Widgets Magazine

Men’s basketball set to tip off season in Shanghai

Stanford men’s basketball will tip off its new season with a match against Harvard in Shanghai on Friday night.

This matchup will mark the Stanford debut of head coach Jerod Haase, who spent four seasons as a head coach at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. During his tenure with the Blazers, Haase amassed an 80-53 record and steered his team to a Conference USA championship in 2016. Haase replaced Johnny Dawkins, who was relieved of his position after a disappointing 15-15 record last year. Dawkins compiled a 156-115 record and two NIT championships during his eight-year tenure at Stanford.

The Cardinal wilted last season, as they only managed a .500 record and missed both the NCAA tournament and the NIT tournament, which Stanford won in 2015. They are hoping that a veteran group and the return of key players will help spark a bid for the conference title and a deep run in March.

Junior forward Reid Travis is among the most promising returning members of the Cardinal squad. Although his last season was curtailed by injury, Travis looks poised for a big year. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

Junior forward Reid Travis is among the most promising returning members of the Cardinal squad. Although his last season was curtailed by injury, Travis looks poised for a big year. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

The team will have plenty of experience heading into the season, as four starters from last year return and 10 of the top 11 scorers from the past season remain on the team. However, the sole loss was Rosco Allen, the Cardinal’s leading scorer (15.6 points per game) in the 2015-16 season, who decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility to declare for the NBA draft. He went undrafted and plays in Spain for Obradoiro CAB.

Junior guard Robert Cartwright will, presumably, make his first start after suffering a compound fracture in his right arm during a practice before the beginning of last season. He was poised to fill the starting point guard role before the injury forced him out for the entire year. He averaged 1.9 PPG in 11.1 minutes in the 2014-15 season.

A huge return for the Cardinal is junior forward Reid Travis. Travis only played the first eight games of the season before missing the rest of the season with a leg injury. During the games that he played, Travis was second in scoring (12.8 PPG), first in rebounds (7.1 RPG) and first in field-goal percentage (55.7 percent). He is a player to watch if he can remain healthy.

With the injuries to two starters last season, Stanford leaned on Rosco Allen and junior forward Michael Humphrey to generate offense and create a suffocating pressure on defense. Humphrey, with his 6-foot-9 frame, posted a 98.3 defensive rating, which led the team, and was a double-digit (10.3 PPG) scorer for the Cardinal. If he can defend without fouling, which has been a problem for him, and continue his progression from last year, then Humphrey could become a star player in the Pac-12.

“Right now, the team is excited,” said Haase, during after the Cardinal’s first practice. “Practice no. 1 is always an exciting time for everyone in the country, but we need to build the foundation offensively and defensively. We need to understand [that] this is a process and we are going to be committed to that process.”

“[It’s] an exciting time, and I think players and coaches alike are excited to get started.”

Stanford and Harvard have played each other in nine contests, and the Cardinal are unbeaten in those games (9-0). The teams’ last matchup saw Stanford hosting Harvard to open the season in 2007. The Cardinal routed the Crimson 111-56.

The game between Stanford and Harvard will be broadcasted on ESPN2 Friday night at 8 p.m.

 

Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.