This is probably what Dr. Frankenstein sounded like before
plucking the sheet from his creation.
Stanford coach Mike Montgomery becomes almost breathless when
talk turns to Tim Young, the Cardinal's 7'1" sophomore center.
"He was 14-8 for us as a starter last season, and he wasn't a
very finished player," says the coach. "This year he's bigger,
stronger and that much more comfortable in our offense. He's got
a chance to be a dominating player--the kind of guy you can't
guard with just one person."
Growing up in granola-intensive Santa Cruz, Calif., Young
developed an environmental consciousness. He eschews driving,
preferring to ride his bike. Is he trying to do his part to
preserve the ozone layer? "It's partly that," he says. "Mainly,
it's fun to ride a bike."
For Montgomery, fun is talking about how Young reminds him of
ex-Cardinal big man Adam Keefe, now a member of the Utah Jazz,
who put defenses in a similar pickle: "You couldn't guard him
with one player," says Montgomery, whose current team could be
better than the 1988-89 team on which Keefe, then a freshman,
was the sixth man. That club finished 26-7 and ranked 12th. This
year Stanford has all five starters and 92% of its scoring back
from a team that reached the second round of the NCAA
tournament, in which it was routed by Massachusetts.
"We've got a bunch of seniors, a lot of leadership and more
quickness than that ['89] team," says Montgomery. "We got a
little tournament experience last season, so we know what to
look forward to. We've definitely got a chance to do something."
How much Young improves will determine how much Stanford does.
"It took time for me to get used to going against college-level
centers," says Stanford's first 7-footer in two decades. "But
after a while, I got on a roll." Young scored in double figures
in each of his last eight games and ended up with 43 blocks.
This is not to suggest that Young won't have help. Shooting
guard Dion Cross is one of the nation's most lethal threats from
outside (page 40); quicksilver Brevin Knight is one of the top
point guards. "This year people won't be able to concentrate on
Dion and me," says Knight. "If they do, Tim will make them pay."
The first guard off the bench is senior David Harbour, a
loose-ball bird dog who is, according to Montgomery, "the
toughest kid in the league." Senior forwards Andy Poppink and
Darren Allaway return to again help out with scoring, rebounding
Supplementing this experience is the finest recruiting class
Montgomery has harvested in 10 years on the Farm.
The bumper crop will offer insurance against injuries and foul
trouble. "Our practices are going to be better," says
Montgomery. "Hopefully that will make us better."
That's a typically bland Montgomery prediction. But when the
subject of his center arises, he throws prudence to the wind.
Before Young is done, says his coach, "he may be the big man
other big men are judged by."
COLOR PHOTO: BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN Young, says his coach, is a rare talent. [Tim Young shooting basketball over opponent]
THE DATA BOX
Coach: Mike Montgomery
Career record: 316-188 (17 seasons)
Record at Stanford: 152-110 (9 seasons)
1994-95 record: 20-9 (final ranking: none)
Pac-10 record: 10-8 (fifth)
SF *Andy Poppink, 6'7", Sr.
Second on team in assists, with 74
PF *Darren Allaway, 6'8", Sr.
Member of British national team
C *Tim Young, 7'1", Soph.
Set school record with 43 blocks
SG *Dion Cross, 6'2", Sr.
Shot 48% on 3's, 44% overall
PG *Brevin Knight, 5'10", Jr.
All-Pac-10 player had 184 assists
Jan. 6 vs. Arizona
Wildcats swept Cardinal last season
Jan. 11 at UCLA
Stanford has lost nine straight to UCLA
Feb. 1 vs. Seton Hall
Knight attended Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey
Feb. 10 vs. UCLA
Shot just 38.9% against Bruins in '94-95
March 2 vs. California
To determine second place in Pac-10?