Posts of the Week
Each week, we will highlight a few entertaining and/or informative posts from the previous week. Please keep in mind that it is hard to keep track/prioritize all posts so we would welcome input from all Booties. You can make a "Bootie Selection" post as a response to any post that you deem worthy or you can email a link (to the nominated post) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are the posts that made this week's list:
Subject: You're off base RMOTKING
I agree that the program appears to be on the rise, and our
best seasons are ahead of us, but how many times do you think we
will realistically be in a situation where we are 1 win from a
possible NC game? The chips had all fallen into place this year.
Our SOS was #1, we won the tough road game in Autzen, we beat
UCLA and had an an upcoming 4 game stretch that appears right now
to be one of the easiest ever. That game against UW was big. UW
was down, we were up. We really, really needed that game,
especially after what happened last year. They have a huge
psychological edge over us which doesn't bode well for coming
seasons. If you think our recruiting classes are impressive now,
think of what a 10-1 season would have done for us?
I'm not down on the team at all, 9-2 is something to be very proud of, especially considering the injuries we sustained this year. I will always root for Stanford, be it 0-11 or 12-0. Yesterdays game was a painful loss though. I don't think we were fooling ourselves, this is a very good team that was capable of winning that game.
Poster: Genuine Realist
Subject: Long Range concerns
I liked the game of football a lot more 30 years ago, when the
concept of knocking a player out the game, i.e., deliberately
injuring him, was at least not a subject of public comment. I
don't remember either of the 70 or 71 Rose Bowl teams losing ANY
player to injury, with the exception of Miles Moore to a weirdo
neck contusion. I don't recall any major problem with the opposition either.
I'd like to think that the spate of injuries that has hit Stanford this year is unusual - except that it isn't. Most of them aren't any more serious than what the kids who ski and body surf will end up with, sooner or later in life. But the spinal, neurological, and some abdominal types are definitely not of that type, and a major concern. Some of this is unavoidable, do to the increased size and speed of players. But a lot of this is preventable. I am really frosted that more isn't done with materials technology.
Nothing is going to convince me that the size and bulk of helmets doesn't contribute both to head and abdominal injuries. There MUST be a material durable enough to protect the head, without being so heavy that it can be used as a battering ram, or cause cerebral damage when struck. Similarly, body pads can be fabricated out of stuff that is not quite so bulky and ungiving.
I notice Tab Perry, the really gifted wr out of Milpitas playing for UCLA, is now in the hospital with four broken ribs and a tube in his chest. Why not a super light weight flak jacket to protect his rib cage - from an injury I'll bet any money was caused by one of those helmets or reinforced shoulder pads. That the players and coaches tolerate this level of injury is itself intolerable.
The ultimate villain in my opinion is the NFL and in particular. . . not the owners, but the Player's Union, which accepts without protest stuff like Astroturf, a fifth quarter in tie games with no pay increment (wanna try that out on the Teamsters?), and this antediluvian equipment. It virtually guarantees that every player is going to be hurt during his career, some seriously. That establishes the tone for the all the junior versions of the game.
Even the knee stuff can be limited. New materials are being developed constantly. Why not a knee brace out of some plastic that supports while possessing enough elasticity to be non-inhibiting ? The right material is out there somewhere, I'm sure.
What frosts me is that no one is even doing research or proposing solutions. They all accept it. And `injure-this-guy-to-get-him-out-of-the-game' has become an accepted defensive strategy. Coaches that actually philosophize that should be run out of the game, not promoted to ABC commentators.
Fewer and fewer kids want to play this game, which is a shame, because there is lots to be learned from it, the high school version has become relatively safe (the administrators who run those programs actually care about the players), and at its best it has a rare beauty. Acceptance of the status quo is going to lead to losing it altogether.
Subject: Ten GameDay Thoughts/Items to Watch (long)
While I read well over 99% of the posts on all of the boards,
I have stopped reading the PG debate threads below. It became
tiresome to read the back-and-forth. So I want to pull away from
some of those arguments to put a wide range of thoughts on the
table before tonight's exhibition opener:
1) The starting line-up has gotten the collective board's proverbial panties all in a bunch. I think the far greater information we want to watch for is the substitution pattern, which is still completely hidden from us. Tonight won't provide all the answers, but it will increase our knowledge on minutes at each position several fold. Just remember, though, that we've seen frosh play in exhibition games and wow us before, only to return to the bench as the schedule heats up. Monty generally pulls the reigns in soon.
2) Time to translate what Monty meant by "unorthodox" when talking about Rob Little. Without trying to harsh on Rob's high school coaches and system, the short answer is that Rob has a lot of talent, but is behind the curve on basketball teachings at this point. He just hasn't been taught much at all about technique, which means he is fundamentally raw. The good news is that his decision to spend this past summer out here helped him in another area of deficiency - his body. He really shaped his body, getting leaner and stronger.
3) There are a myriad of concerns over a TG-JB starting backcourt, but one of the themes I've heard repeatedly is shooting percentage. These two were (I believe) the two worst shooting guards on the team last year, a long LONG way behind Mike and Casey, to be sure. But I've seen significant improvement in JB's shot, and saw tremendous improvement for TG. People forget the quantum leap that Mike took from his junior to senior year in 3-point shooting, but I called it from the very first practices. I'm less confident calling the same magnitude of improvement with JB, but believe Tony will surprise a lot. And he doesn't have to create his shots if defenders leave him open. That was MM's bread and butter last year, and with defenses keying bigtime on Casey this year, the table is set for more of the same.
