Dan Grunfeld Update - Part III

In this third part of our interview with incoming wing Dan Grunfeld, we focus on what Dan saw when he watched Stanford play this year. Get the outsider's perspective on the season, as well as how he sees himself fitting in this coming fall.

The Bootleg: If Coach Montgomery called you up next week and asked what one team you'd like to see added to Stanford's non-conference schedule next season, who would you suggest?  Is Wisconsin the obvious answer, or is there someone else you'd love to play?
Dan Grunfeld: I think that I would want to play Wisconsin, not because there is bad blood or anything like that, but because I have a great relationship with their coaching staff and I have a few friends on the team.  It'd be fun to play against those guys. I'd love to play here in Wisconsin so my family could see me.

The Bootleg: What is your overall impression of this past year's Stanford team?  How would you describe the team's make-up and style of play to a friend who never saw them play this year?
Dan Grunfeld: I loved watching the team play this year.  We had our ups and downs, needless to say, but overall I was impressed.  If I had to describe the team to a friend who has never seen them play, I'd say that they have an aggressive wing scorer (Casey) who they run things around and a very good big man (Curtis) who can step out and shoot the J and is also a force on the boards and on D . They set a lot of screens for Casey and they have other guys, Julius, etc., who can score as well.  Defensively, nothing fancy.  Mostly man to man, although I do remember us going zone one game - something I think is effective against certain match-ups.

The Bootleg: What jumped out at you that really impressed you?
Dan Grunfeld: The one thing that I would really stress that impressed me would be the camaraderie and heart that the team showed.  When I was in Chicago watching the game, it was obvious by the way the guys on the bench acted that they cared and that they had great team chemistry.  Also, after the Kansas game I was impressed by the way everyone hugged Tony, seeing as it was his last game.  Even though those aren't necessarily things that happen on the court, they're very important while describing a team.

The Bootleg: If you were an opposing coach, what would you try to do that you believe would give you the best chance to beat Stanford?
Dan Grunfeld: If I was an opposing coach coaching against the Stanford team this year I would try to get up and down the court as much a possible and pressure the ball as much as possible.  Obviously Casey and Curtis would be the two guys to focus on, but I would try not to let one of the other guys go off or 20.  Thankfully I'm not in that position - I'd much rather be a Stanford player reacting to the other coach's tactics.

The Bootleg: As you watched Stanford play this year, what did you feel you could best do to help the team right away?
Dan Grunfeld: Watching Stanford this year I thought that the thing I could do best right away is shoot the ball and add another big wing who could make plays, knows how to play and is not afraid to mix it up - not saying any of the guys are, though.  Watching the games, I thought about the future more than what I could do on that team.  I think everyone did a great job this year and they were fun to watch.

The Bootleg: Based on that, does it give you more specific direction for what you want to work on over the summer?  Is there some niche you think you can fill, given some more work?
Dan Grunfeld: It is true that by watching the games and seeing the personnel of the team, you think about certain things you can do or a certain niche you can fill.  Overall, I feel good about my game and my style of play, and I will try to improve every aspect over the summer.  Like I said earlier, ball handling and shooting will be a focus, as usual, but nothing can be overlooked. Although I will focus on some specific areas, it's hard to overlook things if you want to be a complete player.  I think that handling the ball/point skills, as well as inside stuff, are niches that don't always go along with the wing position that I play, but they are things I hopefully can be successful at in the future.

The Bootleg: More generally, how do you think you fit in with Stanford basketball?
Dan Grunfeld: I think that I will fit in great with Stanford basketball. I know I can contribute on the court and fit in very well with the style Stanford plays. Basically, I love to play basketball. Watching the games and just knowing some of the guys, I know that everyone is the same way and that is important.  Basketball is supposed to be fun, and when you're playing with guys who have commitment and are dedicated to their own games and the team's game, it is fun.  I'm excited about that and about getting in and working with the coaching staff, who is great.

The Bootleg: Stanford is known for tough and hard practices, including tough intra-team battles.  From what you've seen on TV, who do you think will give you the toughest battles in practice this fall?
Dan Grunfeld: As far as the practice battles go, I think it will be fun to play against Josh Childress.  I really liked watching Josh play this year.  It will be fun to battle with him in practice, and play with him all year.  It's fun when practice gets heated; I'm looking forward to playing with and against everyone.


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