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Entry No. 8: The Mad Dog Has a Presence in Spain
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 09/14/2011

Sept. 14, 2011

Spain Previews: Players | Dawkins | San Francisco Chronicle | San Jose Mercury News

My Foreign Trip Experience: Goods | Borchardt

No. 1: Cardinal Arrives In Spain
No. 2: Royal Palace, Evening Scrimmage
No. 3: Museo del Prado, Real Madrid Game
No. 4: Day Trip To University of Murcia
No. 5: Final Day in Alicante, Off To Barcelona
No. 6: Stanford Nearly Knocks Off Assignia Manresa
No. 7: Cardinal Hangs Tough Versus FC Barcelona Regal

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Photo Gallery: Cambrils Beach Stop, Manresa Game

Photo Gallery: Stanford vs. FC Barcelona Regal

Photo Gallery: La Sagrada Familia

Photo Gallery: Practice At FC Barcelona Arena

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BARCELONA- Joining Stanford on its six-game, 11-day trip to Spain was a familiar face and perhaps the perfect role model for a young Cardinal squad looking to incorporate toughness and hard work as part of its identity.

One of the most iconic and inspirational players in program history, two-time All-American and 1998 NCAA Tournament Final Four anchor Mark Madsen packed his bags for Spain as a guest of the program. Invited to join the Cardinal in Spain by the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men's Basketball Johnny Dawkins, the "Mad Dog" received a first-hand look at this year's Cardinal squad.

Always energetic but still as competitive as ever, Madsen is back on campus these days, entering his second season pursuing his MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The nine-year NBA veteran and two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Madsen is a candidate to graduate in 2012.

Willing to assist the travel party in Spain with everything from rebounding during shooting drills to loading the team bus, Madsen tagged along for the cultural experience (no, he did not dance the Flamenco) and offered a few takeaways on the trip. It's been a blast for the guys to have you around over the last 10 days.
Madsen: "I think getting to know the players on this team has been a huge highlight of this trip for me, personally. Whereas I basically knew all of them already, there's a stronger bond there now. We're all students. They're undergrads and I'm a graduate student, so there is a familiarity there. There is a relationship. They remind me what it's like to be an undergrad and I'm able to share my experience at the graduate level." Head coach Johnny Dawkins and his staff have made a concerted effort to connect with alumni. Whether it's Adam Keefe having the team over for dinner in L.A., Brevin Knight speaking to the team or guys like Josh Childress, Landry Fields and Robin Lopez stopping by practice, alumni of the program are always welcomed back.
Madsen: "I think when Johnny arrived in 2008 that was one of his points of emphasis. I think Coach Dawkins has done a great job of keeping alumni involved and really having an open door policy, as far as that goes. When anyone comes back, they are welcome with opened arms, embraced by the staff and made to feel part of the Stanford basketball family. I think Johnny has done a great job of bridging the gap between the different eras, and that includes pre-Montgomery players. Again, it's a warm embrace, a feeling of family. It's a sense of `this is our home and we are all here together." This was such a valuable trip for this team. Especially with a young squad looking to establish an identity, getting the opportunity to square off against some of the best competition in the world. What did you think?
Madsen: "I look at the fact that we just played against six professional level teams, two of which, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona Regal, have beaten NBA squads. We were leading the game against Real Madrid. Now they might not have had their full complement of players, but, hey, the bottom line is our guys competed at the pro level against some of the best athletes in the world. So from that standpoint, it was quite inspirational to see. It was an opportunity for them to use their craft and their skills against those pro players. But it also was an opportunity to learn from these pro players at the international level, because have a lot of tricks and those guys were definitely looking to beat us. For these teams, it's a must-win situation because it's the start of their preseason. These teams were looking to make a statement and hit us with their best punch. We fought them blow for blow and played them really tough." How important is a trip like this in regards to developing chemistry?
Madsen: "Based on what I saw in the games, and it was only six games, this was a group that came together and really learned how to play with each other. The word chemistry is a common word in sports and we all hear it. I really think a lot of chemistry was developed on this trip, not only on the court but also off the court. Both are important. When I look back at my time with the Lakers, during some of those years when we were really winning, we would have team dinners that everyone attended. Even during the playoffs. Of course, guys were busy with outside commitments at times but still made it a point to build that bond and interact with each other. So I really think having that chemistry will be huge for us this season." On a personal note, it must have been nice for you to return to Spain (Madsen spent two years in Spain on a mission after high school).
Madsen: "It's funny, because as we were in Barcelona, I started counting the number of times I had been to Spain. I've traveled internationally but not extensively. And I realized this was my fifth time coming to Spain. I came here before my mission; my parents brought the whole family out here for a vacation. Three weeks after that, I learned that I would be coming on my mission to Spain. Then I came over here with a college basketball team, a USA team, and I also visited here with some friends a few years ago. So now it's my fifth time. I just feel lucky and fortunate that Stanford decided to invite me along. That I'm part of the Stanford family and was able to return to a special country that has meaning for me personally. I was in a gift shop and I realized that in all my prior trips to Spain, I've never really bought any souvenirs. So I bought six framed replica paintings of Southern Spain where I lived. Being able to be here as a part of the Stanford program, with the players and coaches, it just made for a very memorable trip. I feel very fortunate to be part of the Stanford basketball family."



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