In 2010, Johnny Dawkins knew he would only have a few players returning for the following year so he had to recruit heavily. He ended up with 6 recruits for the 2010-2011 year. The downside of heavy recruiting in college basketball is you probably can't afford to do the same year after year. That happened to Stanford in 2011 and ended up with only 1 recruit. That recruit was Chasson Randle. Randle was a universal 4-star recruit for every major recruiting site and you could tell from the beginning that he would be Johnny Dawkins favorite player.
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Chasson Randle graduated in June of 2011 and played his very first game at Stanford on 11/11/11. The number 1 would seem to foreshadow Randle's career on the farm. As Randle started right away as a true freshman, you could see something special was forming. He started every game but one that season and had only played one game where he didn't at least play half of the game. He was eating up minutes as a youngster and as the year went on, the points started to add up as well.
Randle led the team his freshman year in points scored and minutes (13.8/30.5) but it was his first appearance in the conference tournament that started to really get Stanford fans and the nation to see that there was a young kid out west who could be one of the special ones. Chasson had 30 points, 27 of which were in the 1st half and broke the record of 25 in a half by former Washington State Cougar and now Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson. Randle was 6-8 on 3-point shots and was 10-12 from the stripe. Stanford lost in the next round and didn't play well enough to make the NCAA Tournament but an NIT bid at the time was great for a group of underclassman who showed potential.
Randle scored 70 points in the NIT tournament and led the team with 15 points in the championship game that helped Stanford win its first NIT title since 1991. Kentucky ended up winning the National Championship that season but if you asked Chasson Randle, he felt like Stanford was #1 and that positive attitude would help him along with his teammates for the rest of his career.
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Chasson Randle was still not a household name going into his sophomore year but his early season game vs. a highly ranked Missouri team could change that. Randle did everything he could to try and upset Missouri but his 22 points were not good enough. That seemed to be the motto for Stanford in Randle's sophomore year as Stanford wasn't really good enough. Randle was scoring more points but it was the games that he didn't play well that hurt Stanford. Randle had 7 games his sophomore year where he scored in single digits and will probably still never get over his lone goose-egg against USC.
Chasson Randle had improved in some areas but being a leader, you have to get your team to a higher level and after a year removed from winning the NIT tourney, they not only failed to make the NCAA tourney but lost early in the NIT. It is Johnny Dawkins' fault for not getting his team to step up but that also falls on Randle. He had now played 2 full seasons at Stanford and was turning into a fan favorite. Chasson had bigger plans though than just being a fan favorite for a mediocre team.
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Entering his junior year, Chasson Randle was now entering the big leagues. He was on both conference and national watch lists. In the first 5 games of the season, Randle didn't disappoint. Randle averaged 21.8 points in those 5 games including a 33-point game vs. BYU on 11/11. Again, Randle was more than a good player to come to Stanford. He was turning into something special and other than his #5 jersey, he was trying his best to be #1. In late December, Randle played consecutive 40 minute games scoring 22 and 18 points. The first game was a road trip to the 10th ranked UCONN Huskies. Randle willed the team to an upset and began to give people a reason to believe in Stanford basketball again. Randle and company came up short against Michigan who ended up being an Elite 8 team but the team looked ready to compete against the big boys of college hoops and Randle was turning into the face of The Farm.
Stanford began to start winning games against better Pac-12 foes. Randle averaged 18 points a game his junior year and earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors. Chasson didn't just stop there. His conference tournament play netted him Pac-12 All-Tournament honors and although Stanford lost in the conference title game, they finally made the big dance. Of the 3 games Stanford played in the NCAA tournament, Randle sat out for 1 minute (There's that number again!). It's no coincidence either that Randle played one of his worst games at Stanford in the Sweet 16 loss vs. Dayton. Scoring 21 points was nice but doing it on 5-21 shooting was a killer. I mean he's not Russell Westbrook or James Harden. You don't get away with winning games and shooting at an insanely low percentage. Stanford and Randle had showed the college basketball world that Stanford was not a joke and Randle shortly after announced his return for his senior year.
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Entering his senior year, Randle was statistically in the running to be one of the all-time greats at Stanford. Starting the year on the preseason Wooden award watch for best overall college basketball player was a good start. Stanford played 3 ranked teams in the first 13 games and Stanford went 2-1 with the loss to Duke. Randle averaged 22 points in those 3 games with a perfect free throw percentage. On January 17th in front of a packed Maples Pavilion. Randle broke the school record of career 3-point shots.
Chasson began scoring at such a rapid pace his senior year that the all-time scoring record at Stanford was on the verge of being broken. Randle was averaging 20 points per game for the majority of the year and with an NIT berth, that record was in his grasp. Randle needed 80 points to pass Todd Lichti's school record and with 5 possible games remaining, it was very doable. In Stanford's 2nd round matchup vs. Rhode Island, Randle scored 35 points. With the 18 in the previous game and another victory, Randle was not only 27 points away from the record. With Stanford winning another game and moving into the NIT semifinals, Randle was 11 points away and Randle didn't waste any time. He broke the record in the first half and ended with 24 and a victory. With Randle's last game at Stanford win or loss for a championship, Randle was not going to let the team down. Stanford beat Miami 66-64 and Randle was again #1. Randle averaged 23 points per game and 25 in the title game. Randle was named Most Outstanding Player.
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Chasson Randle will leave Stanford as one of the best to play on the farm. He will leave with numerous school records in-hand. Chasson was in a recruiting class of 1 and finished on top; Well at least in the Stanford basketball way. Still, I don't want to rain on Chasson Randle's parade but where is he actually ranked as far as Stanford basketball goes? Randle was a very good player and a good leader who was probably overlooked because he played on the west coast and for a school not named Arizona, UCLA, or Gonzaga.
The point is with everything Randle did for Stanford, is he even in the top 10 all-time? Would Randle have sat the bench if he was 10 years older and played for the 2003-2004 team? I'm not downgrading you Chasson, in fact you are one of my favorites but is Stanford really losing a legend or just a very good basketball player who happens to be a school record holder in many categories. Remember, Jordan Williamson is the all-time scoring leader in football. Good luck in the NBA and we will miss you Chasson.
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