Stepping It Up: Josh Childress
March 3, 2003
In his 2001-02 rookie campaign, Josh Childress played the role of a contributor, coming off of the bench in all but six of his thirty game appearances. This year, the sophomore forward out of Lakewood, California has been forced to take on a much more active and responsible role, and he has responded by emerging as one of the team leaders and offensive sparks for the Cardinal squad.
With a year of college game experience under his belt, Childress steps onto the court a much more confident player. 'I think it helps a lot to be able to walk into the game and think that I?ve been there before,' said the sophomore. 'But this year, I have to step up my game offensively and defensively, on the boards, passing the ball. I just have to be an all-around better player.'
Thus far this season, the six-foot-eight forward has made good on his goal. As a freshman, Childress averaged 7.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.4 blocks in 21.5 minutes per game. As Stanford nears the end of conference play in 2002-03, the sophomore has bolstered these numbers to 13.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 33 minutes per contest. Childress ranks second on the team and in the top 20 in the Pac-10 in scoring, and in 23 of 28 games has hit double figures, including a career-high 22-point performance versus Boston University (11/18/02) and a 21-point showing at UNLV (12/21/02) and at Arizona State (2/1/03). In addition, the forward ranks first (tie with teammate Justin Davis) on the team and is in the top five in the Pac-10 in rebounding, and has grabbed ten or more rebounds on nine occasions. He has also blocked at least one shot in 25 of 28 games this season. These numbers speak true to the sophomore?s wide range of abilities and consistency.
Not only does Childress play hard and contribute every time he steps on the hardwood, but he does so with variety and flash. 'I consider myself both an inside and an outside player,' said the sophomore. 'I model my game after Scottie Pippin, trying to do a little bit of everything well.' Childress will slash and pull up for a jumper, leap for rebounds, shoot the three or feed a man in the lane for an easy score. As the season progresses, Childress continues to improve each element of his all-around game.
The sophomore?s 14-point, 8-rebound performance against the then twelfth-ranked Oregon Ducks (1/11/03) was indicative of his multiple capabilities. Early on in the first half, Childress netted back-to-back three pointers to set the outside shooting tone and extend Stanford?s early lead. He also had two of Stanford?s eight blocks, contributing to the frustration that Oregon experienced scoring on the interior throughout the entire game. Then, late in the second half, with the game well in hand, Childress electrified the crowd with an acrobatic reverse baseline dunk. 'I like scoring!' exclaimed the sophomore. 'Any kind of scoring that I can do is a great feeling.'
As the Cardinal close out Pac-10 conference play, it has demonstrated the ability to compete with any team. However, consistency is the key to Stanford?s full-season success. 'The challenge is to come out and play everybody tough,' explained Childress. 'We have had games this season where we have played to the level of our competition. So we need to come out and play everybody like they are equal. We need to come out and have that aggressive nature and attitude every game no matter who we play.'
As California rolls into a loud and packed Maples Pavilion this weekend, look for Childress to make large contributions for Stanford on both sides of the ball. Whether he is hitting the three, skying for a rebound or blocking a shot, his teammates will feed off of his energy and performance. These are the makings of a developing impact player and a future leader.