Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down


Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down

Let's start with the headliner: Stanford Center Stefan Nastic sustained a concussion Saturday in practice when he took an inadvertent blow to the head. He missed Sunday's exhibition game and has not practiced since. More tests were done Tuesday - no word yet on those results. Nastic is questionable for Friday's season opener against USF...I think Stef is one of the real X-factors on this team. He will be the only "true center" among the upperclassmen, and while we will undoubtedly see a lot of Dwight Powell and John Gage at the "5," Nastic gives Stanford a different element at that position if he can stay healthy and productive...RELATED: Stanford roster Season schedule
Powell's shoulder tweak appears to be of the minor variety. He was banging with the big boys at practice Tuesday...Speaking of banging, you only need to watch about 5 minutes of practice to notice the Mark Madsen influence on this team. His energy is infectious, and the players are really responding. A palpable difference from seasons past...Aaron Bright is embracing his role as co-captain. He is far and away the most vocal player on the court...This team takes its commitment to defense seriously. The players are buying into that philosophy - a philosophy that won them an NIT championship last season. Every time somebody takes a charge in practice, the entire squad applauds and gathers around the guy with his butt on the floor...A season in the weight room has done wonders for several Cardinal, most notably Gage, Josh Huestis, and... Gabe Harris. Yes, the smallish guard looks substantially thicker, and appears poised to take over the Jarrett Mann role of defensive stopperbackup ballhandler - but with at least the threat of knocking down an outside shot. Harris is showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him most of last season...Ditto for Andy Brown, who says he feels great. Not sure how much PT Brown will receive, but he will be a fan favorite when he gets onto the floor...Elliot Bullock is back from his Mormon mission - bigger and balder. The 6-11 FC and walkon F Jack Ryan will redshirt this season...That's not the case for any of Stanford's three true freshmen, at least for now. Coach Dawkins told me has has no immediate plans to redshirt Roscoe Allen, Grant Verhoeven, or Christian Sanders...Verhoeven will likely get the most run of the three freshmen out of the gate. He has some bulk on him and at 6-9, and can provide quality low-post depth. Verhoeven is also a gym rat who has NBA pedigree - his father Pete played six years in the league. Grant has a nose for the ball around the basket, and don't sleep on him as an outside threat - he spent quite some time after practice stroking straightaway threes. My guess is he'll hit more than one of those as a "trailer" this season...I'm not sure how much Allen and Sanders will play early on, with all the talent ahead of them. Allen clearly has a feel for the game, and is not as rail thin as I would've thought from his high school footage. Sanders showed great form in hitting a long jump shot during Sunday's exhibition...Anthony Brown changed his jersey number from 3 to 21. He bolted for class before I had a chance to ask him about it, but word on the street is he just wanted a "fresh start." Only connection I can see is 21=3. And no, I didn't burn too many brain cells coming up with that..Nothing to report on Chasson Randle, other than he is still Chasson Randle. Best player on the floor...Special guest observer at practice Tuesday: Joe Morgan. His daughter, you might know, is a gymnast at Stanford. Joe likes to check in on the hoopsters when he is on campus.AP Images

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe


Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof


The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.