Nationally-Ranked Cardinal Opens 2003-04 Season

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Nov. 18, 2003

Stanford Hosts Sacramento State
Saturday, November 22, 7:00 p.m., Maples Pavilion (7,391)

Stanford Cardinal Starters (0-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-10)
F - Justin Davis, 6-9, 230, Senior, Berkeley, Ca
F - Josh Childress, 6-8, 205, Junior, Los Angeles, Ca
C - Rob Little, 6-10, 265, Junior, Hampton, Va
G - Matt Lottich, 6-4, 205, Senior, Winnetka, Il
G - Chris Hernandez, 6-2, 190, Sophomore, Fresno, Ca

Sacramento State Hornet Starters (0-0 overall, 0-0 Big Sky)
F - Cedric Thompkins, 6-7, 225, Senior, Los Angeles, Ca
F - Jameel Pugh, 6-5, 215, Junior, Sacramento, Ca
C - Tony Champion, 6-10, 260, Senior, Oakland, Ca
G - Joel Jones, 6-5, 200, Senior, San Diego, Ca
G - DaShawn Freeman, 5-11, 160, Sophomore, Oakland, Ca

Series Story
Stanford holds a 2-0 edge over Sacramento State ... Both games were played at Maples Pavilion (a 68-33 victory during the 1992-93 season and a 78-56 decision during the 1999-00 campaign) ... Sacramento State is a member of the Big Sky Conference, and the Cardinal is 6-1 against Big Sky competition ... That one loss was a 70-68 decision to Montana last year during first round competition at the Stanford Invitational.

Coaches Corner
Mike Montgomery enters his 18th season as head coach at Stanford ... Montgomery is 363-165 on The Farm, and holds an overall career record of 517-242 (17 seasons at Stanford, 8 seasons at Montana) ... Montgomery has led Stanford to nine straight trips to the NCAA Tournament ... Jerome Jenkins is in his fourth season at Sacramento State with a record of 26-58.

Scouting Stanford
Three of Stanford's top double-digit scorers from a year ago return while the team's top four rebounders are back ... Josh Childress (14.1 ppg), Matt Lottich (11.3 ppg) and Justin Davis (10.3 ppg) are the veteran scorers while Childress (8.1 rpg), Davis (7.8 rpg), Rob Little (5.7 rpg) and Nick Robinson (4.2 rpg) are the four top rebounders ... Add to the point and rebound totals are talented veterans like Joe Kirchofer, Dan Grunfeld, Matt Haryasz, Jason Haas and Carlton Weatherby ... Chris Hernandez returns from a medical redshirt year, while Stanford has added another outstanding freshman class with the addition of Tim Morris & Fred Washington ... The Cardinal had one exhibition game and that saw the Cardinal score a 117-78 decision over Team Nike ... Seven Stanford players scored in double figures ... Matt Lottich led the Cardinal charge with 16 points and dished out six assists ... Lottich hit 7-of-10 shots from the floor and 2-for-3 from three-point territory ... Rob Little added 14 points, Matt Haryasz scored 13 points, Josh Childress, Chris Hernandez and Dan Grunfeld chipped in with eleven points each, and Joe Kirchofer added ten points ... Stanford shot 66 percent (44-for-67) from the floor, and 60 percent (12-for-20) from three-point territory.

Season Starts
Stanford begins its 89th season of collegiate competition when the Cardinal hosts Sacramento State (Nov. 22, 7:00 p.m.) ... The Cardinal is 72-16 in season openers, and has won 15 straight season openers dating back to the 1987-88 season ... Stanford is 30-5 in home openers at Maples Pavilion.

Maples Memo
Stanford will begin its 36th season playing in Maples Pavilion when the Cardinal faces Sacramento State (Nov. 22) ... The Cardinal is 167-34 (.831) against non-league competition on its home court ... Stanford has produced ten straight winning seasons at Maples Pavilion ... Following the 2003-04 season, Maples Pavilion will undergo a $30-million renovation ... The project is expected to be completed on Jan. 1, 2005, in time for the opening of the Pac-10 season ... Stanford will play the non-league season at Santa Clara's Leavey Center ... The renovation, financed entirely through donations from alumni and friends of the University, will include a new covered concourse with state-of-the-art concession and restroom facilities, in addition to a new center-hung scoreboard with video and replay capability ... The renovation will also include new locker rooms, a strength and conditioning room, a training room, a media center and meeting rooms ... The seating configuration will feature a new lower seating bowl that will take the place of the current floor and loge sections ... The new lower seating bowl will include chair-back theater seats that will replace the wood bleachers in the current floor setup.

