First Road Season Opener Since 2001 Pits Stanford Against Yale
Nov. 11, 2008
Stanford Cardinal (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Yale Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) ushers in the start of the 2008-09 campaign with a road game at Yale (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League) on Friday, Nov. 14. The contest marks the first time Stanford has opened the season on the road since claiming an 81-66 victory at New Mexico back on Nov. 17, 2001.
Friday's game can be heard live on KTRB AM 860 and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. John Platz will handle the play-by-play duties.
Stanford returns home next week, kicking off the first of three straight home games when Cal State Northridge comes to town for the Cardinal's home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The homestand continues with games against Air Force (Nov. 26) and Colorado (Nov. 29). Stanford plays on the road only three times during the first two months of the year and nine of the club's first 12 games will be at home.
Yale closed out the 2007-08 campaign with a 13-15 overall record and a 7-7 mark in Ivy League play, tying for fourth in the league standings. Despite the graduation of four players who combined to start 256 games and score 2,929 points in their careers, Yale returns a pair of All-Ivy selections in seniors Ross Morin and Travis Pinick. Yale's early schedule is exactly the opposite of Stanford, as the Bulldogs play nine of their first 11 games on the road. Yale has been picked to finish third in the Ivy League preseason poll, behind defending champion Cornell and Penn. Keep an eye on: Ross Morin (10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 57 percent shooting in 2007-08), Travis Pinick (7.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg in 2007-08) and Alex Zampier (7.7 ppg, 58 assists, 49 steals in 2007-08).
Stanford All-Time vs. Yale
Stanford is unbeaten against Yale in five meetings. The Cardinal picked up a 72-61 win at home over the Bulldogs last year, thanks to a career-high 25-points from Lawrence Hill and a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds from Robin Lopez. Those performances aside, Yale was competitive and remained within striking distance the entire game. All five wins have come by double-digits, and the 129-108 victory back on Dec. 6, 1985 is significant because the 129 points represents a Stanford single-game scoring record. Stanford has never faced Yale on the road.
Stanford In Season Openers
In its 93-year history, the Cardinal sports a 76-17 record in season openers. Stanford has won 19 of its last 20 lid-lifters, with the only exception coming in the form of a 79-63 loss to UC Irvine to begin the 2005 campaign. Stanford has opened its season on the road only 16 times in school history and the result is an 8-8 ledger. The Cardinal also owns a 52-41 mark in road openers.
Debut For Dawkins
Friday's contest also marks the head coaching debut for Johnny Dawkins. Arriving on The Farm after completing 11 years at Duke and the last nine as the program's associate head coach, Dawkins is coaching in his first game at the collegiate level and represents the 17th head coach in program history. Of the other 16 coaches, only three (Andy Kerr, E.P. Hunt and Mike Montgomery) suffered losses in their debut. However, all three coaches went on to finish their Stanford careers with winning records while Montgomery stands as the program's all-time winningest skipper with 393 victories.
Staying Home Early
If it seems like Stanford isn't hitting the road that much for non-conference play, that's correct. The Cardinal will play only three non-league road games this year, making stops at Yale, Colorado State and Santa Clara. In fact, the non-conference travel slate is even lighter than the 2006-07 campaign, when the Cardinal visited only Fresno State and Virginia, picking up victories at both sites.
Checking Out The Schedule
One year after establishing a program record for home victories (16) in a season, the Cardinal will play 17 games at home this year. In fact, the Cardinal will play seven of its first 10 contests at Maples Pavilion before kicking off league play against Arizona State on Jan. 2. Four of those home games include visits from Air Force (Nov. 26), Colorado (Nov. 29), Northwestern (Dec. 20) and Texas Tech (Dec. 28)- signaling the first time in schoo history that at least one team from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Mountain West will play at Maples Pavilion in the same season.
Stanford put together back-to-back routs in its exhibition games last week, reaching the 90-point plateau twice. In a 93-54 win over Cal State Stanislaus on Nov. 4, Landry Fields posted game-high totals in points (24) and rebounds (10) while Anthony Goods knocked down four three-pointers to finish with 19 points. Stanford shot 47.9-percent from the field, held a 50-32 rebounding edge and forced Cal State Stanislaus into 24 turnovers. Four days later in a 97-56 wipeout of Seattle Pacific, Fields and Josh Owens each poured in 17 points to lead five Stanford players in double-figure scoring. Lawrence Hill notched a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, as Stanford shot 53.8 percent overall and held a 45-26 rebounding edge while limiting Seattle Pacific to 37.9 percent shooting.
This year's roster features nine letterwinners and three returning starters. There are four walk-ons, including three freshmen post players that stand 6-9 or taller. The Cardinal will have some added depth in the frontcourt with Elliott Bullock (6-10, 220), Matei Daian (6-10, 220) and Jack Trotter (6-9, 200). A fourth walk-on, Emmanuel Igbinosa, was also added to the roster. A 6-2, 185 guard, Igbinosa has academic standing as a junior.
A Look At The Seniors
The Cardinal will surely benefit from a four-member senior class that collectively ranks as one of the best in the conference. Three of the four seniors were regular starters from last year's squad. Guard Mitch Johnson (6.7 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, 5.2 assists per game), guard Anthony Goods (10.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, team-best 64 three-pointers) and forward Lawrence Hill (8.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 74.6 percent from the foul line) will be counted on for the bulk of the club's production. Guard Kenny Brown (4.2 ppg, 24-61 three-pointers) opted to defer his admission to dental school at Baylor, so he will also be returning for another season.
