Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down

Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down
November 7, 2012, 8:15 pm
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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

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