Pac-10 Preview: Stanford #8

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by Griffin Bennett

The Cardinal are in a tough place this year, again. Holding down our #8 spot, head coach Johnny Dawkins must look to replace their best player, and Pac-10 leading scorer, Landry Fields. After finishing tied for second-to-last in the league last year, Dawkins will look to lead his new youth movement while leaning on junior guard, Jeremy Green. Without a single senior on the roster, Stanford will struggle with leadership on the court.
 
Key Losses:
 
Landry Fields (22.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg) – graduated
Drew Shiller (7.5 ppg) – graduated
Emmanuel Igbinosa (3.9 ppg) – graduated
Da’veed Dildy (2.0 ppg) – transfer to Robert Morris
 
Best of the Rest:
 
You obviously have to start with key junior, Jeremy Green. He averaged 16.6 ppg and almost 4 rpg last year and looks to be their leading scorer in 2010/11. Green loves to shoot the three, as he attempted 244 of them last year. He shot 38% from behind the arc, and Green says that he has improved from that mark during the off-season. Look for Green to be a sleeper in the Pac-10 player of the year race.
 
The two other returning starters are 6’9 forward Jack Trotter, and 6’3 point guard Jarrett Mann, both of whom are juniors. Last year, Trotter averaged 6.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg while Mann averaged 5.4 ppg and 4.3 apg with a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. Both players are average at best at their positions in the Pac-10 and some believe that they could lose their jobs by mid-season to their younger counterparts.
 
Josh Owens looks to rebound from a horrific injury last year which cost him the entire season. He has still yet to play any basketball and is limited to off-court training only. It’s difficult to judge how he will impact the team this year, but he did average 6.9 ppg and 3.6 rpg two years ago. Another returning player to briefly mention is 6’8 forward Andrew Zimmerman who played decent minutes off the bench last year. He is most famous for being the recipient of MBA’s monster dunk last year

 
Incoming Freshman:
 
The future is bright for the Cardinal. With the 15th ranked recruiting class in the nation, and best in the Pac-10, they look to start a few freshmen right away. Headlining the class would be 6’9 power forward Dwight Powell and 6’6 small forward Anthony Brown. They are both supremely talented four star recruits and will most likely start right away. Remember those names because they will be nightmares for years to come.
 
They also signed two players from the state of Washington in Bellevue’s PG Aaron Bright, and Vashon Island’s C John Gage. Other additions are SG Josh Huestis, and PF Stefan Nastic. All are ranked three stars or higher from Scout.com and all look to contribute this year.
 
Projected Starting Line-Up:
 
PG – Jarrett Mann – 6’3”
 
SG – Jeremy Green – 6’4”
 
SF – Anthony Brown – 6’6”
 
PF – Dwight Powell – 6’9”
 
C – Jack Trotter – 6’9”
 
Outlook:
 
The scoring won’t be as one-sided as it was last year for Stanford, but it won’t become any easier. It’s going to be a pseudo-rebuilding year as they will most certainly be a favorite for the Pac-10 in 2011/12 with everyone returning. I believe that they will look and play a lot differently and we will finally see Dawkins’ Duke roots show now that he has all of his type of players on the court.
 
With so many key freshmen and  shaky upper-classmen, you could potentially see freshman PG Aaron Bright and PF Stefan Nastic starting by mid-season. The 2010/11 season depends on the development of the freshman, but it might be one year too early for big things for the Cardinal.
 
Prediction:
 
I see Stanford going 7-11 this season. They will struggle early and wins will be tough, but they will grow as the season progresses and finish strong earning an upset or two along the way. The Huskies have struggled winning in Palo Alto, but I don’t see any hiccups this year as they should win both match-ups.
 
How UW beats them:
 
First of all, you have to lock down Jeremy Green. This sounds like a job for Justin Holiday. The Huskies should be looking to play full-court on the Cardinal and force some easy mistakes from their young players. They love to shoot the three, especially Green, so defending well off of the ball is always key. They have a decently large team this year, so you may see Romar try to go big in certain situations with Aziz and MBA on the court at the same time with Holiday at the 3. You could also see Romar do the opposite and try to so small and speed the game’s pace up and make their guys try to run the fast break. I’d lean on the latter as Romar loves to be the aggressor against most teams.

Countdown Recap:

9. Cal

10. Oregon