Sports

Randle seemingly was destined to be great for Stanford

 

NEW YORK -- Prior to his much-ballyhooed arrival in Silicon Valley, before he ever strolled the Main Quad of Stanford's tree-lined campus, Chasson Randle was in rarefied air.

As a high-school senior in 2010-11, the native of Rock Island, Ill., shared the state's Mr. Basketball honors with Connecticut-bound Ryan Boatright. In doing so, Randle joined hoops royalty in the Land of Lincoln, as previous winners of the award include Nick Anderson, Kevin Garnett, Darius Miles, Shaun Livingston, and Derrick Rose.

Four years later, Cardinal fans have discovered that the company a man keeps says a lot about him.

On Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, Randle became Stanford's all-time leading scorer, surpassing Todd Lichti, with 24 points in a 67-60 victory over Old Dominion in a Postseason National Invitation Tournament semifinal.

Randle made history from the free-throw line with 33.3 seconds left in the first half. His 2,350 points rank third in the Pac-12 record book behind only the totals of UCLA's Don MacLean (2,608) and Arizona's Sean Elliott (2,555). Lichti tallied 2,336.

"It wasn't just me who got me here," said Randle. "A lot of my teammates, family, coaches, everybody helped me get here, starting back at Rock Island. At Stanford, Coach (Johnny) Dawkins pushed me every single day, told me that you practice how you play. And he made sure that I was getting after it."

It only seems appropriate that Randle broke the record in such a hallowed arena, at what New Yawkers refer to as The Mecca.

"He'll always remember this for the rest of his life," Dawkins said of Randle. "But having done it at the Garden in front of a terrific crowd, I think it means that much more to him."

"Stanford came out red-hot tonight," said Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones. "Chasson Randle was terrific, and down the stretch, he was the difference."

Randle came to Palo Alto as a four-star recruit from Rock Island, one of the Quad Cities along the Illinois-Iowa border. He was a straight-A student and the valedictorian of a class of 350. The African and African-American Studies major is set to graduate with both his bachelor's and master's degrees in four years.

At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Randle is projected to be a second-round pick in this June's NBA draft. And Dawkins, who knows a thing or two about what it takes to make it at the next level, is quick to attest to Randle's readiness.

"First of all, I think (the NBA) is getting a great competitor, a guy who has been shouldering the load," said Dawkins, the 1986 Naismith Player of the Year at Duke and nine-year veteran of the League. "When we've been down with injuries and different things that happened to our team throughout the season, he never once raised an eyebrow and said, 'That's too much for me to handle.' He accepted it, and I really respect that."

Randle's transition from the wing to the point this season has made him more of an attractive prospect.

"He's a winner," said Dawkins. "And I think he's a guy who can play multiple positions. You can play him on the ball as the lead guard, and you also can play him off the ball because he's such a good scorer. He brings versatility and depth to your backcourt. If I had a pick, I'd be taking him."

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