The last time we saw Dorian Pickens on the basketball court for a game in the state of Arizona, it was in one of the most memorable state championship games in the history of the state. A game in which he put it all out on the line for the Pinnacle Pioneers scoring 41 points and adding 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals though it results in a tough overtime loss to Corona del Sol.
Pickens left that day with his head held high and showed an eagerness to get back to work and get ready to begin his career at Stanford.
A year later, Pickens is just about through his freshman season with the Cardinal and reflects on how he has grown in the times separating his last high school game in town to his first college game in town.
“Really just maturity,” said Pickens. “I’ve really become a lot more mature since my last days in high school and graduation all the way up until now. Really just prioritizing and focusing on the things I need to do school-wise, basketball-wise and what I need to do to be successful. And have our team the most successful as well.”
Pickens reflected on what the biggest adjustment is on the basketball court that he has learned from high school to the college level.
“Coming from high school, your coming from guys who may or may not be into it, as well as the talent level,” he explained. “Obviously it’s a huge increase. You may have been the best guy on your high school team but you are entering a team who were the guys on their team in high school as well.”
While adjusting to the big step in competition on the basketball court, it might be an even bigger adjustment in the classroom. While Pinnacle is an A+ school in town and Pickens was a two-time first team All-Academic selection from Sports36oAZ.com, Stanford from an academic standpoint is still reserved for the best and brightest for a reason. Pickens has learned how to adjust to the rigors of being a student in Palo Alto.
“Time management,” stated Pickens. “With basketball it’s definitely difficult to balance that with the amount of time you have to spend on education, going to the library and studying, meeting with tudors and getting your work down on that side of things.”
Pickens has started for the Cardinal this season but has spent most of the time coming off the bench as role player for a team in the hunt for a NCAA Tournament appearance. Learning this role has allowed Pickens to learn a great deal from his coaches and veteran members of his team.
“Coming off the bench and in practice just bringing energy,” mentioned Pickens. “Being live out there and being open to learn new things. Learning from the older guys every day. You know, Anthony Brown, Chasson Randle, Stefan Nastic, guys like that. Taking everything I can day-by-day, competing and you know, just going for it.”
“Dorian is going to be a terrific player in our program,” said Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. “He’s a freshman, he’s learning a lot. But I see improvement in him. We like his future in our program.”
The Cardinal fell to Arizona State on Friday night in a game where fellow Cardinal freshman returning home for the first time, former Sunnyslope Viking star Michael Humphrey went down with an ankle injury. Humphrey had been stating in the front court of late for the team and his injury is a big blow not just to him, but his team.
Stanford will look to bounce back to add a big resume building win in Tucson on Saturday to close out the 2014-15 regular season.