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From Beyond The Arc: Stanford MBB 2023 Preview

This team is a puzzle, and can they solve themselves?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 26 Washington at Stanford Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stanford men’s basketball (and football) are on unfamiliar turf in challenging times. The world of revenue-generating sports cares not a tinker’s cuss about academic excellence, which is the forte of the Stanford Cardinal. In the age of NIL and rabid transfer portal movement, the Cardinal is ill-equipped to keep up with the rest of the Pac-12 and the impending era of the super conference. It is in this light that we must view Stanford’s 2022-23 season and preview 23-24.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 26 Washington at Stanford
Head coach Jerod Haase
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stanford head coach Jerod Haase is entering his eighth season with the Cardinal. Last season, Stanford finished 14-19 (7-13 Pac-12, 10th). Haase has led the Cardinal to the postseason once, to the 2018 NIT. Unfortunately, his best chance thus far to see NCAA tournament action came in 2020 when Stanford finished 20-12, only to have the NCAA tournament cancelled. In the three seasons since, Stanford has only finished with 14 or 16 wins, and there doesn’t appear to be much that can be done to radically reverse that trend and bring the Cardinal to the glory days of the 1990’s, 2000’s, and early 2010’s.

In the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament, #10 Stanford was able to upset #7 Utah in the first round, but could not get past #2 Arizona in the second round, and their season ended sooner than they would have liked.

When looking at Stanford’s team statistics, curiosities appear. What I mean is that when Stanford’s team categories are compared to their opponents, Stanford generally comes out on top. Take a look at what I mean:

Stanford vs. Opponents Stats

Stanford .452 .363 .694 1137 490 413 106 70.3
Opponents .443 .354 .731 1041 415 400 90 68.4

So why does Stanford win only 14 and lose 19?

An examination of the final scores tells us why. I won’t go into the numbers, but what happens is that Stanford wins by a greater point difference than they lose. Coach Haase is a smart coach, he must know this, and it I’m sure it eats at him. At the same time, improvement is not an unsolvable problem.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 03 Washington State at Stanford
Spencer Jones
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stanford’s leading starter and scorer was 6-7 Sr. F Spencer Jones. Jones averaged 29.0 MPG (the most on the Cardinal), 14.1 PPG, and 4.7 RPG. He shot 43.3% from the field, 38.9% at ranger, and 74.6% from the stripe. He was a force on rebounds, collecting 4.7 per game, and led the team with 29 blocks.

6-7 So. F Harrison Ingram was the only other Cardinal to average double-digit points per game. Harrison averaged 10.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG game on 40.8% shooting from the field, 31.9% shooting from distance, and a meager 59.8% from the charity stripe.

Stanford returns three of their main starters for 23-24: Jones, 6-8 Sr. F Brandon Angel (3rd leading scorer last season), and 7-1 Jr. F Maxime Raynaud (who, unsurpsrisingly, led the team on total rebounds).

The Cardinal return nine of their 15 players from last year’s squad. Five players entered the transfer portal and left the team: 6-4 So. G Isa Silva (Long Beach State), 6-4 So. G Jarvis Moss (Davidson), 6-7 So. F Harrison Ingram (North Carolina), 6-2 Jr. G Michael O’Connell (NC State), and 6-9 R-Jr. F Neal Begovich (Duke).

Stanford brings in three youngsters to the class of 2023:

Andrej Stojakovic is a 6-7 Serbian-Greek G by way of Carmichael, CA. He is a McDonald’s All-American, and the third-ranked player in the state of California and fourth-ranked small forward in the country.

Kanaan Carlyle is a 6-3 G from Atlanta, GA. He is a consensus four-star, top-60 recruit. He was ranked No. 45 overall by ESPN and No. 50 by On3. He was a five star recruit at the time of his signing, ranked No. 15 overall by ESPN.

6-7 F Cameron Grant hails from Lakewood, OH. There is no immediate information available on Grant.

Aidan Cammann is a 6-10 F from Andover, Mass. He is a consensus three-star forward, rated as the No. 44 center prospect in the country (according to 247Sports).

Although transferring in to Stanford is difficult, it is not impossible. The Cardinal brings in this transfer:

NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

5-10 G Jared Bynum comes from Providence as a 5th-year graduate. Last season he was a starter for much of the season, averaging 10 PPG and 2.5 RPG. He shot 38.4% from the field, 31.9% from distance (but he’s capable of better), and 83.1% from the line.

Stanford will continue to be a puzzle in the upcoming season. If they can correct their inconsistency, they are capable of competing against the better teams in the Pac-12. But with the implosion of the Pac-12, do they have that resolve? This season will answer many questions about where the Cardinal is, and where they can be.