Posted on: October 17, 2008 7:41 pm

Stanford Cardinal '08-'09 Preview


Stanford Cardinal

Head Coach: Johnny Dawkins *1st year from Duke
Last Season’s Results: Conf. 15-6 (2nd), Overall 28-8. Post Season: NCAA Tournament


Backcourt:  Stanford’s backcourt of Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, and Landry Fields was often overlooked last year thanks to the uncanny talent in the frontcourt. This year Johnson, Goods, and Fields will headline for the Cardinal.

Johnson and Goods are quality guards who will have to step up in a big way after having down years last year.  Fields is the biggest question in the backcourt who could find himself as a leader on the team or coming off the bench by the end of the year.

Frontcourt: Lawrence Hill was a solid backup last year and gets the opportunity to show what he is capable of as a starter this season. Hill will be the go-to guy down low and should be a solid forward for the Cardinal. Look for Hill to average nearly 12 points per game.

 Josh Owens is the shakiest starter on this Cardinal’s roster. Keep a close eye on his progression if he fails to step up the Cardinal will be forced to look to Will Paul or Elliot Bullock, who have no business starting in the PAC-10, in hopes for a diamond in the rough.

Bench: Will Paul, Kenny Brown, Elliot Bullock, Drew Shiller will be the key bench players for the Cardinal, although Paul and Brown are the only ones that should see significant minutes. 

Key Departures: The biggest names to leave Stanford this off season were Brook and Robin Lopez who left for the NBA following their sophomore seasons. Back-up power forward Taj Finger graduated along with starting SF Fred Washington leaving the Cardinal searching for three new starters.

Key Recruits:
SG- Jeremy Green is a 4-Star recruit from Austin, Texas and is the 19th overall shooting guard. He averaged 22.3 ppg and 6.3 rebounds per game in high school. He’s a lean guard that will compete for a starting spot, and could very well take it away from Landry Fields.

SG- Jarrett Mann - Mann has a quick first step, and strong finishing capabilities. He has good floor awareness, but will need a transition period before being ready for the college level. If Landry Fields can’t pick it up, look for Mann to contest for the starting position.
PF/C Elliot Bullock and PF Jack Trotter were late signees who should be watching from the sidelines, but due to the lack of frontcourt depth, they should see a few minutes a game. Both players averaged double-digits in rebounding and points in high school, but are likely wing-and-a-prayer type of recruits.

*Click linked recruit names for their highlight video.

Strengths: Teams will have to modify their approach when facing Stanford and the three-guard lineup. The frontcourt is their strength, but unfortunately it isn’t as strong as Oregon’s or other PAC-10 teams being forced to rely heavily on guard play due to a weakened front line.

Weaknesses: The departures out of the frontcourt have left the Cardinal feeling like Old Mother Hubbard. The Cardinal will have to emphasize their backcourt in a big way to compensate for the lack of talent in the frontcourt. Perhaps the Cardinal’s biggest problem comes with the timing of Trent Johnson’s departure. In a crucial point for signing recruits, the Cardinal were instead searching for a head coach.  As a result the Cardinal are extremely thin this year with a lot of hope and responsibility laying on the shoulders of unranked prospects.

Key Dates:
Dec 28 @ Texas Tech
Jan 17  vs. CAL
Jan 22 vs. Oregon

Outlook: This season will mark a new era in Cardinal basketball. Stanford still has a decent amount of talent on their roster despite the loss of the Lopez Twins, Taj Finger and Fred Washington, but they no longer possess the intimidating front court that has propelled them over almost two decades. Johnny Dawkins gets his first shot at running his own team after a long tutelage under Mike Krzyzewski. His coaching abilities will be tested this year as he will have to cater to a team with more questions than answers.

Projected Finish: Eighth in the PAC-10. No Post-Season appearance.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com