Chasson Randle, the Class of 2015’s lone men’s basketball recruit, has comfortably settled into his starting role on the Pac-12 stage. This past summer, the 6-foot-1 guard from Rock Island, Ill., received numerous accolades from opposing teams’ coaches on the squad’s trip to Spain, and he has been an integral part of the Cardinal’s 15-5 start.
Statistically he has made an instant impact: he currently averages the second-most minutes on the team (30.1 per game, close behind sophomore Aaron Bright with 30.2), leads the team in steals (23), ranks second-best, again to Bright, in both assists (44) and three-pointers made (39) and has taken more shots than any of his teammates (190). In the team’s Jan. 7 quadruple-overtime 103-101 win over Oregon State, Randle was unstoppable; he led all players on the floor with 24 points, including the first five points in the fourth overtime and the game-clinching points with 37 seconds remaining.
Randle, a soft-spoken leader, recently sat down with The Stanford Daily to discuss his experiences donning a Cardinal jersey thus far.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): What drew you to Stanford over schools closer to home?
Chasson Randle (CR): Really I felt that I could get the best of both worlds, both academically and on the basketball court. And I have an opportunity to do something special here as far as basketball goes.
TSD: What do you mean by “something special”?
CR: Like win championships–Pac-12 championships. And make the Tournament and go far.
TSD: The team hasn’t gone to the NCAA Tournament in four years. What would a Tournament berth mean to you, as a freshman, and to the program as a whole?
CR: First of all, I think it would be a great accomplishment for the program, starting up a legacy that we want to build here again. And as a freshman, it would mean a lot because hopefully I can go all four years that I’m here and do something special while I’m here.
TSD: Before the school year had even started, you went to Spain with the team. Can you talk about the entire Spain trip experience?
CR: It was a great learning experience, playing against grown men over there–they were all in their late twenties and early thirties. It’s very physical over there. And also getting a chance to play with these guys, my teammates, and kind of learning how they play and learning about the coaches and how they coach, really becoming acclimated with everything as far as the basketball thing goes.
TSD: Was it lonely being the only freshman?
CR: During the summer it was a little bit. But my teammates all have helped me out, like Anthony [Brown] and those guys, they’re like my big brothers.
TSD: Now that you’re well into the conference season, what would you say has been the biggest difference between high school basketball and Pac-12 basketball?
CR: I’d say everyone is a lot quicker–from the big players, the fours and the fives, to the guards–everyone’s a lot quicker. And you have to think about the game a lot more at this level.
TSD: You’re the only freshman in the rotation right now, but you are getting the second-most minutes on the team and leading the team in shot attempts. How are you balancing being a freshman with being a team leader already?
CR: I feel like a leader, but really, I’m just trying to help my team out as best as I can, and grow as a player and person while I’m doing it. It’s been a great experience so far, and my teammates are finding me in the right spots, and I’m able to get shots off. And then, as far as the minutes go, I’m just thankful that my coaches believe in me, and so do my players.
TSD: What is Coach Dawkins instructing you to do when you get open looks?
CR: He’s not really telling me what to do–he’s just telling me to stay aggressive whenever I’m out there on the floor, just look to make plays, to help either myself or my teammates on both ends of the floor.
TSD: A couple of weeks ago, your team won a crazy four-overtime game at Oregon State, and you led everyone in scoring. What’s it like to play in a game like that and to come away with the win?
CR: Well, it was my first time in a four-overtime game. The atmosphere was crazy up there. It was very intense. Honestly, I felt like I could have kept playing. I wasn’t really tired. You just get caught up in the moment. But it was just a great game and to come out with the win, it means a lot for our team, and it showed that we have a lot of heart and character to stick things out when things get tough–especially on the road.
TSD: How are road games?
CR: [Laughs.] A lot more challenging than home games, I can tell you that. The other crowd, they get into it, the away team. A lot of [personal attacks], things like that. You have to be focused.
TSD: Up to this point, the team has struggled with turnovers and free throws. How do you see that turning around as the season progresses?
CR: Really, we’ve been working on that in practice a lot, and really just trying to correct that as best as we can. I think we’ll start seeing better results as we keep playing games.
TSD: What has been the highlight of your freshman experience thus far?
CR: Where should I start? It’s all been a great experience so far, but I have to say the first game that I played was a big moment for me, you know, starting as a freshman. And the game we played against Oregon State, just going into four overtimes, and the way everyone played, it was great for our team, and hopefully we can just build on that and keep playing good basketball.
TSD: Well, thanks for sitting down with me.
CR: No problem…thanks for talking to me.