4) I find it amusing how players currently in the program are lambasted, but players once gone are lionized. I've seen it on this board for several years now, and to some extent on the BootBoard. Seeing some of the comments this past season about Jarron and Mike, then how they are revered as irreplaceable gods today...
5) Nick Robinson at the 4 is perhaps the most difficult thing for me to grasp on this team right now. I see a good leaper and an underrated slasher in Nick, which pins him as a 3 to me. But with just one injury, we become dreadfully thin up front, so I guess Nick has to make sense as a PF. Especially with Teyo wearing a helmet through Christmas (and maybe New Year's). I'm afraid he's caught developing at two positions. I hope this doesn't hurt him in the long run.
6) There are two camps of people on Joe K around here: those who love his effort and say "watch out!", versus those who are waiting for proof and remain concerned. Without going into details, I do love his work ethic, but am firmly entrenched in the second camp. He's not proven in practices that he can do anything offensively yet, and I'm very worried that he's been healthy his whole time here, and is entering his third year in the program. Honestly, I'm more concerned about Joe's production potential this season than Kyle's.
7) Josh Childress is a time bomb, but the good kind. He really is well beneath his abilities, but I believe it's all mental. It's about confidence. He can learn from his teammates and this superlative coaching staff (the best I have seen at Stanford - bar none), but he is his own barrier right now. So we should watch each minute of each game for him to explode offensively. Before that moment, you'll see him pull the ball back and dish rather than finish, time after time. After that moment, he'll look to score, first. He'll fail to execute some times, but that shouldn't bother you... I exaggerate by calling it "a moment," but I think there will be a relatively small time for him to transition. The only question is when.
8) Chris Hernandez is seriously ahead of the curve. He has more of a chance to get PT at PG than any other younger PG we've seen since Brevin. I make that statement independent of what Tony and Julius might be capable of.
9) I hate harshing on individual players, but the god-awful glaring deficiency last year for one guy was Matt Lottich's defense. Clearly worse than Mendy as a frosh, IMO, and we all remember the press and buzz that got back then. I think Julius as the starting SG may be a statement about Matt's defense as much as anything else. Julius is twice the defender, though I hope ML is ready to surprise. He's the most athletic white player Stanford has had that I've seen, and that should translate to good defense. Let's watch this.
10) Speaking of famous white Stanford players, I'll restate something I offered up several months back: look for the Stanford offense to change back to resemble a lot of what was seen in the Lichti days. I'm talking specifically about the plays called. The strengths on this team have changed significantly from last year, and Casey has a lot to gain, and deliver. Two years ago, this team more or less lived or died with Casey's 3-point shot. I think the story will be similar this year, but diversity of Casey's game now versus then is night and day. I don't think the margin between success and failure is the same at all, since Casey can turn on and off so many weapons now. Still, on a generally down night or when someone like Lute crafts a brilliant defense against CJ...
1. despite a typically solid (but not spectacular) night for
tony at the point, i've seen enough in practice and in last
night's game to conclude chris hernandez ought to be starting by
the middle of the season. also typical was julius' poor play at
the point. chris has the court awareness and confidence at the
point that julius lacks, plus far better ball handling, shooting
and passing skills than tony or julius. again, this isn't to
knock tony (who i think is a pretty good player, albeit probably
in a back up point guard role) or julius (who has quite a lot of
skill but simply makes to many unforced errors); it is, however,
to say that hernandez is one impressive freshman point guard.
2. rob little is a very impressive freshman and will probably get a lot of playing time. although he's raw in terms of stanford basketball terminology and some technique, he has great, soft hands, very good, quick feet for a guy his size, and nice touch around the basket. excellent hops, too. it also looks to me as though his free throw shooting will be just fine. he reminds me of a more gifted howard wright, with much better hands (though i don't think his outside shot is as good as wright's was).
3. josh childress should start at small forward. silky-smooth drives to the basket and pull-up jumper, the likes of which we have never seen at stanford...i think of lichti's athleticism and quickness combined with casey's effective (but more labored) drives to the hoop, with more--much more--elevation; amazingly quick hops in the sense of going right back up for a rebound--seemingly more quickly than those around him. he is as advertised and seemed to work hard on defense. i'm beginning to think he could wind up being more effective this year than mendy was last year--which is saying a lot because i loved mendy's game and except while recovering from illness, i thought mendy played great last season.
4. justin davis continues to underperform based on others' expectations (not mine; he hasn't shown me much yet, other than the natural athleticism we all know he has). obviously blessed with physical talent, he just doesn't seem to have much court sense. whether one calls it basketball i.q. or feel for the game, he just seems lost to me out there. okay, so he can dunk; i agree with other posters that what came to mind was monty's comment to the effect jd just sort of flails around out there. free throw form appears to be improved, however.
5. yep, he's improved. an amazing player. i have always placed todd lichti a notch above brevin and keefe and, beginning last year, casey as the best stanford basketball player i have personally watched. now, i fully expect casey to knock lichti off that pedestal.
6. other than watching how special a player casey is, what excites me perhaps most of all is knowing how much each of the very talented freshman will improve this year under monty and staff. i do think they are a top 15 team and don't know if they will become a top 10 team, but the trying will be well worth watching. add an improved teyo johnson to the mix and who knows...
7. finally, i sure hope julius and justin put it all together this year because the team needs them to be major contributors. same with lottich (mostly defensively), although i have more confidence he will do so than the other two.