"Center Court" w/ PG Drew Shiller (#10)

It's time for Stanford Men's Basketball to bounce back and The Bootleg is committed to helping make it happen! Our newest writer Kevin Danna, a veteran, but now graduated Stanford Basketball Manager makes his Bootleg debut with a full-court press on Sr. PG Drew Shiller. We learn that Drew is busting his tail to get ready for 2009-10 and is looking for some increased effort from us, the fans!

"Center Court" w/ Senior PG Drew Shiller (#10)

As a kid growing up in Bay Area, Drew Shiller always knew where he wanted to spend his collegiate years. 

"Throughout high school, I wanted to have the opportunity to play at Stanford", reminisces the Cardinal's senior point guard.

Unfortunately for the Burlingame, Calif. native, Shiller's dreams of attending his university of choice would be put on hold for one year.  Despite being a celebrated three-sport athlete and future Hall-of-Famer at Burlingame High (Drew has his #16 retired for football, and his #1 for basketball andbaseball), Burlingame's Boy Wonder was unable to secure a scholarship to The Farm straight out of high school and started out his collegiate hoops career at the University of San Francisco.  Serving as the Dons' back-up point guard and playing in all 28 games, Shiller tallied averages of 4.4 points and 1.3 assists in just over 16 minutes of action per contest during his freshman season for USF in 2005-06.

Finally after spending a year in the "(415)", Shiller would get the big break for which he'd been hoping for since his days as a high-performing Panther. 

"I was transferring out of San Francisco, no matter what, and was thinking I was gonna go back east to an Ivy League school, and pretty much out of nowhere Coach (Trent) Johnson called and said he wanted to put me on scholarship. I will never forget that phone call," remembers Shiller happily.

And that was it; the USF transfer has been at Stanford and loving it ever since.  Borrowing the title of Stephen A. Smith's now-defunct ESPN talk show, Shiller says that "Quite frankly, [Stanford] is the best combination of athletics and academics in the country, hands down". 

Drew has met the challenges of the second part of that equation head-on and excelled in the classroom.  In the two years he has lettered in basketball at Stanford, Shiller has been an All Pac-10 Academic selection each year.  He graduated in June and is working towards his Master's degree, which he hopes to complete by the end of the winter quarter.

Another reason why the former tri-sport athlete has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Palo Alto can be chalked up to the friends he has made on and off the basketball court. 

"Social life has been good," Shiller says, "Stanford is a great blend of being able to be social and downtown Palo Alto is fun and we just have a great time with the team.  They're the guys I hang out with, the guys I live with". 

Along with a few teammates, Drew lives in a home during the school year that is now referred to as "The House".  "It has been awesome living in "the house" and we just added Da'Veed Dildy," states Drew, "So with me, Landry, Josh, Da'Veed and [team manager Chris] Ebersole, I couldn't be living in a better situation. We are all extremely close and it builds that level of respect that you need to have be successful on the court."

While his academics are under control and his social life fulfilling, Shiller is far from satisfied due to the first part of the "athletics and academics" combination that makes Stanford so great in his eyes.  A solid bench contributor the past two seasons, the Don-turned-Cardinal has shown on multiple occasions why Stanford offered him a scholarship after his freshman season.   He has hit nearly 41% from beyond the arc and even led Stanford in scoring in his first game in cardinal and white, dropping in 18 in a 111-56 win over Harvard in the 2007-08 season opener.  Regardless, Drew feels as though his work on the court is far from over. 

"I have a lot of unfinished business, I feel," Shiller said, "but personally I'm excited to have an opportunity and hopefully to be one of the leaders on this team and hopefully have a great season".

As the oldest player on the team, Drew knows that a lot is expected of him to step up and be one that the underclassmen will look to.  For Shiller, it's all about comes down to two aspects: respect and hard work. 

"If all the guys the respect me that can go a long way in terms of me being able to lead through my actions and my leadership capabilities vocally," states the fifth-year senior, who remembers a conversation he once had with Assistant Coach Mike Schrage.

"Coach Schrage has said to me that the best leader is also the best worker, so it's important to give 100% every day at practice... so if you do that as a leader, everyone else is going to follow you."

Luckily for Shiller, the role of team leader is familiar to him.  As a starting quarterback at the high-school level, the cagey veteran has plenty of experience to fall back on. 

"Being a quarterback is similar to being a point guard," Drew says, "In both positions, you have to exude great leadership skills, and this year I will be in a position where I am a fifth-year, senior point guard and need to help lead this team. In my senior year of high school, my football coach talked a lot about leadership with me, and so has Coach Dawkins this offseason. I am very excited for the opportunity."

With hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament after losing to Oregon State in the semi-finals of the shadiest tournament ever last season (the CBI), Shiller knows that it all starts with defense.  When asked about the keys to success for 2009-10 Stanford Men's Basketball, he bluntly states the situation: 

"First and foremost, if we don't defend, we're going to have a poor season."  In explaining his position, Drew informs us that "Coach made a great point that we were ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and scoring defense, and we finished ninth in the league.  And offensively we were third or fourth… we were able to score, but we couldn't get stops… We have guys that can score the ball; that's not going to be our problem.  But if we can defend and be able to score the ball, we're definitely going to be a tough team to beat."

Although getting stops and making shots are the obviously paramount in basketball, Shiller also acknowledges the importance of having a decided home court advantage.  Despite a second-consecutive 20-win season and a respectable 14-4 record at Maples, Cardinal fan support could have been a bit stronger in 2008-09. It was disappointing to see a less than overwhelming crowd for the final home game of the season, a 95-75 rout of the Boise State Broncos in the opening round of the CBI. 

When asked about protecting the Cardinal's storied home court, Shiller says "We take a lot of pride, and I hope the student body will take as much pride.  I think that in recent years, it has been one of the best environments in college basketball and the 6th Man is critical. The energy they can bring is extremely important to help the team have a solid home-court advantage."

So, what else should we look forward to next season, Drew?

"We're going to play an up-and-down style… We want to establish Stanford Basketball as a solid brand of basketball, so people are afraid to play us."

With individual workouts beginning in the middle of the month, official practice commencing in October, and the season opener a little more than two months away, it's time to start instilling some fear.   

About the Bootleg's Newest Author: Kevin Danna, Stanford '09, started out as a student manager-in-training for the Men's Basketball Team on October 14, 2005, and has lived and breathed Stanford Basketball ever since. From doing laundry to filming practice to working summer camps, he has been involved with many facets of the Men's Basketball program.  Upon retirement from his manager position on March 25, 2009 at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, Kevin took an undeservedly prolonged break from any kind of work and eventually got his degree from The Farm in Spanish.  Shaking off the cobwebs of five months of laziness, Kevin has started working as a play-by-play and color broadcaster for gostanford.com, calling home contests (in English) for several Stanford sports.  He also hosts a sports talk show on 90.1 FM KZSU from 9-10pm every Tuesday entitled "The Sports Zoo", as well as a music show called "408's Finest" immediately following sports talk from 10pm-Midnight.  An alumnus of San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, Kevin proudly admits that he currently lives at home in San Jose with his parents and cat.

Please join us in welcoming Kevin Danna, the latest addition to the Boot-Family!

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