Men's Basketball Kicks Off Official Start Of Practice

Oct. 18, 2008

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    STANFORD, Calif.- The Stanford men's basketball team officially kicked off the 2008-09 campaign this weekend, retreating to Monterey for a weekend of practice sessions before arriving back on campus Sunday evening.

    The Cardinal returns to its normal midday practice time next week, with just over two weeks of preparation before an exhibition against Cal State Stanislaus on Nov. 4 kicks off the year.

    Here are a few items to keep in mind as the regular season quickly approaches:

  • Johnny Dawkins is the 17th head coach in the history of the Stanford men's basketball program. The first-year coach arrives on The Farm after completing 11 years as a member of the Duke coaching staff. For the last nine seasons (2000-08), Dawkins served as Duke's associate head coach. During Dawkins' tenure at Duke, the Blue Devils won a national championship in 2001, six ACC regular season championships and seven ACC Tournament titles.

  • Dawkins recently completed a three-year commitment with the USA Basketball Senior National team, serving as the program's Player Personnel Director from 2006-08. With the help of Dawkins and the rest of the USA Basketball coaching staff, Team USA claimed its first gold medal since 2000 with a 118-107 victory over Spain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

    For more about Dawkins' experience as a member of Team USA's staff, click here.


  • After losing seniors Taj Finger, Peter Prowitt and Fred Washington to graduation and Brook and Robin Lopez to the NBA, this year's Cardinal squad will look considerably different. Among the early returns from Dawkins:

    'Obviously, we have to be a little more creative without the Lopez twins. What we need to do is have the ability to post multiple players. In addition to posting our big guys, we'll be looking for opportunities to post our perimeter guys as well. So we have to be more versatile, rather than just looking down at big low post guys.'

    'Through early workouts, the one thing that is obvious is our guys have good chemistry. I can tell they have played together for awhile and now they are adjusting. We are implementing a new system and they are working hard toward picking it up.'

    'We want to play a little more up-tempo, and by that I don't necessarily mean we want to run fast breaks every time down the floor. But we would like to have a controlled fast break, which means we want to push the ball up the floor and have an idea of what we want to accomplish when we get down there. We want to keep good spacing and allow our guys opportunities to create. Our wing players have some experience and we have a good point guard, so we want to put those guys in position to be as successful as possible. Defensively, we want to play man to man. Probably 90-percent of what we do will be based on our man-to-man principles of picking guys up as soon as possible, putting pressure on the basketball and just playing good, solid, disciplined man to man defense.'


  • 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 that finished 28-8 overall en route to the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance since 2001.

    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 be returning for another season and rounds out the senior class.


  • 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.

    Finalists for the award will be announced on Feb. 1.

    The Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford is given to the top collegiate male basketball point guard annually spanning across all divisions within the game by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The selection criteria emphasize leadership, team work, success, and fundamentals as being critical parts for the game of basketball as a point guard. Last year's recipient was D.J. Augustin of Texas.


  • There are four walk-ons on this year's roster, including three 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). All three are freshmen.

    A fourth walk-on, Emmanuel Igbinosa, was recently added to the roster. Igbinosa (6-2, 185) is a guard from Houston, Texas. Igbinosa has academic standing as a junior.


  • 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 coach, 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, will serve 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 on board as the Academic/Recruiting Coordinator.

    Strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene is in his first season after spending the previous five years at UNC Charlotte and athletic trainer Tomoo Yamada enters his fifth season with the men's basketball program.


  • A total of 16 regular season contests are scheduled to be televised, with the possibility of three more games at the end of the year. Eleven contests can be seen on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, as part of the FSN package.

    Other TV highlights include:
    - Fri., Nov. 14 at Yale - 4 p.m. on CBS College Sports (season opener, Johnny Dawkins' first game as a head coach)
    - Tue., Dec. 23 at Santa Clara - 8 p.m. on ESPNU (associate head coach Dick Davey faces off against his former school)
    - Sat., Jan. 31 at UCLA - 12:30 p.m. on ABC (Cardinal finished second to Bruins in last year's Pac-10 standings)


  • All Stanford men's basketball games this year will be broadcast live on KTRB AM 860, a 50,000-watt station based in San Francisco. KTRB AM 860 is one of the oldest radio stations on the West Coast and also serves as the flagship for Cardinal football.

    Dave Flemming enters his second season as the play-by-play voice of the Cardinal while John Platz enters his 20th season as the color commentator.


  • Pac-10 Media Day is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, in Los Angeles. The conference preseason media poll will be announced at this time. Dawkins and Mitch Johnson will be in attendance for Stanford.


  • One year after establishing a program record for home victories (16) in a single season, Stanford once again will play 17 games at home in addition to opening the year with a pair of exhibition contests. In fact, the Cardinal will play seven of its first 10 contests at home before kicking off league play against Arizona State on Jan. 2.

    Four of those home games will include visits from Air Force (Nov. 26), Colorado (Nov. 29), Northwestern (Dec. 20) and Texas Tech (Dec. 28)- signaling the first time in program history that at least one team from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Mountain West will play at Maples Pavilion in the same season.

    After two months of non-conference play, Stanford will once again face a difficult Pac-10 schedule, as the league placed nine teams in the postseason last year.

    Stanford begins the year at Yale on Nov. 14, representing the first time the Cardinal has opened the season on the road since an 81-66 victory at New Mexico back on Nov. 17, 2001.

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