Conference Chatter
Stanford is predicted to finish second in the 2003-04 Pacific-10 Conference basketball race, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball ... The Cardinal chalked up 321 points, including seven first-place votes ... Arizona, the defending Pac-10 champion, gathered 26 first-place votes and a total of 339 points ... California is picked to finish third after gathering one first-place vote and 238 points ... USC was the only other conference member to gain at least one first-place vote ... Oregon is picked to finish fourth followed by USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and Oregon State.

Rankings Review
The pre-season rankings are out and Stanford is rated among the top teams in the country ... The two main polls are ESPN/USA Today (17th) and Associated Press (19th) ... Others are Lindy's Basketball (10th), Blue Ribbon College Basketball (16th), Playboy (18th), Street & Smith's (21st), Basketball News (21st), ESPN The Magazine (22nd), The Sporting News (22nd)

Pre-Season Potpourri
All-America candidate Josh Childress is one of 30 pre-season candidates for the 2003-04 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award ... Childress, a member of the 2003 United States Pan Am Games team, also is one of 50 collegiate players named pre-season All-America candidate for the John Wooden team ... Childress also was just named to the ten-member Playboy All-America team ... Head coach Mike Montgomery is the 2004 winner of the John R. Wooden 'Legends of Coaching' Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hornet Hoopla
Sacramento State has made yearly improvement in the last three seasons ... From five victories in 2000-01, to nine victories in 2001-02, and 12 wins during the 2002-03 campaign ... The 12-17 record last year was the best season in the program's Division 1 history (1991-present) ... Three Bay Area players are on the 16-man roster ... They are DeShawn Freeman (5-11, 160, Sophomore, Guard) from St. Mary's High School in Oakland, Nick Gooding (6-7, 195, Sophomore, Forward) from Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, and Tony Champion (6-10, 260, Senior, Center) from Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland ... Champion and guard Brandon Guyton (6-1, 190, Senior, Guard) are the team's returning starters ... Champion and Guyton combined to start 41 games last year ... Champion averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while Guyton hit 64 three-pointers and averaged 8.4 points per game ... Last year, the Hornets redshirted the team's top two scorers in 2001-02, Joel Jones (6-5, 200, Senior, Guard/Forward) and Joseth Dawson (6-1, 185, Senior, Guard) ... Dawson averaged 14 ppg while Jones chipped in with 12 points per game ... Sacramento State is 1-20 against Pac-10 competition ... Their only victory was a 45-44 victory over Washington State during the 1953-54 season ... The Hornets will face another Pac-10 foe on Dec. 22 when they travel to Oregon State ... E.J. Harris (6-3, 177, Junior) played two seasons at Washington State.

Quotes from Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery

Opening remarks
If we stay healthy, we're going to be fine. If we don't, we're not. Sunday's exhibition game was encouraging because I think that the Nike team was a good team. But, we shot the ball extremely well. It was nice to see us not just playing us against ourselves. Chris (Hernandez) hadn't been practicing for a week, but we got him through a game and that was encouraging. So, we'll be fine if we stay healthy. Our key guy is Chris Hernandez. He's got his back problem and has missed six, seven, or eight days in the last three weeks. We're trying to figure out ways to keep him from aggravating the back in practice situations, but I don't know how that will work out in a close game, when we'll need him to play lots of minutes. We'll just have to see how this plays itself out. [Jason] Haas' performance was very encouraging. We're trying to get Nick Robinson some time (at point-guard). We're actually going to see if Tim Morris can have some time. Right now Josh's (Childress) foot is bothering him and we're concerned about how it will respond. It's pretty sore and he really can't practice well. He didn't practice yesterday and we'll see if he can practice today. It's just not one hundred percent. We're going to take this week and try to make some progress. It's pretty hard to make progress at this point because it's the same cast of characters everyday. We'll get some work in this week and head in for three games in six days. Two are on the road and will be good tests for us.

On Stanford's lineup
Our post position is very strong. Matt Haryasz has improved quite a bit. Joe (Kirchofer) has gotten much stronger and had a great summer in terms of lifting. We really haven't used Nick Robinson very much. Nick gave us a tremendous lift last year by allowing us to go smaller and quicker. We haven't integrated him into that position too much. We're trying to get Nick to play the one just in case one of our two points goes down, [Matt] Lottich is confident and playing well. Rob Little has improved a great deal. Chris [Hernandez] hasn't been out there enough as a leader in the point guard position to give us a clear determination of how that is going to work out. Julius (Barnes) played most of the minutes there last year, so I'm not sure of how it will work out.

On the chemistry of this year's team
We're not going to find out what the chemistry is like until we're in big game situations. There is certainly a different thought process with some of the guys from the standpoint of how our seniors are going to react. Are they going to want to take the last shot? Are there going to be guys who will be concerned about the fact that they haven't gotten the ball very much or they haven't scored very much? Those are things that you aren't going to know until you're into the season. You get into close game and you're playing seven, eight, nine guys - that's when you're going to find those things out.

On the freshmen
Defensively and obviously offensively, they're behind because what we do is difficult to learn. Tim (Morris) has not had an easy time with the footwork. He's never played coming away from the basket, he's never tried to get a pivot foot down or work off a pivot foot. He feels a little better facing the basket, which is why we're experimenting with the point guard position. They are tougher defensively. They are great athletes with good size and strength. That's made it harder and competitive for everybody as far as our offense goes.

On Fred Washington
It's going to take a while for Fred. We've got veterans, two deep at every position. We weren't sure if he would play the perimeter. He's got a gamer aspect to him. In the two situations he's been in, he's been pretty good. It's going to be hard early on because he's not going to get lots of minutes. If something were to happen, he's a guy that could go in and defend. He'll make mistakes like any freshman would like trying to be in the right place at the right time. The players have little things that they know that Fred doesn't know because he hasn't been here before. In situations, they will call a play and Fred won't know what that is. But, he's made good progress.

Comparing this year's team to last year's
I think last year's team maxed as far as the number of wins. We virtually won every game that we had a chance to. That's pretty hard to duplicate whether or not we're a better team. We'll be a better basketball team, but it will be questionable whether we can win as many games. Plus, we had more games last year. I don't expect that we will always behind going into the second period as we were last year. We're not worried about what anybody else thinks. We're just trying to do the best that we can and we'll see where that takes us.

On his approach to this year's team
I don't think it will be different. We'll have to see how games work themselves out. If I feel like guys are not doing what they are capable of, if they're coasting, resting, or not preparing themselves well enough mentally because they think we're supposed to be good, then they will hear something from me.

Comparing Josh (Childress) and Casey (Jacobsen)
Casey's ability to create a shot for himself and his thought process is different from Josh's. We've got to find spots where Josh is most successful. We may want to post him up a little more and get him around the basket. Josh's abilities are different than Casey's. Josh does a little bit of everything and is particularly good on the boards. A lot of the points he'll get, he has to go and get himself off the offensive glass. They're different players. I need Josh to make good decisions about the shots he does take. I can't have everybody building him up into something he is not.

On Justin Davis
He looks good. He's a little more polished. He's great on the offensive glass. Maybe we're not blocking off too well, but he's a great offensive rebounder and more polished on his offensive skills. Plus, he'll surprise you with a real good pass or a perfect situation he'll drop the ball off to a guy. We expect Justin to average a double-double (points-rebounds). Is he a guy we're going to go to every time? I think the circumstances would dictate that. He is comfortable and confident in himself. As a fifth year kid, he should be more comfortable in the locker room.

