When we started covering this 2004 Stanford Basketball recruiting class last fall, it was billed as the "Great Search for Big Men." Indeed, Stanford failed to bring in a scholarship player taller than 6'5" this past year, and that will leave the Card a little undermanned (as measured by body count) in this 2003-04 season. The shortage will be exacerbated, though, when two fifth-year senior bigs graduate this spring in Justin Davis and Joe Kirchofer. That leaves just senior center Rob Little and junior forward Matt Haryasz on the roster this time next year, plus whatever freshmen enter from the current recruiting class.
6'10" center Peter Prowitt gave his commitment more than six months ago, but where are the other two big bodies that were needed to join him? The November signing period will be upon us before you know it, and the clock is ticking.
The greatest collection of high school basketball talent can be found each summer in Las Vegas at the Adidas Big Time, and I wrote afterward in August that I felt the most athletic talent of the big man crop (with Stanford-recruitable academics) was San Antonio power forward Trent Plaisted. He is quick, agile and has a fantastic knack for creating shots anywhere out to 15 feet from the basket.
Given the Stanford coaching staff does not fully extend scholarship offers until any recruit is admitted, and that there are no admits thus far in this class besides Prowitt, it is difficult to discern the exact priority with which Mike Montgomery has "ranked" the big men on the board. But it is clear to many evaluators of prep recruits that Plaisted is a top 150 national talent of high major ability. With offers from the likes of Florida State, Utah, BYU, New Mexico, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M among others, it was plain to see that college coaches agreed.
Stanford has put their stake in the ground with Montgomery's recent in-home visit to the Plaisted household in San Antonio, as well as the official visit for the athletic lefty that has begun at Stanford today. I recently caught up with Plaisted to discuss the in-home visit with Stanford's heralded head coach, and what he thinks about his top recruiting options.
"It went really well," the 6'9" 220-pound forward comments. "We discussed what campus life is like at Stanford. Coach Montgomery is an impressive guy. It was a good visit and makes me look forward to the official visit."
The left-handed recruit did outline a few things he learned of note during the discussion with the Cardinal's head coach, regarding the treatment of athletes at Stanford and regarding his future position on the basketball floor.
"I was sort of surprised to learn how athletes get no special treatment," he admits. "They are treated like regular students, which I guess is both a good and bad thing. The bad is that I learned, for example, that if you are on the road for trip, they don't let you turn in your assignments late. That's probably how it should be, but it just surprised me. It seems everywhere else there are special breaks given to athletes. Since I'm an athlete, I kind like it the other way." Plaisted finished that comment with a laugh.
"I was also concerned about what position I would play at Stanford," he continues on a more serious note. "An assistant at one point had mentioned the '5' to me. And center is something I don't want to play at all, at least not in my first couple years in college. Coach Montgomery was funny about it, though. He said from now on, he'll be careful to only mention the power forward with any conversation with me."
One expected piece of news that did not come with the in-home visit was on the admissions front. Plaisted had expected an answer on his Stanford admissions application, which was still not available when Montgomery sat in his living room. "He said there was no answer, but it is not going to be a problem," the recruit recalls. "He said he has good vibes and I'm probably going to get in."
Stanford was not the only school to pay an in-home visit to the San Antonio star, though. He offers these comments:
"BYU seems like a better chance of early playing time," he reflects. "That has caught my eye a little bit. I would play the '4' but also maybe some at the '3' for them. Florida State treats their athletes the complete opposite of Stanford. That again is a good and bad thing. Stanford has the education and West Coast, plus Coach Montgomery is a really good guy. The each have something different about them.
Plaisted names these three schools plus Washington State as his final four. He took an official trip to Tallahassee last weekend and is of course at The Farm currently. He will hit Pullman next weekend, and then make his final stop in Provo the next Thursday (10/9). Why the mid-week trip? BYU plays one of its many Thursday night football games that week, which the basketball coaches would like him to experience.
"I'm really excited to meet the players," Plaisted says about the visits. "That will help me determine my decision. It's important how I feel I fit in."
Though crazy dynamics with other recruits are occurring all over the country, with cancelled and rescheduled visits, as well as some surprise early commitments before promised visits, Plaisted proclaims that he will go through with all four of these planned trips.
"It wouldn't be fair to me or the schools to not take all of them. I need as informed a decision as possible."
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