Much like Virginia, Stanford entered the 2010-11 campaign with six freshmen on its roster. The Cardinal, however, have no seniors this season, which makes for an interesting dynamic on Coach Johnny Dawkins's squad.
"There's a lot more teaching," Dawkins said in a telephone interview. "When the players are around and you have a smaller number of incoming freshmen, a lot of times the upperclassmen can really help in their development from the standpoint of teaching them the nuances, teaching them the culture. For us, we have no seniors and we have six freshmen, so it changes that a little bit for us."
Stanford -- which finished last season 14-18 (7-11 Pac-10) -- opened its season with a 64-48 win Monday over San Diego. On Thursday, the Cardinal will host Virginia (2-0) in Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford was predicted to finish ninth in the Pac-10 this season.
Many of the players expected to carry significant roles for Stanford this season struggled against San Diego. Junior guard Jeremy Green (6-foot-4, 198 lbs.) shot 1 for 7 from the field and tallied two points, no assists and three turnovers in 20 minutes Monday. Green is Stanford's leading returning scorer (16.6 ppg last season) and top three-point shooting threat (38.1 percent in 2009-10). As a second team all-conference performer last season, Green led the Pac-10 in made three-pointers.
Running the point for the Cardinal is juinor guard Jarrett Mann (6-foot-4, 190 lbs.). Mann can get to the basket quickly, but he struggled to finish close-range shots last season. He averaged 5.8 points per game and shot 38.5 percent from the field. He maintained a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Stanford went with a three-forward lineup against San Diego that included juniors Josh Owens (6-foot-8, 230 lbs.) and Jack Trotter (6-foot-9, 230 lbs.) and freshman Dwight Powell (6-foot-9, 227 lbs.).
Owens sat out last season due to an undisclosed medical condition. Dawkins said Owens is still working off some of the rust that accumulated during a season out of action. Owens tallied eight points and four rebounds in 23 minutes Monday against San Diego.
Powell tallied seven points on 2 for 6 shooting, four rebounds and three assists in his first collegiate game. It wasn't an outstanding performance by any means, but it teased to the sort of well-rounded talent Dawkins believes Powell possesses.
"His versatility is useful for us," Dawkins said. "He can play all over the floor. He can play inside; he can play outside. That gives us something that's a little bit unique."
A former walk-on, Trotter averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season while shooting 49.7 percent from the field. The Cardinal will need him to be a consistently solid rebounder this season. He grabbed six boards Monday against San Diego.
Stanford's top two performers in its season opener were reserve guard Gabriel Harris (6-foot-2, 190 lbs.) and reserve forward Andrew Zimmermann (6-foot-8, 230 lbs.). Harris, a sophomore, played in 17 games and attempted 33 shots all season long. On Monday, Harris shot 5 for 6 from the field and tallied 12 points.
Zimmermann, a junior, averaged 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 2009-10. He scored a team-high 14 points Monday. Against San Diego, Harris and Zimmermann shot 11 for 13 (84.6 percent). The rest of the team shot 28.2 percent (13 for 46).
Two other reserve guards that Dawkins will look to rely on this season are freshmen Aaron Bright (5-foot-11, 175 lbs.) and Anthony Brown (6-foot-6, 200 lbs.). Bright is a pure point guard who will be used to spell Mann.
Brown is an athletic swingman that can play multiple positions and multiple roles for the Cardinal. He grabbed six rebounds -- tied for the team high -- against San Diego, which was encouraging. Less encouraging was his 1 for 7 shooting performance from the field.
Another freshman likely to see significant minutes Thursday against Virginia is forward Josh Huestis (6-foot-7, 223 lbs.). No Cardinal player logged more than 23 minutes Monday, and 10 players were on the floor for 14 minutes or more. The playing time likely will be a little more spread out against the Cavaliers, but expect Stanford's top 10 players to see a good amount of time on the floor.
The Cardinal will put more defensive pressure on Virginia than the Cavaliers experienced in either of their first two games, which will provide truer tests of composure for Virginia's numerous freshmen.
| November 17, 2010; 7:22 AM ET
Categories: Men's Basketball
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Posted by: hoos3014 | November 17, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse