Stanford’s second Postseason NIT title in four season this past spring also marked the end of an era in Palo Alto. Seniors Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic all played their final game in a Stanford uniform that March night in New York City, meaning that Johnny Dawkins has some large holes to fill within his 2015-16 rotation.
With that being the case, it’s probably a good thing that the Cardinal can take an overseas trip this summer. The NCAA allows teams to do so once every four years, and with Stanford’s most recent trip coming in 2011 they’ll be hitting the road next month. Stanford’s headed to Italy, where they’ll play six games against Italian pro teams (two play in Lega Basket Serie A, and two others play in Serie A2) between August 25 and September 2.
Prior to leaving the country they’ll spend some time sightseeing and practicing in Washington, D.C.
“Our foreign tour to Italy will be an amazing cultural and team-building experience,” Dawkins said in the release. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the art and culture of ancient Rome, Florence and Venice. This will help us improve on the court as we get the chance to compete against other teams, in addition to off the court, as we strengthen our bonds as friends and teammates.”
Those exhibitions should be valuable for a team looking to determine primary scoring options after losing their top three scorers to the professional ranks. Among the players who will be asked to contribute more are redshirt junior forward Rosco Allen (7.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), junior guard Marcus Allen (6.4, 3.5) and sophomores Michael Humphrey, Reid Travis and Robert Cartwright.
The group that will now be sophomores, which includes shooting guard Dorian Pickens, will figure more prominently in the Stanford attack than they did last season with Travis and Humphrey (who both missed time last season due to injury) being the most likely breakout candidates. Add in a three-member recruiting class led by four-star center Josh Sharma, and Stanford won’t lack for young talent.
The question is which player(s) emerge as leaders for this group, and that’s something that can be determined during Stanford’s trip to Italy.