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For week ended February 27, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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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 basketball."


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