By Cuyler Meade
A couple of Arizona products playing at Stanford made a big jump last year, according to former Cardinal star, now Fox Sports 1 and Pac-12 Network basketball analyst Casey Jacobsen.
Pinnacle High product Dorian Pickens and Sunnyslope grad Michael Humphrey finished their sophomore seasons this spring and for the most part did just what Jacobsen said they needed to do as they continue to learn the ropes of the Pac-12 and the college lifestyle, in general.
“The most important year of your college career is from your freshman to your sophomore year,” Jacobsen told Sports360AZ.com. “It’s when you grow the most. Every freshman, even the elite freshmen, don’t have a clue about what’s going on. They’ve never eaten healthy before. They’ve never had time management problems, where they have to go to class and they have to be in practice on time and a weight program. So your head’s spinning your freshman year. The sophomore year is where you see the most growth.”
Jacobsen said that, especially for Pickens, that growth was dramatic.
“That’s what we saw from Dorian Pickens,” he said. “He actually had the largest increase in points per game from last year to this year of any player in the Pac-12. He averaged two points per game as a freshman, but this year he averaged over 12, so he increased it by 10 points per game.”
However, Jacobsen said there was one element in Pickens’ game that still needs improvement.
“Here’s my thing with Dorian,” Jacobsen said. “I like him as a player, but his best attribute is his ability to shoot the 3. Well, he’s only 36 percent his freshman year and his sophomore year from three. If he’s going to be a great shooter, he’s got to be more consistent, take better looks. If he doesn’t shoot 40 percent from three next year, I’ll be very surprised.”
Humphrey, meanwhile, has shown he’s got a chance to be something special for the Cardinal, but has an area of improvement he needs to make going into his junior year as well.
“Michael Humphrey is a guy that Stanford needs,” Jacobsen said. “A rebounder, a shot blocker. He needs to get stronger, but I liked what I saw at the end of the year.”