Sports

Stanford men's basketball all about taking care of business

 
Dorian Pickens hopes to leave Stanford after an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Photo by Al Sermeno/isiphotos.com.

Freshman Daejon Davis, a guard out of Seattle, has already begun taking advantage of attending a university in the middle of Silicon Valley. Now he's hoping to contribute to a successful season on the basketball court.

Stanford completed its first week of practice under second-year coach Jarod Haase and things couldn't be much better.


Daejon Davis
"Everybody is eager, playing hard and with a great attitude," Haase said. "We'll get after it."

The Cardinal, three years removed from its most recent NIT championship and four years removed from its last NCAA appearance, are dreaming large this year.

Stanford (14-17 last year) settled for just its second losing season in the past 24 years in Haase's first year. It doesn't seem to matter to a team heavy in experience.

"The seniors haven't been in the postseason we want and that's the NCAA," Stanford forward Reid Travis said. "That's why we came for, why we sweat hard working on things. We can't let it slip away."

There's reason for the optimism. The combination of seniors Dorian Pickens and Michael Humphrey and redshirt juniors Travis and Robert Cartwright have appeared in a combined 315 games, including 169 starts, at Stanford.

The trio of Travis, Pickens and Humphrey averaged 29.4 points and 18.6 rebounds a game last year. A good place to start.

Add to the mix a schedule that includes games with North Carolina, Florida Gonzaga or Ohio State and Kansas and the Cardinal will know where it stands entering Pac-12 play.

"It's a great schedule, one of the best in the country," Pickens said. "Those are huge games for us to showcase ourselves. It's what you want to prepare for the Pac-12 and close games against great teams."

"It means we're not hiding from anybody," Travis added. "It means we can prove we're an NCAA-worthy team if we take care of things."

Davis said having the seniors around was important even before the first day of practice.

"They constantly push me to be better," he said. "They're supportive and help me get through everything."

Davis takes a one-unit class that meets once a week. The group interacts with a different entrepreneur every week. That's it. No homework. Just a gathering of the minds of Silicon Valley.

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