National attention won't overshadow Randle's goal

Originally Posted Online: March 26, 2014, 7:42 pm
Last Updated: March 27, 2014, 12:05 am
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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

-Visit QCOnline.com/multimedia for a video interview with Chasson Randle from the South Regional.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Even though he has yet to create a Twitter account, Stanford junior guard Chasson Randle still knew Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was tweeting about him a few days earlier.

"I was pretty excited," Randle said.

Does that mean Randle will get a Twitter handle?

"Nah," Randle said with a laugh.

The focus squarely remains on winning.

Since the 10th-seeded Cardinal crashed the Sweet 16 party with an upset win over second-seeded Kansas on Sunday, Randle, the 2011 Rock Island graduate, has been all over the national media spectrum. Sherman's tweet about him certainly helped spark interest, but so has his play in the NCAA tournament.

"An awesome feeling just to have an opportunity to keep playing basketball ... and get a little notoriety," Randle said on Wednesday afternoon. "Pretty cool"

A few minutes before chatting with the media prior to practice, Randle concluded a radio interview on the "Jim Rome Show." National writers have labeled him one of the top remaining players in the field, giving him some attention that sometimes is absent because of playing late-night games on the West Coast.

In helping Stanford advance to today's South Regional semifinal against 11th-seeded Dayton at the FedEx Forum, he has averaged 18.5 points and played all 80 minutes.

His performance in wins over New Mexico and Kansas put Randle in the national spotlight and under the microscope. Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said the attention is deserved.

"He's handled it very well," Dawkins said. "He's been one of our leaders and one of our best players the entire season. The rest of the world is having an opportunity to see why I'm so excited about Chasson and his future."

Randle, who said last week he will return for his senior season, is embracing this moment, but not letting it become a distraction. Other than a couple of brief smiles during a five-minute interview session, he remained focused and determined.

Once he hit the court for practice, the competitive drive took over during some drills. With all eyes now watching, he knows he cannot slack.

"It's a little extra motivation to keep doing what I've been doing and keep playing well," Randle said.

Forgotten in all this is Randle's rebound season, a consistent stretch that has him averaging 18.7 points per game. That is an increase of more than five points from his sophomore season.

"Unlike a lot of players, he didn't make excuses," Dawkins said. "He used the fact that he had a bad season to grow, and that's what this game is about. I'll always remember Chasson as a young man who has great character because what he did was realize he needed to improve.

"He came in with a resolve, and he's really helped lead us to where we are today."

All the interviews and soundbites are proof that he raised his game to become an elite collegiate player.

"It's a credit to all the hard work I've put in and my teammates have put in," Randle said.

Playing in the Sweet 16 is the reward.

"Winning is fun," Randle said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."

Right now, advancing is all that matters.

"All I'm doing is focusing on basketball," Randle said. "I'm still trying to win a championship here."


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)