Dawkins prepares Stanford for challenge

Johnny Dawkins is are that Stanford will need to play well to defeat Arizona. Read on for his thoughts on the Wildcats and more.

Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins has had success at home against ranked teams in the past and feels he knows what it will take to get another on Wednesday.

"We have to play well of course," Dawkins said. "We're home, we have to make sure we stay disciplined, we have to make sure we defend, and we have to do it together."

One of the players that Stanford will have to contend with is Aaron Gordon, who Dawkins thinks very highly of.

"He's a great player," Dawkins said. "You see a player who probably has one of the best motors in our game. He never takes a play off. Every possession he is involved doing something. If you ever watch him, it's beautiful.

"When you see a player that spends all the time on the floor moving going from one place to the next, that's rare in our game even for the elite players and I think that is what separates him."

Although they play different positions, Stanford hopes that Chasson Randle will have a similar impact.

"I think Chasson is having a terrific season for us," Dawkins said. "He has been our leading scorer, he has been very aggressive, and he is playing the way we want him to play.

"Last year was a difficult season for him, so I think he took it to heart and knew he needed to improve and he did and we're happy for it."

Beyond the court, Dawkins is hoping that the home atmosphere will help as well.

"I think it is a great environment," he said. "You want to play in an environment that has a lot of energy and the students show a lot of passion. Maples has the potential to do that.

"I have been here to see that. At times it can get so loud and the fans get so involved you feel good about it, but you want that as a home court and I think everyone enjoys playing in that type of arena and that type of arena."

If he had to point to a few aspects that will decide the game, Dawkins has two that stand out.

"The one thing we have to do is defend and that means rebound as well," he said. "They are such a good team at not only shooting the basketball, but also finishing those shots and putting them back in with the extra possession. Defending and rebounding will be huge for us."

So where does Arizona rank among the teams Dawkins has faced?

"It is definitely one of the best teams we have seen, if not the best team," Dawkins said. "Probably based on everything I have looked at this season, they are the best team I have seen since coaching in the conference."


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