Tuesday (11/4) Hoops Practice Notes

Stanford Men's Basketball is now in its third week of practices, and just 11 days from the exhibition opener. Do you know what your Stanford Cardinal are up to? Chris Jaenike does and reports to us after his time spent Tuesday in Maples. Read on for all the latest notes, including his impressions of maturing veterans as well as the freshmen pair...

1.  Matt Lottich turned in an outstanding performance.  He buried a remarkable percentage of his shots both from deep and mid-range.  Lotty's senior leadership is clearly evident; he leads both by example (giving maximum effort, including winning wind sprints) and vocally.  I'm very much reminded of the way David Moseley looked heading into his senior campaign.  Matt appears poised to have a breakout senior season like those of Moseley or Mike McDonald.

2.  Dan Grunfeld also turned in a terrific shooting performance.  That was not a surprise to me, but what did surprise me was how comfortable Dan looked in the offense.  He wasn't content just to look for his jumper; he drove into the paint several times and then calmly found the open man, whether it was one of our big men cutting to the hoop or a spot-up shooter on the perimeter.  I'm appreciating more and more how Dan does the subtle things, such as shielding the ball with his body when he drives it inside.

3.  I completely agree with Mike Eubanks on the progress Carlton Weatherby has made and continues to make.  He looks increasingly comfortable in our offense, and asserted himself a couple of times by breaking down his defender.  (In case you're thinking that's more of a statement about our defenders than about Carlton, I would caution that Carlton really is quite quick.  On the other hand, he shouldn't be able to blow by our other points.)

4.  Justin Davis looked great in the low post, displaying an impressive variety of spin moves ending in either chippies or passes out to our wings for jumpers. 

5.  Chris Hernandez went full speed (no evidence of his being slowed by his back), and was rock solid.  Chris seems to be hitting a high enough percentage of his threes to keep defenses honest.  I see this as a real key going forward.  When he penetrated, he looked good on pull-up jumpers, not as good when he tried to take it all the way to the goal.

6.  Tim Morris struggled from outside.  He looked considerably better putting the ball on the floor and penetrating.  If you're looking for an analogy, I'd offer up Errick Craven, though Tim has the benefit of being at least an inch and change taller.  Like Craven, Morris is very good at getting past his defender off the dribble.

7.  Joe Kirchofer struggled to hang onto the ball in the low post, although some of the entry passes to him were tough to handle.

8.  Matt Haryasz continues to look like a guy who will be a force, particularly if he's not content just to ride the pine and play eight minutes a game.

9.  Rob Little was effective in muscling his defender inside of a few feet.  Despite rumors to the contrary, I don't see any evidence yet that Rob is capable of shooting effectively facing the basket from outside of a few feet.  I think his role on offense is going to continue to be Madsen-like.  I'd love to see the little jump hook Rob showed occasionally last year, but I have yet to see him try it.

10.  The team spent some time on an interesting three-on-three drill in which the defenders initially slid back and forth as if in a zone while the offensive players moved around without the ball, which was in a coach's hands at the top of the key.  After a few seconds, the coach would shoot a three pointer, and each of the defensive players was supposed to find an offensive player, put a body on him, and grab the rebound.  I liked the drill, as zone defenses tend to be prone to giving up offensive rebounds.  I take the fact that we're running this drill as yet another sign that we're going to play a fair amount of zone defense this season.

11.  Ball movement continues to look good.  Among our starters, Chris, Lotty, and Justin in particular continue to be excellent passers who keep the ball moving.  Nobody dominated the ball.  Off the bench, Dan stood out with his creative passing in the interior, and Fred Washington impressed with his quick, crisp passes.

12.  All freshmen face a difficult adjustment on defense, but Morris and Washington are closer to being able to defend effectively at the Pac-10 level at this stage of preseason than other wings that have come into the program under Monty.  I have a difficult time coming up with a close third -- maybe Kris Weems.

13.  Some individual plays that stood out... Grunfeld with a no-look, behind the back pass to a cutter underneath the bucket...  Weatherby with a quick crossover move to beat Jason Haas along the baseline... Matt Haryasz going baseline for a throwdown... Tim Morris with a nice 15 footer with a defender in his face (I swear he shoots better with a man on him than when left wide open)... Davis with a lightning quick spin move into the lane (defended well by Rob) followed by a kick-out to Grunny for the open three.


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