On Chris Hernandez and the senior leaders of the team
Chris sets the tone. He is very good defensively. He's got great work ethic and is really capable of moving his feet. He is strong. When he's in there, he makes a tremendous difference. Everyone sees how hard he works. He's hard to penetrate on. If there's a loose ball in his vicinity, he'll get it. I think that will make a tremendous amount of difference. Players respond to his work and they'll get more physical. I think both Matt (Lottich) and Josh (Childress) have improved their defense. Where they weren't as good on their point of attack, they're better now than they have been. One of the keys is not to get lazy at the post and let the ball get in the post whenever it wants to. Guys tend to stand and watch until their guy posts and then they have it deep. We have to keep the ball out of the low posts better. I think Rob will be a little less foul prone. He's quicker and can move his feet a little better. Certainly Justin's experience should help.

On his philosophical approach to zone defense
We'll use the zone when the situation warrants it. We will be primarily a man-to-man team. There will be times when we'll want to have zone as a part of something a team needs to be aware they may see. Whether it be inline out of bounds, sideline out of bounds, or full court pressure, we'll need to have it available to us. If we run into a team that can't handle it or we run into trouble foul wise and we need to go to it, we can do that. It takes a lot of work. They have to be really geared up to do it. The advantage of that lies in how hard you work. If you play soft, tired, or not into it, it won't be as effective. It's sound but it has its spots. You really have to be aggressive. The players are really going to have to buy in. Early last year they really bought in and saw that it was giving them an advantage, so it worked real well for us.

On the Haryasz and the sophomore class' improvement
(Matt) Haryasz came from the least experienced situation. He really hadn't played against big players and big guys tend to be behind. Danny (Grunfeld) has been around the game all his life, so he had pretty good knowledge about what's going on. But, he's gotten a lot stronger. Even (Jason) Haas, coming from a prep school and having an extra year under his belt, has improved. With guards, typically what you see is what you get. Guards really don't have the ability to make much progress. Physically they settle where they are. Matt's (Lottich) put on twenty pounds and had a chance to play against big guys, so you would expect him to make the most progress.

On shooting
I think our inside game is very solid right now. Matt (Lottich), Justin (Davis), Joe (Kirchofer), and Rob (Little) are definitely factors inside. If people have to cover down, play an extra guy, or double team, it's going to make our perimeter players even better. I think Matt Lottich is one of the better shooters in the country. He does a great job at getting his feet set and when he does get them set, you feel like its going to go in. Danny (Grunfeld) has been shooting real well. He's got a little bit of gamer in him and tends to shoot better in the games. Chris Hernandez has improved, but we don't have guys who create their own shots. So, a lot it is going to depend on our ability to deliver the ball to people on time, cleanly, and pass better. That will just have to develop.

On the Pac-10
We don't have a bunch of teams ranked early on. Arizona is up there as always. We've had five six, seven good teams (in past years), but some of the teams on the bottom haven't been real competitive. I think that is not the case this year. People always say you won't see someone run away with it and I'm not sure that's the case. There will be some road games, like Washington State, that will be a little more difficult to win than they have been. There are a lot of teams that have solidified. At Washington, Lorenzo (Romar) has been there two years and Jay John at Oregon State has a year under his belt. Oregon now looks like it will be consistently one of the better teams. Cal as some great young talent and have quite a few good returners. The league will be plenty good.

On the Maples renovation
We'll see how it goes. It is going to start in March. It is much overdo and it will make a real nice difference in bleacher comfort. Now we'll have a little more climate control, new lights, and better scoreboard. It will make it a nice, comfortable place for us to play. A lot stuff you won't see. We won't have to get out of our lockers for the volleyball tournaments. We won't have to get out of the coaches locker room for the officials when volleyball comes in. it will make a better building. It should be interesting to see what happens. They're going to turn it around pretty quickly. There are a lot little things they probably won't know about until they start digging.

On his concerns for the season
I don't have any major concerns. I think we have some big, strong guys who have the ability to be flexible. You talk about our depth and we've got twelve scholarship kids, two of whom are freshmen. Depth is just an issue. That's where injuries hurt us most of all, long term. Sometimes I'm concerned about our shooting. Matt (Lottich) is our best shooter and perimeter wise, Danny (Grunfeld) is next. Sometimes we don't shoot the ball as well as we'd like across the board, but no major concerns.

