NCAA: Stanford’s Randle gets chance to play closer to home

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Second round NCAA tournament action tips off Friday afternoon at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

(ST. LOUIS/KTVI) The Stanford basketball team didn’t have a billboard waiting for it in St. Louis like Wichita State did, or hordes of fans from neighboring states like Kansas, Kentucky and Kansas State will at the Scottrade Center for second and third round NCAA basketball tournament action. But the 10th seeded Cardinal will have about 30 people in the stands rooting for at least one of their own.

Stanford junior guard Chasson Randle, who hails from Rock Island, IL (roughly four hours from St. Louis) is a starter for the Cardinal getting ready to take on the 7th seeded New Mexico Lobos Friday.

Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins said his team would not be here without a turnaround year from Randle, who averaged 18.7 points a game this year as the team went from a three guard approach last season to a two guard setup in 2013-2104.

“I think he’s had a great year and I think deserving of First Team All-PAC 12 recognition. I am more proud of him because of how he responded after last season. You know, he had a really difficult sophomore year and it really kind of shows who you are, the following season,” Dawkins said. “He made the adjustments necessary. He grew his game, and now he has had a fantastic year for us.”

Randle’s play and maturity have had the attention of Lobos Head Coach Craig Neal for several years, dating back to Neal’s tenure on the Iowa Hawkeye staff. “He can do a lot of things. He can put it on the floor, he can shoot the ball well. And he’s become a really, really good leader for their team,” Neal said. I really like how he plays and he will be a key matchup for us.”