Summarized by Kent Larsen
Madsen On No. 1 Team After Stanford Win, Cincinnati Loss
Chicago Tribune 21Feb00 S2
By Andrew Bagnato: College Basketball Writer
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- LDS basketball player Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen is
part of a major change to the Stanford Cardinal basketball team,
which moved into the No. 1 slot in this weekend's AP poll.
Historically, the Cardinals haven't been a major force in college
basketball; the team didn't even play in the NCAA tournament between
1942 and 1989. But now the team has earned respect, and may finish
the season ranked No. 1.
The 22-1 Cardinals are now ranked first after the previous No.1
Cincinnati lost on Sunday and the Cardinals blew-out archrival Cal
101-50. The team has gained so much admiration, that even opponents
think they will take it all, "I think Stanford has a chance to win
the whole thing," said Washington State coach Paul Graham.
Madsen is clearly one of the stars on the team. An All-America
candidate at power forward, Madsen's intense play has earned him the
nickname "Mad Dog" on the court, but umpires, coaches and opponents
alike have made clear that he is anything but mad off the court. He
is a returned missionary.
But much of the credit for Stanford's resurgence goes to coach Mike
Montgomery, who built Stanford's program in spite of the school's
unwillingness to bend academic standards to admit great basketball
players. Montgomery says that keeping up the academic standards has
attracted certain students to the program, "We're better in
basketball and kids look at it as a place to go, that they can play
in the NCAA tournament, play in the NBA. And if they're good enough
students to begin with, why would you not want to have this education
if the other things are all intact?"
But in spite of his successes in the past few years, Montgomery
hasn't left the program for the multimillion dollar offers that have
been put on the table, many of which would allow him to pay more
attention to the basketball of recruits than their grades and SAT
scores. Madsen says he's not surprised, "I was not surprised
Montgomery stayed. He had all kinds of offers--multimillion dollar
offers. He has a great situation that he's built. Why would he leave?
What could be better?"
And Montgomery doesn't have to worry about his players in many other
respects, because of the standards, "Montgomery is among the few head
coaches in Division I-A who doesn't flinch if he turns to the police
blotter in the newspaper," says CNNSI reporter Bagnato. He notes that
every one of Montgomery's players has graduated.
Madsen credit's Montgomery with having his priorities in the right
playce, "He's got a tremendous amount of balance in his life, and he
encourages us to have balance in our lives," said Madsen. "He wants
us to be students. He wants us to experience things away from