having Anthony back gives us the ability to mitigate that loss somewhat. It’s tough to lose Andy, but having Anthony come back does help.”
Another returnee of note is sophomore forward Rosco Allen, who gained some valuable experience this summer playing with Hungary’s Under-20 team in the U-20 European Championships. Currently out with a shin injury, Allen averaged 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for Hungary and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. A player with a great amount of talent, Allen’s still in the process of “finding out who he is as a player” according to Dawkins and he can be a major asset to the Cardinal once healthy. Overall there’s no shortage of options at each position for the Cardinal, but the question is a simple one entering 2013-14: will it all click?
Of Stanford’s nine conference losses in 2012-13 five were by five points or less, including two losses to USC by a combined three points. Games like those can come down to one or two possessions at any stage in the contest, with the ability to take care of every “minor” detail proving to be the difference between a win and a loss. That’s the area Stanford will need to address as they prepare to make a run at the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2008.
“I think most of those games came down to paying attention to detail,” said Powell. “Because any game you lose that’s within three, four or five points, that comes down to who wanted it more in regards to the little things. Whether it’s a loose ball or a long rebound that wasn’t chased down.
“Our focus has definitely been to just keep a strong attention to detail and reinforce that in practice, to make sure we’re maintaining a high standard of excellence and always focusing on each individual play,” continued Powell. “Because ultimately if it comes down to two points, it could have been an offensive rebound from the first half that ended up giving momentum to the other team that puts you in that situation.”
Turn around a few of those close losses and Stanford may have been able to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament last season, but that wasn’t the case in the end. The talent and experience are certainly there for Stanford to make a return to the NCAA tournament, and the expectations are present as well. How Stanford manages them will ultimately decide the program’s fate.
Dec 26, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
Darrun Hilliard suffered a concussion on Dec. 20 in an overtime win over Syracuse.
Dec 26, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Colorado State is off to its best start in school history with a 12-0 start.
Dec 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
What does VCU have to improve on as it enters Atlantic 10 Conference play as the favorite?
Dec 26, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Bobby Hurley landed the third player for his incoming class.
Dec 26, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
The leading scorer for the Terrapins has been out since Nov. 28.
Dec 26, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
The sophomore forward was involved in an accident on the early hours of Nov. 1.
Dec 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EST
Jordan Price is averaging 18.8 points per game for the Explorers, and he’s scored 26 or more in each of the last three games.
Dec 26, 2014, 3:03 PM EST
Previewing one of the year’s biggest matchups.
Dec 26, 2014, 1:25 PM EST
Marietta (Georgia) Wheeler HS, led by Jaylen Brown, became the first public school to win the event since 2004.
Dec 26, 2014, 11:30 AM EST
Gonzaga, BYU among the teams off to good starts in the WCC.
Dec 26, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
Who have been college basketballs breakout stars?
Dec 25, 2014, 10:59 PM EST
Just four games on the schedule Christmas Day, with the Colonials picking up some hardware.
Dec 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The third-ranked Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday. Where do they need to improve in the new year?
Dec 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Iowa State once again looks like a strong competitor in the Big 12 this season.
Dec 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
The ten teams, players and leagues that have left us wanting more.
Dec 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
What do the Zags need to change this season?
Dec 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
What will the Tar Heels need to improve upon in order to compete for the ACC title?
Dec 24, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The preseason pick to win Big East Freshman of the Year is averaging 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the 9-2 Pirates.
Dec 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
What does Duke need to do to remain a title contender this season?
Dec 24, 2014, 3:07 PM EST
He’s made a habit out of cracking jokes at his team’s expense this season.
- Film Session: Louisville-Kentucky will be a Tale of Two (Different) Defenses 1
- WCC Midseason Catchup: No. 8 Gonzaga leads the way 0
- The top 15 most improved players in college basketball 2
- Late Night Snacks: George Washington wins the Diamond Head Classic 0
- New Year’s Resolutions: Arizona Wildcats 2
- The ten biggest disappointments of the 2014-2015 college basketball season 4
- New Year’s Resolutions: Gonzaga Bulldogs 0
- No. 1 Kentucky dismantles UCLA (6)
- Kentucky still has one more major test to pass this season and it might not come against Louisville (5)
- The ten biggest disappointments of the 2014-2015 college basketball season (4)
- No. 24 North Carolina handles No. 12 Ohio State (3)
- ACC suspends Louisville junior forward Montrezl Harrell one game (3)