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,

-Visit 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 Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)