2002-03 Stanford University Basketball Outlook
Oct. 30, 2002
Stanford, Calif. - Great challenges have always stared the Stanford basketball team in the face. And the Cardinal has always met the challenge. This year, the difficult questions will be answered again. Can the team compete consistently at the Pac-10 level?, Yes!!! Can the team compete consistently on the national level?, Yes!!! Will Stanford's players continue to keep focus on the huge task ahead?, Yes!!!
Our guys said, 'let's stay together in the summer, establish a core and get this team back to where it needs to be.
Head Coach Mike Montgomery
In the past three seasons, five Cardinal players have joined the ranks of theNBA (Jarron Collins, Jason Collins, Curtis Borchardt, Casey Jacobsen, Mark Madsen).This year, there will be no marquee name, just a group of players who knows thetask will be tough, but are looking forward to the journey.
'With Curtis Borchardt and Casey Jacobsen turning pro and the graduationof Tony Giovacchini and Kyle Logan, a number of our returning players are in positionto make great strides with increased playing time,' said Cardinal head coachMike Montgomery, who is entering his 17th season at Stanford. 'At the sametime, the veterans must compete at a high level and lead by example. At many timeslast year, we missed having an experienced senior class to take the pressure offof the coaching staff, so we are expecting more consistent contributions fromour second and third year players.'
Stanford returns ten players from a squad that produced a 20-10 record, a secondplace finish in the Pac-10 Conference, and a school record eighth straight tripto the NCAA Tourmament. Although the names are not as high profile as Jacobsen,Borchardt, Madsen or the Collins Twins, the Cardinal of 2002-03 will be lookingto maintain Stanford's status as a tough team that will compete at the conferenceand national level.
Stanford has always been a closely group knit of players, and evidence of thatwas during the summer of 2002 when a number of players decided to stay at Stanford,lift weights and help maintain a strong team chemistry.
'Our guys said, 'let's stay together in the summer, establish a core andget this team back to where it needs to be.'' said Montgomery. That groupincluded three incoming freshmen, Dan Grunfeld, Jason Haas and Matt Haryasz. Anotherfreshman, Carlton Weatherby, will also join the Cardinal freshman contingent inthe Fall of 2002.
The backcourt will be solid with the return of Julius Barnes, Josh Childress,Chris Hernandez and Matt Lottich. Barnes is the team's leading returning scorer(10.9 ppg) and he has proven in past years that he can play both the point andoff-guard positions. His versatility will allow Hernandez to play sizable minutesat the point. Hernandez proved to be a warrior on the court with his aggressivenature, and a born leader as well. Lottich figures to be a vital part of the rotationat the off-guard position with the departure of Jacobsen to the NBA's PhoenixSuns. Lottich has the potential to consistently hit the three-point shot. Alsolook for Nick Robinson to contribute more this year.
At forward, these names look familiar; Teyo Johnson, Justin Davis, Joe Kirchoferand Tyler Besecker. Johnson, a two-sport athlete at Stanford, enjoys physicalplay around the basket, and is a capable scorer. Davis is an athletic rebounder,and continues to improve his offensive game. Kirchofer is the blue collar workeraround the basket. Besecker provides good shooting and solid defense. All willincrease their overall statistics in 2002-03.
Borchardt, who now plays for the Utah Jazz, provided Stanford with consistentscoring and rebounding last year, along with his ability to block shots. His presencewill be sorely missed, but center Rob Little has worked hard during the off-seasonknowing that he will be counted upon to provide Stanford's physical strength,offensively and defensively, around the basket.
A highly competitive schedule again awaits the Cardinal team in 2001-02. Stanfordreturns to the Pre-Season NIT (Nov. 18-29) where the field includes Kansas, NorthCarolina, and Florida. The Cardinal also returns for a second straight year tothe Las Vegas Showdown (Dec. 21) and will face the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV. Gonzagawill provide the opposition for Stanford at the Pete Newell Challenge (Dec. 28).The Cardinal will open the Pac-10 schedule on Jan. 4 against California. The homeleague opener is Jan. 9 against Oregon State.