Stanford Tabbed Ninth In Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Stanford has been picked to finish ninth in this year's conference race, according to the preseason media poll. The Cardinal received 115 total points in the poll, checking in ahead of Oregon State. This year's roster features three returning senior starters- all of whom have earned All Pac-10 honors at one point in their career- and nine letterwinners overall. However, the Cardinal will also have to overcome the losses of Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez (2008 NBA Draft) and Taj Finger, Peter Prowitt and Fred Washington (graduation). Three-time defending conference champion UCLA is again the favorite, totaling 379 points in addition to gathering 37 first-place votes. Arizona State is tabbed for second with 325 points and one first-place vote, followed by USC in third with 292 and Arizona in fourth with 241. Washington is slotted for fifth place with 217 points, Washington State is sixth with 188 points, Oregon has been tabbed for seventh with 147 points and California is eighth with 143 points.
Johnson Named Bob Cousy Award Candidate
Mitch Johnson enjoyed an impressive season in 2007-08, earning All Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors while serving as one of the Cardinal's most consistent performers. Now Johnson is garnering national attention, as he has been selected as a candidate for this year's Bob Cousy Award. The honor is given to the top collegiate basketball point guard annually and selection criteria emphasizes leadership, team work, success and fundamentals as being critical parts for the game of basketball as a point guard.
A Look Back At 2007-08
Stanford closed out the 2007-08 campaign at 28-8 overall. The 28 victories ranked third-best in school history, matching the 1941-42 squad that finished 28-4 en route to capturing the NCAA championship. Making its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since an Elite Eight appearance in a2001. Picked to finish fifth in the conference preseason media poll, the Cardinal wrapped up the regular season in second place at 13-5.
Added Experience On The Bench
Two of Dawkins' assistant coaches bring head coaching experience to the program. Associate head coach Dick Davey served as head coach for 15 of the 30 seasons he spent at Santa Clara while assistant coach Rodney Tention most recently served as the head coach at Loyola Marymount from 2006-08. Stanford's third assistant, Mike Schrage, was Dawkins' first hire and rounds out the coaching staff. Schrage previously spent the last nine seasons at Duke. Three members of Dawkins' support staff also possess assistant coaching experience. Jeff LaMere, an assistant coach at VCU from 2003-06, serves as the Assistant A.D./Director of Operations. Charles Payne, who has served as an assistant coach in stops at California and Florida International, is the program's Director of Student-Athlete Development/External Relations. Mark Sembrowich, who has assistant coach experience at Yale and Army, is the Academic/Recruiting Coordinator.
28 In The Books
Stanford's 28 victories last year ranked third-best in school history, matching the 1941-42 squad that finished 28-4 en route to capturing the NCAA championship. Rebounding from an 18-win campaign in 2006-07, Stanford established its ninth 25-win season in program history and first since a 30-2 finish in 2003-04.
Stanford Reaches First NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Since 2001
Stanford owns a 21-15 record in NCAA Tournament competition and was making its 16th appearance. Prior to a 77-53 victory over Cornell in the first round, the Cardinal was winless in its last three NCAA Tournament contests with its most recent victory coming in the form of a 71-45 triumph over Texas-San Antonio back on Mar. 18, 2004.
For the sixth straight year, a different player led Stanford in scoring. Brook Lopez poured in a team-high 19.3 points per game during the 2007-08 campaign. Lawrence Hill earned top honors in 2006-07 at 15.7, Matt Haryasz led the club in 2005-06 with 16.2 and Dan Grunfeld held the top mark in 2004-05 at 17.9. In 2003-04, Josh Childress tallied 15.7 to follow Julius Barnes' 16.0 rate in 2002-03. Casey Jacobsen was Stanford's leading scorer for three years in a row prior to Barnes.
Last year, Stanford placed at least three different players in double-figure scoring on 19 different occasions. Five different players reached double-figures in the Cardinal's Pac-10 Tournament victory over Arizona on Mar. 13, representing the third time that occurred last year (five against Northwestern State on Nov. 10 and five against Harvard on Nov. 9).
Stanford was one of the best rebounding teams in the nation last year, averaging 39.1 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 31.4 per contest. Six different players averaged at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by Brook Lopez' 8.2 clip. Stanford outrebounded its opponents by a +7.8 average and was outrebounded by only six teams.
Home Sweet Home
Stanford set a record for home victories in a single season (16) with a 60-53 victory over Washington State on Mar. 1, 2008. Prior to that game, the Cardinal had won 14 home contests in a season three times, with the 2003-04 club most recently achieving the feat.
Shaking It Off
Stanford demonstrated the ability to bounce back after a tough defeat in 2007-08. The Cardinal was 6-1 in games following a loss. Stanford's 0-2 trip to Los Angeles during the final week of the regular season marked the first stretch of back-to-back losses since an 0-3 finish to the 2006-07 campaign.
Milestone In The Making
Mitch Johnson dished out a team-high 188 assists in 2007-08 to increase his career total to 389. That's good enough for seventh on the all-time list. His 188 assists in a season ranked fourth all-time. The single-game school record holder with 16 handouts, Johnson needs only 125 helpers this year to pass Keith Ramee and climb into second place on the all-time list. Brevin Knight's 780 assists stand as the school record.