Our favorite former combo guard checks in with his first column of the 2010-2011 Stanford Men's Basketball season. It is a new world for the mad minions of Maples Pavilion as talent and numbers have converged to replenish the Cardinal coffers. Read on for Scott's take on the week that was and the frequent wins that will be forthcoming for Johnny Dawkins & Co.
Tony, Fire Up The Bus Already!" Edition
Editor's Note: The following commentary offers the
author's unique thoughts of the on-court
performances of some of Stanford University's basketball
players. Nothing the author writes should
be construed as a lack of respect
for anyone or anything, unless it is obviously so
intended. The author understands that each player is busting
his butt for the Cardinal, but the reader should understand that the critiques
by the author are at least somewhat informed and the players participate in a
public forum. In fact, read this at your own risk of being
offended, confused, or even nauseous. The candid views expressed
below sure as heck do not reflect those
of The Bootleg's executive editorial management, Major Upset
Productions, the Scout Network, Fox Sports, News Corp, the Buck/Cardinal
Club, Stanford University, or any of its employees, liberal
professors, students or volunteers.
College basketball is ostensibly an amateur
sport. Nothing says "amateur" like the officially sanctioned radio
broadcast of Stanford Men's Basketball not being streamed on the internet.
My fellow booties, envision me, my wife, my mother and my dog "Rex"
cramming into the car in the garage with the laptop on the dashboard trying to
get the radio broadcast of the home opener against U-Diego because its not
streaming on the internet. But alas, its not coming in over airwaves either
because XTRA Sports 860 isn't blowing at a full 50,000 megapixels. Ten bazillion
dollar endowment, the hotbed of technology since its invention, and yours
truly can't get the law firm of Platz and Shiller on the radio for their
first broadcast as a starting backcourt. And worse, "Rex" and "Mom" in the
backseat were steaming up the windows. Sing it with me booties,
"M-I-C-K-E-Y...B-A-N-K-R-U-P-T-C-Y". So I made sure we went to the UVA game
in person last night.
Excuse me (Or not), but Jarrett Mann is our
starting point guard. Although he has also played some "2" guard. In the first two games, terrific defense and his handle, particularly with the left
hand, looks much improved. He is not a natural scorer, let's face it. But, his
defense has been tough, and at one point early in the second half against the Cavaliers, we had to make a switch and bring in Bright to run the point and moved Mann over onto a "poker hot" Joe Harris to shut him off. And Mann hosed him down. "Defensive stopper" is a good role for him. It will be good for his confidence. And that is what he is missing at the free-throw line. Who cares where the confidence comes from, but he has to
find some to take with him to the stripe, because 2-9 is bad
True freshman Aaron Bright has played the bulk of the back-up
point guard minutes so far and he looks very solid with his handle and vision. After the U-Diego game I was going to say he needs to tighten up his footwork pre-shot and not drift in the air, but he tightened that up in three days, and absolutely locked and loaded, with no drift, on poor helpless UVA.
4-4 on the bombage against UVA, with 4 assists and only 1 turnover (albeit a bad one) in 17 minutes, is outstanding. For those not at the game, Bright knocked in the last bomb of his and showed some strut. And the next
thing you know fellow first-year Anthony Brown was showing some strut. Freshmen backing up the 'Tude with a bit-o-game is nice.
Speaking of point guard, lost in the glow of Bright's barrage against UVA was the glow of the barrage of U-Diego by our back-up combo guard Gabe Harris, who went 5-6 for 12 in 15 minutes. Taking full advantage of Jeremy Green's off-night, Harris was opportunistic, mistake free, and played with great confidence. He played the same way against UVA, it's just that Bright was playing so well and Green was back in business. Coach Dawkins did a great job bringing Harris back in late against UVA to finish the game at the point guard spot, letting him get some time running the club, instead of wasting those minutes elsewhere.
Jeremy Green is was in foul trouble early against U-Diego, and they were bad fouls. But the effort during his minutes (20 of them) was
unrelenting. His team bailed him out against the Torreros, which had to
feel good for the guy everyone assumed couldn't afford to have a bad night and
still have us win. Green was back against UVA with great effort, fire, and
leadership, but he also brought the revolvers. 21 points, 8-13 shooting,
in 30 minutes and a number of late-in-the-shot-clock bombs, including the 27-
footer with two minutes left that persuaded former WSU coach Tony Bennett
to fire up the bus.
Speaking of shooting guards, if you haven't seen
Anthony Brown yet, the kid doesn't lack confidence. He shoots 1-7 against U-Diego and without any discernible change in attitude, turns around and bombs
away for 5-8 against UVA for 13 points. 6 rebounds against U-Diego too.
And he will grab the rebound and lead the break and he already shows great vision
and decision-making. He has a serious problem of the "smooths"
2 & 0, winning ugly once, and "winning sexy" against UVA. Everyone is more handsome when they shoot well. But, defensively we
are better, more guys, more minutes, more internal competition. Mann is
terrific, Green (for lack of a better word....) is good, Bright improved a
lot from game to game and was more opportunistic, Harris is good, and Brown is
good, but adds length and
great athleticism to the equation.
Defensively, Coach Dawkins has some nice pieces to mix and match and he
has already seen that on any given night, someone or two can get you 12 off the
Play of the week: Ain't no Powell monster dunk, folks.
Aaron Bright in the second half, going all Chris Hernandez, and diving
across the floor in a flash to get on a loose ball before the UVA player that
was standing over it could, with Green quickly calling a timeout and converting
the possession to us. Attitude, tattoos, hustle, and it infuriated Tony
Bennett because his program is built on making those types of hustle plays.
So is ours!
Final Thoughts: Zimmerman looks terrific, like a new man. He clearly worked his butt off this off-season. We thought Powell would be a beast, but what he is a beast of base-line slasher. Last year we gave up four million bunnies, and already we are about 200% better defensively around the rim. Powell, Huestis, Brown, Trott, Zimm and Owens are defending in there with position and athleticism, but the real key is that they are edgy - they will foul you! Methinks that practice must be much more physical and competitive. No free minutes this
Final Final: Let's put them out of their misery. I hate cal. Woodshed 'em.
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