On inside-out game
Our team shoots better when the ball goes in and then comes back out. That's the best shot you get in a game. You have to double down on your big guys; you have to send a second guy at the big guys because they're good. That's how Adam (Keefe) made Peter Dukes a great player. When Adam left the next year, Peter really struggled. They had cover down at the posts and he couldn't get shots. It's the best shot in the game. If you establish your game inside, it really helps your perimeter people.

On passing
They're a lot better. When Rob (Little) first came here, he was not a good passer at all. You have to give Rob credit. He works on the things he is not very good at. Most kids refuse to admit they can't do things. Rob is a much better passer than he used to be. He can make a two handed chest pass. He can pass through defenses. He is a lot better than he was. He feels real good and he should.

On Evan Moore and Mark Bradford
I can't imagine them playing much, just given that they have missed thirty-five practices where all the teaching has been done. Evan now has a dislocated shoulder and we don't know how that is going to respond. In basketball where you have to rebound the ball and are more likely to get tied up than in football, that's going to be harder on his shoulder than anything. It remains to be seen whether he can even get involved in practice at all. He's been coming to practice and watching. He's a smart kid and can tell what we're doing on the surface. Plus, an inside's guy job is easier anyway. They just have to find a guy to get a body on. And Bradford, he might be able to help us out at point, but point is the hardest position on our team. We'll have to wait and see how adept he is at picking up things. I would be surprised to see if they would be in position to do anything before January and then I think its going to depend on if everyone is doing what they are capable of. Its going to be difficult for them. They will certainly add depth and as the conference season progresses, you never know what will happen to your team.

On Chris Hernandez
I don't know how to best rest him right now. I don't know whether to rest him for longer periods of time or whether to take him out before the half and then let him in later in the second half. Part of it is getting the back warmed up, and once he gets going he's pretty good, but the problem is how he starts out. Game pace is much more intense, typically, than practice pace, because you go hard for a long time. That's where the real test will come - game pace for 35 minutes

On Josh Childress's foot
For lack of a better term, it's the precurssor to a stress fracture. It's a stress reaction. Brevin Knight had a similar injury and his never broke. But there was a lot of activity there and if he pounded on it long enough, it would break. If you get pain, your body says, 'Hey, hang on here, you're putting a little too much stress in this area.' So it starts to get painful. If you ignore that and continue to pound away, then it could crack and you have a stress fracture. You have to be cautious with that. As soon as the pain goes away, the danger is gone. Your body tells you when it is concerned about something, and pain is the way your body communicates. So if the pain goes away, then there's not too much stress on that spot and it's not a problem.

On using Nick Robinson
We'll try to get Nick some work as best as we can, but for right now we'll spot Chris (Hernandez) as much as we can get him in there. We need Chris because he needs game experience and the team needs to run with Chris, and then we'll try to rest him with Jason Haas. But right now we need to rest Josh (Childress) at the three, and Nick would be your obvious guy there, so he has to be able to play the three. So Nick won't get as much look at the one (point guard) right now.

On Tim Morris
He's going to redshirt. We're not going to use Tim [at point guard] unless something were to happen to Chris (Hernandez) or, potentially, (Jason) Haas. We would use him if we don't have anybody else there.I think Tim's a very good athlete. I think he's suffered from paralysis by analysis because he's never had to assimilate as much as we've given him or worry about which foot is the pivot foot and where he goes next. [In highschool] he's pretty much been the guy with the ball, making the plays, without much consideration for all that stuff. Again, he'd be the first to tell you that he's never had to operate off a downscreen, come off, get a foot set, get aggressive, square up and make a play. It's just something he's never done.

On Fred Washington
No, [he will not be redshirting]. It's not something we tell them to do or not to do, it's something that we ask them about. We point out that the minutes might not be what they want, or give them things to work on. If a kid wants to get through school in four years and go, that's his right. Sometimes you're in a situation where a kid is down on your roster a little bit because of lack of experience and thinks he could benefit from a fifth year. In Tim's (Morris) case, he is academically-oriented and well aware of the possibilities he could use that year for. He thinks it's a pretty good deal for him.

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