One week after watching freshman star Tyrell Terry get snatched up by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the NBA draft, Stanford will seek to continue to build upon the momentum the talented point guard helped create when the Cardinal host Utah Valley in a nonconference season opener on Wednesday afternoon.
Coming off their first 20-win season since 2014-15, the Cardinal return five of their top six scorers from a year ago -- all but Terry -- to mold with an impressive freshman class that includes five-star forward Ziaire Williams.
Stanford's top returner is junior forward Oscar da Silva, who earned All-Pac-12 Conference first-team honors last season while averaging 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.
da Silva is expected to be joined up front by Williams, a McDonald's All-American who was rated as the No. 6 overall recruit and No. 2 small forward this past season by Rivals.
While thrilled to have the likes of Williams and four-star recruit Michael O'Connell ready to join the mix, Stanford coach Jerod Haase begins the season most excited about his core of returning players.
"The first few years here there's been big changes in terms of personnel and/or in terms of style of play, just kind of trying to figure out how to put the pieces together," the fifth-year coach said. "I feel differently this year. I feel that we have a system in place. We really feel like we have a roadmap to success here."
Another returning Cardinal player on opening night will occupy a seat on the visitors' bench when Utah Valley coach Mark Madsen leads the Wolverines in his second season at the helm.
Madsen, who led Stanford into the 1998 Final Four before being a part of two NBA-championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers, will be seeking a rebound season after his first edition of Wolverines went just 11-19 last year.
Utah Valley, under Mark Pope, had won 25 games the year before.
The Western Athletic Conference member returns just three players, but Madsen has brought in 14 transfers, headed by junior center Fardaws Aimaq, who averaged 5.0 points and 5.3 rebounds as a part-time starter at Mercer in 2018-19.
The meeting will be the first between the programs, which is only one reason why Madsen is looking forward to it.
"There are a lot of things that will make it a great game," he said. "I'm most excited for our guys to play a great opponent. Jerod Haase is doing a phenomenal job at Stanford and they are projected to be one of the top teams in the Pac-12. On a personal note, I am excited. Going back will be special to me."
--Field Level Media