Tuesday, January 29, 2013
How Gage's big game impacts Stanford
By Joe Kaiser
One of the biggest stories to come out of Stanford's stunning 31-point win in Utah over the weekend was the career-high 19 points out of junior forward John Gage, a deep reserve for most of his career in Palo Alto. How might the stretch 4's breakout performance change the Cardinal's approach going forward?
Gage has really come on over the last three games, a stretch against California, Colorado and Utah where he has averaged 18 minutes a game and connected on 9-of-10 shots from 3-point range. That new-found 3-point presence is key, because the deep ball has been a real weakness for the Cardinal this season as the promising backcourt combo of Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright have uncharacteristically struggled, both shooting under 28 percent.
At 6-foot-10, Gage is fairly one-dimensional. Stretching the floor with his perimeter shooting is his greatest strength. But as long as he's in a groove, look for Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins to go to him more -- probably at the expense of senior starter Andy Brown and ESPN 100 freshman Rosco Allen -- for the foreseeable future.
Just speculating here, but one possibility would be using Gage in the starting lineup alongside Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis on the frontline. That'd add more size and offense to the floor, enable Brown to provide his energy off the bench, and space things out for Powell to operate closer to the basket.