Daniel's Quick Takes - Concordia
Big thanks to Cardinal color commentator John Platz for coming on our KZSU broadcast at halftime. No matter how big-time TheBootleg.com is in my eyes (or the Daily or KZSU), I know there's plenty of larger fish in the pond than this 21 year-old kid. But Platz, Dave Flemming and Darren Sabedra of the Merc (and Mike Eubanks back in the day) have always gone out of their way to treat me as seriously as anyone else and help me out. Thanks a lot, guys.
Rereading the interview transcript, I'd discount Anthony giving the team a "C" (a slight case of false modesty with Trent sitting three feet away) and would highlight Trent's admission, that yeah, we are worthy of No. 23 in the country. He's not from the Jim Harbaugh school of enthusiasm unknown to mankind (and really, Trent was singing an entirely different tune about rankings two years ago at this same time to anyone who would listen). Reading between the lines, my take is that he is pretty darn enthusiastic because he knows this is hands-down the best team he has had at Stanford. That's a huge positive coming from coach Johnson, a pretty realistic guy.
Not a huge shock, but my understanding is sophomore Brook Lopez is definitely gone after this year and it's not going to take the staff by any sort of surprise. My 85%-sure bet is that Robin Lopez will be back unless he explodes (in a good way).
Not shocking either, but I believe some of the players were none too happy with Brook's act recently, which is why I asked Goods the question that I did, although he refused to go down that road. Coach Johnson referenced Brook's new and improved attitude at Pac-10 Media Day, and it better be for real if this team is going to gel. Otherwise Stanford might be spending much of their spring break not in Auburn Hills, but at Disneyland. That would be a tragically small world after all.
Biggest News of the Evening: Will Paul and Da'Veed Dildy are each redshirting. For Paul, you can make the case that it's a legitimate depth issue and next year, with Taj, Peter and Brook gone, he goes from fifth to say, second or third in the frontcourt rotation. Dildy, to me at least, is much harder to spin into a positive. Point guard, as Johnson implies, is this team's Achilles heel. If not now, when?
Coach Johnson just seems happier than last year. Saw him smiling on the field at Saturday's football game. He was a lot more relaxed, and even wanted to go longer at the postgame presser. Maybe it's because it was just Wilner, Palo Alto reporters, The Bootleg.com and the student-journalist crew, but, again, I think he knows what he has. Just a hunch.
Talked informally with Landry Fields afterwards. He gave the same assessment Trent did, even though he wasn't in the press room: defensive struggles stood out more to him than a great offensive game, which was easily more salient to me (and I'm assuming to most Cardinalmaniacs™.)
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