Stanford men's basketball has its best player back from last season in Reid Travis, and that’s a good place to start. Travis averaged 17.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and shot 57.9 percent from the floor last season.
And according to coach Jerod Haase Thursday at Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Travis is even better now as he readies himself for the upcoming season.
Travis has a strong supporting cast to play with him on the inside, in particular returning starter Michael Humphries, but also 7-footer Josh Sharma, 6-11 sophomore Trevor Stanback and freshman Oscar Da Silva. But for Stanford to improve on last season’s 14-17 record it needs improved play from the perimeter.
“We need to shoot the basketball a little bit better from the outside,’’ Haase said. “I think that will continue to open up things around the basket.’’
Last season Stanford made 157 3-pointers and made them at a 32.0 percent rate. Stanford’s opponents made more than 100 more -- 258 3-pointers -- and shot 38.2 percent. That’s a big disparity to try to overcome.
So who’s going to help Dorian Pickens, the returning wing who averaged 12.6 points last season and made 67 3-pointers?
Haase said he’s been most pleasantly surprised by freshman Isaac White, a 6-1 guard from Australia.
“When we look at our team, two things that we desperately need and are looking for are toughness and shooting,’’ Haase said. “When we look at Isaac, he's got a great deal of shooting. He's a capable shooter from the outside and tough as nails.’’
It remains to be seen who can be counted on to share minutes with returning starter Robert Cartwright at point guard. But Haase is very high on his incoming group of freshmen.
“We're one of the most experienced teams in all of college basketball,’’ Haase said. “But we have five new faces in the program this year, and we're going to look and rely on them as
Well. The ability to mesh that together will be really important for our team to succeed.
Yeah, with the incoming guys, we're needless to say, very, very excited.’