Stanford basketball cracked the Sweet 16 code, will try to keep it going
SAN FRANCISCO – Stanford's upset at No. 10 UConn early last season might have been a feel-good victory when it occured, but the Cardinal players saw the win with a new perspective after the season ended. Even after Stanford made the tournament and advanced into the Sweet 16, point guard Chasson Randle said that game showed them how thin the line between success and failure is in college basketball.
"To see UConn win the NCAA championship last year made us kind of look up and think, 'Why not us?'" Randle said. Thursday at 2014-15 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day. "We beat them earlier in the year."
The Cardinal hit the reset button this season with two of its stars last season, Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis, now in the NBA.
Randle is back for his senior season. He said during Media Day that coach Johnny Dawkins has helped him grow from a high-profile, high-scoring recruit into a true floor general. It's helped that Dawkins' own evolution as a player was so similar to Randle's current trajectory.
"He grew up a scorer his whole life," said Randle, who averaged 18.8 points per game at the point guard spot last season. "He's had to transition."
Center Stefan Nastic will join Randle by picking up the low-post responsibilities, and double-digit scorer Anthony Brown will be taking on a bigger role with Huestis leaving a vacancy on the wing. Culturally, Stanford is hoping last year's tournament appearance is only a starting point where Randle can place the Cardinal newcomers. Stanford "cracked the code," said Randle, but now it's about repeatedly reaching the new expectations.
"It's about standards," Dawkins added. "You can never take that for granted. That's what we've tried to give our guys. Hopefully that can become our culture. "
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