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Catching Up With John Gage
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 02/20/2011

Feb. 20, 2011


STANFORD, Calif.- Freshman John Gage's recent success has been impressive considering his limited minutes. Prior to cracking the starting lineup for the first time in his career with a start against USC on Feb. 19, Gage had come off the bench in 14 games.

But over his last eight games, the 6-9 forward/center has emerged as one of Stanford's key contributors on offense. During that stretch, Gage is averaging 6.5 points in 13.1 minutes played while shooting 14-35 from beyond the arc.

Recently, www.gostanford.com caught up with Gage, one of Stanford's talented freshmen who figure to play a vital role in the coming seasons.

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As usual, the season flies by quick. Are you able to reflect on how things have gone so far in terms of the transition playing at the college level?

Gage: "Well, because I came from such a small school, the transition has been a pretty big one. Mostly the differences are size, strength and speed. For me, especially the strength of the other players has been so different. I feel like it has been a constant struggle for me to catch up with them and be more physical in the game. At the 1A level where I played, a lot of times if I was really physical, it would be a foul. But at this level, you constantly have to grind and push."

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Would you say it has been an equal adjustment off the court?

Gage: "You know, Stanford and my high school were very similar as far as the workload. At least with the classes I am taking right now. So that has actually been an easier transition, from that frame of mind. It has been essentially the same workload, using the same time management strategies as before to complete the work."

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Well, you are probably not the only one experiencing such a transition. Being part of a a highly-touted freshman class, have you all been able to help each other out along the way?

Gage: "We are young, especially as a group of six freshmen. We come in here not really knowing what's going on, but we all come in here not knowing what's going on. So we have really been a big support group for each other. As far as that goes, everyone is learning together and we all sort of go into it with the mindset that, `maybe we will screw up, but we will learn from it and learn from each other's mistakes."

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During the team's recent road trip to the Pacific Northwest, Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar was quoted in the Feb. 11 edition of the Seattle Times saying the following:

"If John Gage takes the garbage out, he's going to do it well. He'll put his his whole heart and soul into it. He's a very, very good shooter. He has good size and is going to get stronger."
That's high praise from another Pac-10 coach who recruited you out of Vashon Island High School. Is that how you would like to be known?

Gage: "Yeah, definitely. And I'm not quite that player yet. I still have a lot to work on. But that does sound like the type of player I want to become."

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Lately, your reputation has been that of a gifted shooter. In six of your last seven games, you've knocked down your first shot attempt of the game.

Gage: "The shots have been falling for me lately, which has been really nice. But now I really just need to focus on some of the other things, such as passing the ball better and rebounding the ball better for sure. Just being more physical in the post, on defense and even on offense."

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The extended playing time for you really started last month in a game at USC. You played 12 minutes in that game (at the time, a season-high total). You were 0-4 from the field in that contest, understandably a little rusty. Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to showcase your skills and it looked like you were disappointed with the effort.

Gage: "Yeah, well, I usually don't miss four in a row. And it was very frustrating I think because they weren't four contested shots. They were four wide-open shots. So, that was frustrating. But since that game, I have changed my shot a little bit. I've been bringing the ball closer to my body and that's really helped make my shot quicker and a lot smoother."

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Whatever adjustments you have made, they appear to be working. Despite only playing in 15 games and 131 minutes overall, your season average (pro-rated totals based on a 40-minute game) actually rank you as one of Stanford's most efficient players: 4.6 three-pointers per game (first), 18.0 points per game (second behind Jeremy Green's 19.7) and 5.8 field goals per game (third behind Josh Owens' 6.9 and Green's 6.6).

Gage: "I know that shooting the open three is an important part of my role for this team. And that's one of the main things I am out there doing. So I need to take those shots and I need to get open- that's how I can help my team the most. That's why I really focus on it, so I guess that's why I have been so effective."

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Finally, any insight on what area of study you might look to pursue in the classroom?

Gage: "I'm still looking at engineering for sure and also economics, because that's been really interesting for me. So I would say those are my two hopefuls for right now."

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by Brian Risso, Stanford Athletics Communications/Media Relations


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