When you're a trio of summer interns in San Francisco's KGO-TV
sports department, you learn that ground-bound guards and
banging big men don't make for the sexiest highlights. Which may
explain why budding Fourth Estaters Casey Jacobsen and Jarron
and Jason Collins are predicting a lot more airtime--literally
and electronically--for this year's Cardinal. "We're going to
get more dunks," crows Jacobsen. "It'll be a little more
exciting to watch Stanford basketball."
We've heard such talk before, but there are reasons to believe
the Cardinal could match last year's 27-4 record, while also
shedding its derisive nickname, Standford. Jacobsen spent the
summer improving his mid-range game, learning to pull up for
jumpers or dish to an open cutter in the lane. The Collins twins
attended Pete Newell's Big Man Camp, where they gained confidence
in facing the basket.
Not that the Cardinal has abandoned its stolid strengths.
Jacobsen and senior Ryan Mendez combined to shoot 42.9% from
three-point range last season, and with only the graduated Mark
Madsen and David Moseley gone from last year's Pac-10 co-champs,
Stanford figures to hold opponents near their 35.2% shooting of
last season, an NCAA record. The Cardinal will control the boards
again in almost every game. Yet if Stanford hopes to make it past
the NCAA tournament's opening weekend after two straight
second-round flops, it will need an as-yet-undiscovered leader in
the Madsen mold. Who will that cardinal Cardinal be? Who knows?
All Jason Collins hopes is that he doesn't have to hear the same
old question again from his barber next year: "Man, what happened
in the tournament?"
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK BASIC INSTINCTS Mendez and Co. will get off the ground more, but defense and rebounding will still be their strengths.
POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT
SF Ryan Mendez 6'7" Sr. 9.7 ppg
PF [*]Jarron Collins 6'11" Sr. 11.0 ppg
C Jason Collins 7'0" Jr. 6.1 rpg
SG [*]Casey Jacobsen 6'6" So. 14.5 ppg
PG [*]Michael McDonald 6'1" Sr. 4.7 apg
1999-2000 record: 27-4 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 5