2008-09 Stanford Basketball Preview: #94
Overall Rank: #94
Conference Rank: #8 Pac-10
2007-08: 28-8, 13-5, 2nd
2007-08 postseason: NCAA
In an effort to make us all feel old, a year after securing Jim Harbaugh as their football coach, Stanford has brought in Johnny Dawkins to lead the basketball program. Coach Dawkins, who was an assistant at Duke after spending some time in the NBA, has never been a head coach at any level, but was certainly a hot assistant worthy of an opportunity. With all the turnover on the roster, it is a good time to take a chance on a young assistant.
Brook and Robin Lopez dominated the paint in the Pac-10. During their final year in Palo Alto before heading off to the NBA, the twins combined for 29.5 points, 13.9 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 14 feet of height. Good luck Josh Owens and Will Paul. Making matters worse is the loss of fellow frontcourt players Fred Washington, Taj Finger and Peter Prowitt.
If he can stay healthy, Paul will help replace the Lopez twins. A 6-9 forward, Paul missed all of last season. As a freshman in 2006-2007, he only averaged 5.7 minutes per game. Walk-ons Elliott Bullock and Jack Trotter will try and provide some depth in the paint. Wing Da’Veed Dildy is back after sitting out last year, but the bigger impact will come from incoming freshmen Jarrett Mann and Jeremy Green. Mann, a 6-5 wing, is a good athlete who can attack the basket and play solid defense. Green garnered a little more attention during his prep career and the 6-4 guard is a superb scorer and ball handler. Green could stand to keep working on his long range shooting, but few players have as polished of a mid-range game. Cardinal fans hope that Mann and Green are the start of a successful rebuilding process. And for the freshmen duo, the future is right now. They will not likely be starting much, if at all, during the 2008-2009 campaign, but both should be playing an important role off the bench.
Who to Watch:
Consistency over the last two years has been an issue for Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods and Lawrence Hill. Two years ago Johnson was an erratic point guard; last year he was a solid and steady floor leader. Two years ago Goods and Hill looked like superstars. In 2007-2008 they did not. If those three can become team leaders and play as well as they are able, Stanford could be looking at a postseason berth…most likely the NIT. Johnson tallied 5.2 assists and just 2.2 turnovers per game last year. That is a great ratio and it will be his job to get everybody involved and find a new scorer or two. Goods will join him in the backcourt. Goods was the only player on the team to average over one three-pointer per contest. And he shot less than 35 percent from beyond the arc and not much better from inside the arc. Perhaps the biggest change from one year to the next was in Hill. In 2006-2007, the 6-8 forward led the team with 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. Last year those numbers dwindled to 8.6 and 4.8 respectively. Surely the emergence of the Lopez twins had something to do with that, but Hill has to step up as a senior and reclaim the frontcourt as his own.
There is an option to play small if Coach Dawkins thinks Landry Fields can play the four and Hill can move from the four to the five. Landry, a 6-7 guard, has the size, but he will not be able to guard most fours in the Pac-10. But Owens and Paul will have trouble against most fives in the Pac-10 too if Landry slides down to the three. With the newcomers and returning players like Kenny Brown and Drew Shiller, there is plenty of depth on the perimeter, but finding somebody who can defend the paint is going to be a huge problem.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Mitch Johnson, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Anthony Goods, Senior, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Landry Fields, Junior, Guard, 4.1 points per game
Lawrence Hill, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Josh Owens, Sophomore, Forward, 1.7 points per game