The Bootleg Presents: Hoops RoundTable III

Men's Hoops Editor Ray Salloom brings together some amazing folks to discuss Stanford Men's Basketball! Check out our third roundtable of 2011-12!

Welcome to the second Bootleg Hoops Roundtable of 2011-12, a roundtable where we gather folks who love, live, and breathe hoops...and then some. For today's installment, we have the following three folks joining us on our panel:

Drew Shiller - Former Stanford basketball player turned color commentator starting with the 2010-11 season. A multi-sport athlete, Drew came to Stanford via USF and contributed well for the Cardinal in his two seasons on the Farm.

"Roscoemaynard" - Former Stanford basketball player who has provided years and years of wisdom, witty remarks, and butt coil to The Bootleg through his time on the boards and through his weekly columns during the basketball season.

Poly81 - Former Stanford basketball player who has provided many years of his wisdom and witty remarks on The Bootleg.

Andy Poppink - You'll remember our newest member of the panel as one of the key cogs to Stanford's 1990s hoops renaissance, as "Popps" played with the Cardinal from 1992-1996 and was a force to be reckoned with at the forward position.

I posed five questions to the panel this week, ranging from their feelings coming out of the last slate of games to what they think Stanford will do to close out the regular season to how does one try to break out of a shooting slump. Here's what they had to say:

(1) Stanford sits at 7-6, getting a home split versus the Arizona schools and a road split at the LA schools.  About what you expected out of those four games?

Andy Poppink -
Expected, maybe...With two solid victories.  But not what we hoped for.  It would've been nice to pick up one against Zona or UCLA.  The Arizona game was fun to watch.  Two athletic teams playing their hearts out but it ended up just being a lot of exercise for not very many points.

"roscoemaynard" - The Zona loss was painful, because I thought given how lousy ASU and USC are, that we should come out of this stretch 3-1.

Drew Shiller - Not what I expected.  Both the losses to Arizona and UCLA were winnable games. Against the Wildcats, Stanford got a plethora of wide open shots, and nobody could make anything. Against UCLA, 22 turnovers, after averaging just nine the previous five games.

"Poly81" - Yes.  Arizona has talent and decent coaching, UCLA was the tougher of the two LA schools, and we know this Stanford team has a tough time on the road, and evidently your team is really pretty bad if you wear Cardinal and Gold.  Although I give Sendek credit for booting kids off the team (assuming, of course, that they deserved it).  Plus, he went to Carnegie Mellon, so he has that to fall back on.

(2) Much has been made of the shooting woes the team has experienced lately that coincided with their losing ways since beating up on Colorado last
month.  Will the game versus USC give them the springboard of confidence they need to get things going back in the right direction?

Andy Poppink - The best way to get your confidence back and get out of a slump is to get some easy hoops first.  Would love to see Josh get the ball down low and that be the starting point for getting people in a rhythm and some wide open looks.

"roscoemaynard" - I think that springboard is a loaded noun in this context.  To what is the springboard attached Mon Frere?  I have trouble seeing a game we should win by 30, but only win by 12 and commit 19 turnovers, as a springboard.

Drew Shiller - It's somewhat hard to tell. USC is historically bad, but a win is a win and it was an impressive second half. I don't care how undermanned a team may be, outrebounding any opponent 45-19 is amazing.

"Poly81" - One hopes, and we have two teams this week that are roughly middle of the pack with regard to their defensive ability (  I'd add more, but he's now charging $19.95 a year!).  I'd like them to build confidence from the inside out (i.e., get Owens off to a good start, and that will help our three-point shooters).  Fast break baskets off rebounds build confidence, too.

(3) What did you do during your careers to help break out of your shooting slumps, if you ever had any of course?

Andy Poppink - It probably all looked like one very long slump to most casual viewers.  My way out was to work my tail off to pick up an offensive board or a loose ball to try to find a few easy buckets first.  It is amazing what a little head start and some confidence will do for a shooting slump.

"roscoemaynard" - I had one shooting slump, December of 1987.  I didn't make a shot.  It was the December not to remember.  The shooting slump included bunnies and free throws, hell I remember airballing a three wide left from the top of the key—totally spastic.  First game of January...January 2, 1988, against Seattle Pacific and my dear old AAU buddy Mark Sundquist, I put up a top of the key three pointer that felt like total crap and my soul was crushed, my shoulders were already slumping and it banked in.  Basically, I watched my friend Mark, who was nowhere near the player I was, light us up and play with reckless confidence.  It was too embarrassing to watch Mark play that well while I sucked.  That pushed my ego too far and it finally pushed back.  My career turned a corner that game.  Nobody noticed until the Zona game a month later.

Drew Shiller - Simply have to keep shooting when you get good looks. You don't want to force up bad shots, but you need to stay aggressive.

"Poly81" - I'm still in a shooting slump.  I missed my first 20 or 30 shots my freshman year - which was painful, since I got two or three per game.  I had visions of being 0-for-a-career.  My advice:  keep shooting and try to get fouled.  And buy your point guard a dinner or two.

(4) Any predictions for the homestretch with home games versus the Oregon schools and cal with a road trip to Colorado and Utah squeezed in?

Andy Poppink - The home games will be great to watch.  I expect a lot of energy, hustle, and some high flying highlights.  I expect the cal game to be close and back and forth throughout with Stanford hitting a few big shots in the last few minutes to take it home.  I also expect "roscoe" to taunt Monty the entire game.

"roscoemaynard" - I think we will go 3-2.  But I really want to say we go 5-0.  Man are these five games winnable.

Drew Shiller - Not going to make any predictions. With the way things have gone in the Pac-12 this year, it will drive you crazy if you try to simulate outcomes (having said that - a win at Utah should be a sure thing).

"Poly81" - 3-2 would be good.  4-1 would be great - and I believe they can do it.  That said, can someone talk to Larry Scott about playing ASU and USC again?

(5) If you could give this team any advice as they prepare for the end of the season, what would it be?

Andy Poppink -
From my perspective, one of the challenges with the team this year is that it appears that we still have yet to find our offensive identity.  It is great to have depth and talent and to give everyone opportunities but from a casual observer standpoint it appears at times that the team does not necessarily know who the go-to players are at critical moments in the game.  Josh is a difference maker given his strength and athleticism and I'd love to see him be the focal point at key moments and Randle has shown an ability to be a confident playmaker at the end of games.  I would love to see those two emerge as the known go-to guys and have the rest be ready for the open opportunities that come from Josh and Chasson.

"roscoemaynard" - They sure as hell don't need any advice from me.  But if I was coaching, I'd put butts on the bench until Josh Owens shot the ball 10 a game, no excuses.  No one in this conference plays elite defense, no one.  Josh Owens can't go 2-4 from the floor against UCLA on the road.  He just can't.

Drew Shiller - Make some open shots!  Also, go back and watch the Syracuse game and remember what it felt like to compete and be the aggressor.

"Poly81" - Be bold - and that goes for the coaching staff as well as the players.  As much as I hate the conference tournament, that's the end game.  Stop screwing around with different lineups, give Randle control of the point and force tempo, get the ball to Owens if the fast break isn't there, and everyone rebound.  We're deep enough to be able to press - let's give the other teams something to worry about come tournament time.

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