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