Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS RM Madsen Featured In USA Today
('Mad Dog' rules the Cardinal)
USA Today 9Mar00 S2
By David Leon Moore: USA Today
Madsen sets dutiful example for No. 3 Stanford
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA -- With 'March Madness' approaching and a major
game tonight between Stanford and Arizona, USA Today featured LDS
returned missionary and Stanford star Mark 'Mad Dog' Madsen in a
cover story that once again emphasized Madsen's unique mix of
aggressive play on court and off-court nice guy.
Author Moore attributes Madsen's success to simple hard work, a value
given to Madsen by his parents. The fifth child of 10, he saw his
father Duane, an investment banker, get up at 3 a.m. daily to start
work to support the family. And his parents provided him and his
siblings with plenty of work, each taking a share of the load of
running a large family, "We couldn't have made it with this big a
family," Duane says, "without the children doing a lot of the work."
Stanford's basketball team has been the beneficiary, as Mark has been
a major contributor to the team's success during the past three
seasons, where it has earned a Pac-10 championship, been rated No.1
nationally and made the Final Four in last year's NCAA championship.
Meanwhile, Madsen's off-court personality has turned him into one of
the most popular players in school history. At a recent auction of
his memorabilia by the Stanford boosters, the prices for his
memorabilia "went off the charts." writes Moore. Three game jersey's
went for $3,500 each and a visit from Madsen to a child's birthday
party went for $4,000. "I couldn't believe what people would pay for
one of his jerseys," says Madsen's mother, Erlyn. "I started to
think, 'Hey, I've got a lot of his clothes at home.' "
And the combination of his on-court play and off-court good nature
continues to earn him respect and admiration. "He's like this
warrior," says Arizona's stellar power forward, Michael Wright. "It's
a challenge to play him. If you're not ready, he's just going to
dominate you." Madsen and Wright were both at spring tryouts for
the NBA recently in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and there became
friends. However, given Madsen's on-court intensity, that likely will not
affect how either plays.
UCLA's coach Steve Lavin agrees, "He's the kind of
player that coaches die to have on their team. To me, he's the
classic example of a kid who plays smash-mouth basketball, knocks you
on your butt, then extends a hand to help you up, then comes right
back after you and smashes you to the floor again and then helps you
up again. That is really what the spirit of college athletics is
supposed to be about."
And his reputation has even affected his teammates. Not all of them
are willing to emulate his LDS lifestyle, they do try to match his
effort, leadership and on-court selflessness. Some even say that
these qualities are what have made Standord a national championship
Madsen keeps up his commitment even in practice, according to his
coach, Mike Montgomery. But teammate senior guard Alex Gelbard says.
"I think practice is maybe where he has his biggest impact. You
better bring your elbow pads and your mouthpiece, because Mark is
coming to PLAY." And this respect comes in spite of Madsen's belief
that he isn't a great talent, "I'm not a guy who can go out and make
a bunch of three-pointers," he says. "I'm not a great ballhandler. So
I feel that my contribution needs to come from hard work and being
focused on doing the little things, whether it's sealing off my man
for a post move or setting a screen."
Regardless, Montgomery says Madsen contributes in ways that don't
always lead to great statistics; his statistics don't quite measure
up to player of the year honors. "Whether Mark will get a lot of
postseason honors, I don't know, because people are always attached
to numbers," Montgomery says. "But I don't imagine anybody being any
more valuable to a team than Mark is to us in so many different ways."
But Madsen's off-court demeanor may be what gets him the most
admiration, "Off the court, Madsen's demeanor is like a preacher,"
writes Moore. "outgoing, kind, polite and earnest. On the court, he's
basically Dennis Rodman. OK, a nice, clean-cut Dennis Rodman ... who
will actually shoot."
This demeanor extends to his fellow players, where Madsen has had a
great impact, starting in the locker room. Out of respect for Madsen,
his fellow players have toned down the language in the locker room
from an "R" rating to a "PG" during the past couple years, "I have no
control over that," says Madsen, laughing. "I do know I'll walk in
some times, and all of a sudden stuff is getting censored. It's not
like I'd be offended or get mad, but I appreciate the effort the guys
make. It's not something I've asked them to do. It's just something
Teammate Gelbard says they wouldn't do that for just anyone. "Not
everyone embraces his views, but everybody respects them," Gelbard
says. "He's so eternally positive and optimistic that he might put
off people a little at first. But gradually, by sheer force of his
personality, he wears you down. It's hard to have an absolute,
unbended faith in anything. But he just believes what he does, and he
lives it every day and you have to admire that."
Outside of basketball, Madesn remains just as busy. He's co-president
of the LDSSA at Stanford and on the executive board of the NCAA's
student-advisory council. "He's not a guy who just goes home and
naps," Montgomery says. "He's involved."
Given this demeanor, the way he acts at home, his parents still
wonder at his on-court persona, "In reality, he's one of the most
loving, kind, patient people I've ever seen," Duane Madsen says. "He
doesn't have a lot of money now, but at Christmas or my birthday,
he'll write me long letters expressing his sentiments and how he
feels about me as a father. In many ways, he's more of a puppy dog
than a mad dog."
Power forwards: foes on court, friends off
(Tucson) AZ Daily Star 9Mar00 S2
By Bruce Pascoe: Arizona Daily Star