Stanford's Randle chases school scoring record, title at NIT
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Chasson Randle has no problem saying it: The Stanford star believes he can score against anybody.
He has certainly proven prolific during an impressive four-year career that has Randle on the brink of becoming the Cardinal's career scoring leader.
He hopes to do it Tuesday night against Old Dominion in the NIT semifinals. Randle has a fairly simple explanation for his output, really.
''I just come in every single game focused. I'm always thinking attack when I'm out there on the floor,'' Randle said. ''I don't think anybody can guard me, in my head. I'm just always trying to stay aggressive.''
Now as a senior, he is leading Stanford (22-13) back to Madison Square Garden where Randle and the Cardinal captured the NIT championship in 2012 at the end of his freshman season. He's ready to leave quite a mark on Manhattan once more, needing only 11 points to become the school's all-time leading scorer.
Randle, with 2,326 points, passed Lew Alcindor - now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - (2,325) to become the Pac-12 Conference's fourth-leading scorer in Tuesday's NIT quarterfinal win against Vanderbilt. Up next is Todd Lichti's school record of 2,336, set in 1988-89.
Would he have envisioned closing in on this feat?
''Yes and no,'' Randle said. ''I have a lot of confidence in myself, but at the same time you never know what can happen in this game with injuries and things like that. I've been blessed, just very fortunate.''
A year ago, 10th-seeded Stanford stunned No. 2 seed Kansas in the second round during a surprising run to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. While Randle and his teammates would love to have made it back to the NCAAs, they are happy to still be playing for something - a message that coach Johnny Dawkins has regularly offered this month.
Randle scored 16 points against Vandy two days after a career-high 35-point performance in a second-round win against Rhode Island.
''They say scorers are born. I think with Chasson he just has an ability to put the ball in the basket,'' Dawkins said. ''I wouldn't say he's hungry to score but he's a guy when he goes out there, for all scorers, it's not just your ability to shoot jump shots. That's why it's hard for him to have a lot of really off nights because he can get to the basket, he can make plays, he can finish, and of course, he can knock down 3s. ... He capitalizes on everything you give him. You take away the 3, he's getting to the basket and finishing. You foul him, he's making his free throws. So he's hard to stop.''
A first-team all-Pac-12 selection, Randle averaged 19.3 points to lead Stanford.
His teammates know what it would mean to Randle to become Stanford's all-time points leader, especially given the long list of stars who have gone on to NBA careers.
''I think it's big he can do that in Madison Square Garden. That'd be great for him, just how hard he works every single day,'' teammate Anthony Brown said. ''He deserves it. He won the NIT as a freshman. It would be coincidental.''
Leading up to the NIT quarterfinals, Stanford's coaches showed some clips of the last NIT championship trip to New York, hoping it added some fuel for the players.
Randle won't need much motivating this time around.
''It's a great moment,'' Dawkins said. ''First of all, you're talking about a record that's been standing for a long time and it's still standing.''