On the Stanford front, Dick Weiss cautions Johnny Dawkins that Stanford isn't Duke. Nothing personal, Hoops, but that's generally understood. The formula Mike Montgomery worked to near perfection at Stanford, with an emphasis on powerful inside players is pretty much the opposite of the Duke emphasis on quickness and athleticism.
That said, before Duke was recruiting at an elite level, they were brilliant at finding guys who were good athletes and good students, but not necessarily the McDonald's All-Americans. Dawkins was, of course, but Duke also got tremendous careers out of Robert Brickey, Billy King, John Smith, Thomas Hill, and a number of other guys who weren't sure-fire stars. There's no reason to think, particularly given the population base of California, the Pacific Northwest, and the nearby Southwest, that Dawkins can't find enough teachable athletes to make Stanford fairly electrifiying. If Davidson can find them, surely Stanford can.
Still, there is a sense, mostly from Stanford which is fair, really, since they know their situation better than Duke people do, that he's going to have to prove that he can get it done there, that Stanford is very different than Duke.
We're sure that's true in many respects. Montgomery used to delight in needling Duke for being more lenient academically than Stanford, and it is tougher to get through Stanford admissions department.
It may not be as simple as that, though. As this column from the Redwood City paper points out, Duke basketball gets more funding than Stanford does. At least we assume they are referring to basketball since the figures cited are $1.6 million for Duke and $900,000 for Stanford.
However, Stanford has a huge advantage in that they have endowed all their scholarships. If you figure, conservatively, that Duke uses thirteen scholarships at $43,115, then scholarship costs, at $646,725, pretty much eat up the difference.
The suggestion that "the Blue Devils run the show" in Durham is not exactly accurate. The basketball team has earned a lot of respect over the years, and Mike Krzyzewski gets some leeway with admissions because he's built up a history and some credibility. If he thinks a guy can get it done, he often gets the benefit of the doubt if it's close.
In a broader sense, though, it's not true. The impression that basketball gets whatever it wants is just not true. If that were the case, they would have had a practice facility built a long time ago, among other things. It's just one more case of perception overruling reality.
There are two wild cards in all of this: first, who Johnny hires. He'll need a birddog familiar with the West, and guys who know where to find players who are good academically and athletically. It's a small pool, needless to say, and Duke, Notre Dame, Davidson, and a few other schools already have their lines in the water.
And secondly, Johnny's personality. Somewhat like his predecessor, he's a bit reserved publicly. Away from the crowd, though, he can come across as youthful, exuberant, almost impish at times. He is a very charming guy, and it's not an act: Dawkins is, quite simply, a decent fellow and a guy who is immensely likable. The book on him has long been that he doesn't much like recruiting, but if Lefty Driesell was right when he said you have to recruit the mother, too, well, Dawkins is a very hard guy to dislike.