Published January 30, 2017
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) New coach Jerod Haase will have plenty of time to bond with his new Stanford team if he hasn't done so fully already while working in recent months to develop a new culture on campus. The Cardinal are headed to China, where they will open the season against Harvard in Shanghai on Nov. 11.
This is the second straight year a Pac-12 team has opened the season in China.
''It's pretty crazy. I've never been to China. It's pretty amazing where basketball can take you,'' Stanford senior guard Marcus Allen said. ''Playing Harvard, playing one game. Anxious to get there and I'm ready to play.''
Washington beat Texas in the first regular-season basketball game played in China.
So far, Haase has focused much attention on teaching fundamentals.
''It's been a whirlwind of close to six months for me and the staff but it's been a ton of fun,'' Haase said. ''I feel like every day we learn something new about the culture of Stanford, processes around Stanford and the people around Stanford. Every day we leave here a little more impressed with the place.''
Here are some things to watch for as Stanford begins a new era under Haase :
IMPROVED HEALTH: Junior starting forward Reid Travis missed the final 22 games last season with an injured left leg, a blow to the Cardinal's starting lineup. Guard Robert Cartwright, a projected starter last fall, was sidelined all of last season with a compound fracture in his right arm sustained in early November.
Now, Travis will start fresh after scoring 12.8 points and grabbing 7.1 rebounds before his injury last season. He also was shooting a team-best 55.7 percent from the field.
''At this point the team is very healthy,'' Haase said.
NAVY SEALS TRAINING: When his players had returned from summer and before classes began, Haase took his team to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days back in September to go through Navy Seals-type training. It involves team bonding, leadership skills and fitness combined into one preseason regimen.
''It was a great time but it was very tough,'' Marcus Allen said. ''It did challenge your willpower, both mentally and physically.''
These grueling classes have gone mainstream for college teams in recent seasons, with Stanford doing a similar camp three years ago.
''It was something I think our guys got a lot of value out of,'' Haase said. ''It's something that tries to put them in tough situations but more importantly at the end of the day try to put them in situations where they're learning lessons about teamwork and leadership.''
BROTHERLY LOVE: Twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen will cherish their final season together, with Marcus a senior and Malcolm a junior after he sat out his sophomore season on a medical redshirt with a broken wrist.
Malcolm is ''the jokester,'' according to his brother. ''I'm more laid back. I'm not as out there as Malcolm.''
As far as who wins 1-on-1, Marcus says it depends on the day and they tend to take turns beating each other.
SCORING THREATS: Haase hasn't gone through all the game film from last season, rather just watching small clips as needed. He has a decent idea about his team, and much of the work so far has been getting back to the basics of strong fundamentals.
He wants to have an up-tempo offense that shares the ball, moves it and looks for the best shot.
''One of our biggest question marks is our ability to shoot the basketball. We do have a lot of capable shooters. We need to put them into positions and really emphasize quality shots,'' Haase said. ''We're just trying to take baby steps every day but really build a strong, strong foundation.''
STANFORD SUPPORT SYSTEM: Haase knew Stanford was a special place, but he has been thrilled with the support of other coaches on campus - including Hall of Fame women's coach Tara VanDerveer and football coach David Shaw.
''Tara is a rock star. Her commitment to our program is just great,'' Haase said. ''Coach Shaw has been great.''
He will certainly lean on them both. Haase knows it will take time for the Cardinal to become a regular contender again. Stanford advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Tournament under former coach Johnny Dawkins and NIT championships after the 2012 and `15 seasons.