This will clearly be a strength for Stanford in 2002-03. Back are four players who have contributed to the team's success in recent years. They are Julius Barnes (6-1, 180, Senior), Josh Childress (6-8, 190, Sophomore), Chris Hernandez (6-2, 185, Sophomore) and Matt Lottich (6-4, 190, Junior). Last year, All-American Casey Jacobsen took on the scoring load with a league-leading 21.9 ppg average. Jacobsen now has taken his talents to the NBA's Phoenix Suns, thus look for a little more balanced scoring for Stanford in 2002-03. Barnes is the team's leading returning scorer (10.9 ppg). Barnes has proven to be a top player at both the point and off-guard positions. Barnes has the ablity to run the fast break, and break down defenses with penetration. In big games, Barnes has come through. Last year, Barnes scored a career-high 27 points (8-for-12 from the floor) along with five assists and three steals against California. Earlier in the year, Barnes scored 23 points along with four rebounds and four assists in a victory at UCLA. In all, Barnes scored in double-figures in 15 games. Childress could be the next great star in the Stanford attack. Childress showed signs of greatness last year as he averaged 7.8 points per game off the bench. Childress scored in double figures in ten games, including a season-high 21 points (9-for-14 from the floor) against Purdue. Childress also started six games, the first time since Brevin Knight in 1993-94 that a freshman had started at Stanford. Childress can also rebound, averaging 4.8 rebounds per game, second-best on the Cardinal. In 15 games, Childress grabbed five or more rebounds. Hernandez proved to be as advertised as a freshman last year; tough, aggressive, and a winner. Hernandez is a natural born leader who figures to see a lot of time at point-guard. Last year, Hernandez appeared in 29 games. He played double-digits in 19 games. Hernandez has proven he can the run the offense, play defense and score when called upon. Hernandez scored a season-high 14 points (4-for-5 from three-point territory), and added eleven points (8-for-8 from the free throw line) in an NCAA Tournament game against Western Kentucky. Lottich can score from deep range. Although he has seen little action because of the time occupied by Jacobsen, Lottich is ready to go and see extensive minutes in 2002-03. Lottich played in 23 games last year, and scored a career-high 12 points (5-for-7 from the floor) against Belmont at the Stanford Invitational. Two highly talented point-guards also join the Cardinal team, freshmen Jason Haas (6-2, 185, freshman) and Carlton Weatherby (5-11, 165, freshman). Haas averaged ten assists per game last year and helped lead Blair Academy (NJ) to the state championship game. In one game last year, Haas dished out 20 assists. Weatherby averaged 13 points and led the conference in assists at 7.3 per game at Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wa. That included a career-high 12 assists in a game.
This is an area where the Cardinal has excellent talent and experience. Teyo Johnson(6-7, 240, Junior), Justin Davis (6-8, 230, Junior), Joe Kirchofer (6-9, 245,Junior), Nick Robinson (6-6, 200, Sophomore) and Tyler Besecker (6-6, 205, Junior)all played vital roles in Stanford's success last year. Johnson is a rare commodityin college athletics today, a two-sport athlete. Not only is Johnson an All-Americatype receiver on the Cardinal football team, but a valuable force on the basketballteam. Johnson averaged 5.8 points and four rebounds per game last year. Johnsonplayed in 25 games, and started eleven games of the 2001-02 season. Johnson scoreda career-high 15 points against Oregon State. In two games (Arizona, Oregon),Johnson grabbed a career-high seven rebounds. Davis is a power forward who started18 of Stanford's 30 games.
Davis is an athletic frontline player who is activeat both ends of the court. Davis, who shot .589 from the floor, notched his firstcollegiate double-double with 19 points (8-for-10 from the floor) and ten reboundsagainst Brigham Young last year. Davis averaged 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds pergame. Kirchofer gives Stanford a hard-working, blue collar player under the boards.Kirchofer played in 27 games last year, and hit 61 percent from the floor. Kirchoferplayed in 27 games and started one in 2001-02. In a season-high 24 minutes ofplay against Arizona State, Kirchofer scored ten points and grabbed nine rebounds.Robinson was one of Stanford's top reserves last year. Winner of the Howie DallmarAward, Robinson made smart decisions, ran the court and was an active defender.Besecker can shoot the basketball and plays solid defense. Dan Grunfeld (6-6,210, Freshman) and Matt Haryasz (6-10, 215, Freshman) are two top freshmen recruitswho could see immediate action for Stanford in 2002-03. Grunfeld averaged nearly24 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior at Nicolet High School in RiverHills, Wi last year. Grunfeld is the son of former NBA player Ernie Grunfeld.Ernie now is the general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks. Haryasz starred at PageHigh School in Page, Az, where he averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds and six blocksper game as a senior prepster last year. Haryasz set a Page school record, hitting71 percent from the floor. In one game, Haryasz scored 32 points, grabbed 14 reboundsand blocked eleven shots.
Replacing Curtis Borchardt will not be an easy task. Borchardt joined the ranksof the NBA after his junior season in 2001-02. Borchardt is now playing for theUtah Jazz. Borchardt averaged 16.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and nearly three blocksper game, but importantly gave Stanford security around the basket. Borchardt'spost will now be occupied by several candidates. The leading candidate is Rob Little (6-10, 265, Sophomore), who gained valuable experience by playing in 30games last year, including one game as a starter. Cardinal coaches were impressedby his hard work and aggressive play. During the summer of 2002, Little continuedto work in the weight room to get stronger, and knowing that his playing timewould increase with the departure of Borchardt. Little played double-digits in15 games, including a season-high 23 minutes against Texas. In that game againstthe Longhorns, Little scored a season-high eleven points (3-for-5 from the floor,5-for-6 fom the free throw and grabbed five rebounds. Little hit .531 from thefloor. Joe Kirchofer (6-9, 245, Junior) has the ability to play at the centerposition.