Z battles for boards at Maples Pavilion.
The Bootleg welcomes David Lombardi as he takes a look at Stanford's recent rebounding woes. Lombardi's a Stanford and Pac-12 conference enthusiast, has broadcast the Cardinal on KZSU for several years, and is currently contributing to the Cardinal Channel. Learn more about David here:
A crucial, litmus test of a midseason three-game road
trip didn’t go well for Stanford basketball, thanks in large part to the
Cardinal’s inability to rebound the basketball down the stretch of contests away
from Maples Pavilion.
The last time Stanford took the floor at home in
Palo Alto over two weeks ago, the team was downright impressive in all phases of
the game. The scoreboard looked pretty: Stanford dismantled Colorado 84-64. The
Cardinal shot well (53%). They dropped 10 bombs from downtown and frustrated the
But the most striking numbers from that game came from
the rebounding department: Stanford 35 grabbed boards; Colorado only
That’s the last time the Cardinal has out-rebounded an opponent, and
also the last time that the team has won a basketball game.
later, the alarming trend began when Stanford ended up deadlocked 30-30 with
Washington State on the boards during a gut-wrenching 81-69 loss in Pullman.
The Cougars’ unconscious second-half shooting from the field certainly had
something to do with that statistic (72.7%; the basketball gods had to settle
the score with Stanford at some point after the Cardinal’s 2007 UCLA win), but
Washington State is the softest team on the glass in the conference. They’ve
been out-boarded by Sacramento State, and they played Stanford just days after
being destroyed 46-24 on the glass by Washington. Even if they are given the
crutch of an absurdly hot shooting performance, the Cougars have no business
matching Stanford in rebounding numbers.
Matters worsened two days later,
when the Cardinal was shellacked 47-32 on the boards in Seattle. Washington rode
their rebounding dominance to a 76-63 win over Stanford.
game saw more of the same woes for the Cardinal: Cal blitzed Stanford 41-25 on
the glass en route to a 69-59 victory.
At this point, the good news for
the Cardinal is that they’re coming back home this Thursday. Stanford has
averaged a 36-28 boarding edge in its four Pac-12 home games - all victories -
to date. In those contests, they haven’t given up the second and third chance
points that have doomed them in their four conference road losses.
is not an issue with this Stanford team. Between Josh Owens, Josh Huestis,
Dwight Powell, and a handful of other fine athletes on the roster, Stanford has
the ability to score and corral the basketball - at least in
Muscle, however, appears to be somewhat lacking, and that may be
the reason that Stanford has been worn down during the second half of Pac-12
road games, especially against their most physical competition. Outside of
Owens, Andrew Zimmerman (whose playing time has diminished), and maybe Huestis,
there isn’t much ‘beef’ in the rebounding component of this Stanford
Powell and Brown still look light, Stefan Nastic is crafty but is
also still pushed around by meatier competition, and John Gage - while dangerous
from the outside offensively - hasn’t yet developed the strength to clear space
on the interior.
When the home crowd has been behind them, Stanford has
been able to neutralize their strength disadvantage. But on the road against
Washington and Cal, the lack of muscle has cost Stanford.
they were tormented by the 6-6, 258-pound rock that is also a football tight
end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who grabbed seven rebounds and bulldozed bodies in
just 16 minutes of play.
Sunday, 6-8, 245-pound Harper Kamp teamed up
with 6-10, 250-pound truck Robert Thurman to beef up and pound the Cardinal down
the stretch in Berkeley.
Both times, the results were not pretty, both on
in the rebounding stat sheet and on the final scoreboard. Cal coach Mike Montgomery did a good job forcing Stanford out of rebounding position by
spreading out his offense in the second half, but the Cardinal will still have
to make a commitment re-establishing their physical presence on the glass to
attain elite status in the Pac-12 conference.
Incoming 6’9 (and still
growing) center Grant Verhoeven (Visalia, CA) should provide a much needed
reinforcement next year. David will go check out his high school game
for The Bootleg on Friday and report back. Until he arrives in Palo Alto,
though, Stanford will have to find other ways to repair its consecutive poor
rebounding performances. They’ll hope that Maples Pavilion will help matters.
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