12 Stanford The Cardinal lost a lot, but a trip Down Under may help put it back on top

November 19, 2001

There are hostile arenas, then there's what Stanford found itself
in before the tip-off of a game against a New Zealand club team
in Hamilton, N.Z., during a five-game tour Down Under in June.
After player introductions the lights were turned off, whereupon
the arena filled with the sound of running feet. When the lights
came on again, the Cardinal players were face-to-face with about
60 Maori tribesmen dressed in skirts and war paint and
brandishing spears. "They were chanting and shaking their sticks
and making crazy faces," says junior guard Casey Jacobsen. "I
turned my head and started laughing because, honestly, I didn't
know what else to do. We found out later that the ritual was
billed in the program as The Challenge. Whatever it was, it
worked, because that was the only game we lost."

Jacobsen expects Stanford will do a better job of overcoming the
more conventional challenges it faces this season, including the
replacement of four starters from last year's 31-3 team. "I think
we're as talented as last year, we just aren't as experienced,"
says Jacobsen. "Remember, when I was a freshman, the team had
lost four starters from a Final Four team, and the one returning
starter, Mark Madsen, got hurt in the first game. But we still
did all right." In fact, the Cardinal started 12-0 and finished
27-4.

One player Stanford can't afford to lose to injury if it expects
to have that sort of success this year is the 6'6" Jacobsen, who
spent the off-season working on his ball handling and says he has
improved his game "100 percent" over last year, when he shot .472
from beyond the three-point line and was named a first-team
All-America. Another key is 7-foot, 230-pound junior center
Curtis Borchardt, who has blocked 61 shots (seventh best in
school history) in just 37 career games. He has missed 28 other
games because of a peculiarly perennial foot injury. In the 20th
game of his freshman year, against USC, Borchardt suffered a
stress fracture in his right foot and then did it again in the
20th game of his sophomore year, also against USC. "I've got to
get through a game against them, that's one of my goals," says
Borchardt, who's now recovered.

Of greater concern to coach Mike Montgomery is who will replace
Michael McDonald at point guard. The candidates are freshman
Chris Hernandez, fleet-footed junior Julius Barnes and senior
Tony Giovacchini, the least athletic of the trio, though the
likely starter. Working in the weight room this summer, he
increased his vertical leap by four inches, and recreating in New
Zealand, he increased his mental toughness by about 150 feet.
After, in his words, "wussing out" of joining six of his
teammates in bungee-jumping off the Kawarau Bridge, a 141-foot
drop and the shortest of three bungee jumps in a package deal,
Giovacchini went back to his hotel room and made a vow to
himself. The next night he went to the second-level jump alone
and took a 154-foot plunge off a cliff overlooking Queenstown. "I
had to show the guys the videotape to prove I did it," he says.
"It was really scary, but I proved to myself that I can take on
anything if I set my mind to it."

--Kelli Anderson

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Jacobsen, the first Stanford player to be named a first-team AP All-America, must be a driving force if the callow Cardinal is to succeed.

REPORT CARD

GRADUATION RATE: 100%
AVERAGE NUMBER OF WINS: 21.9
NCAA TOURNAMENT RECORD: 13-8
TRANSFERS: 3
MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICANS: 4
PLAYERS IN NBA: 4
COMMENT: What more can you say? Everybody graduates, police
blotter is clean, low number of transfers indicates players are
happy, and team has gone to NCAA tournament seven years in a
row--the last two as No. 1 seed--and went to Final Four in 1998.
Only quibble: four second-round losses in those seven NCAA
appearances.
GRADE: A

STARTING LINEUP

POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT

SF Josh Childress 6'8" Fr. 24.0 ppg*
PF Justin Davis 6'8" So. 51.4 FG%
C Curtis Borchardt 7'0" Jr. 6.4 ppg
SG Casey Jacobsen 6'6" Jr. 18.1 ppg[#]
PG Tony Giovacchini 6'2" Sr. 1.9 apg

2000-01 record: 31-3
Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 5
*As high school senior
[#]Returning starter

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)