Chasson Randle

Stanford freshman Chasson Randle, a former Rock Island standout, has helped the Cardinal to a 10-1 start. “I knew that I could come in and help the team,” Randle said. (Stanford Athletics)

Knowing his parents wouldn't see many of his college games in person, Chasson Randle was sharp from the outset of his Stanford men's basketball career.

With Willie and Gwen Randle in the seats at Maples Pavilion, Rock Island's favorite son dropped 15 points, six rebounds and four assists in his Nov. 11 collegiate debut, a 91-52 romp over Central Arkansas.

That performance wasn't smoke and mirrors - Randle truly has been a diaper dandy for Stanford (10-1), sitting just outside the Associated Press Top 25 rankings thanks to its second-leading scorer and passer.

"I knew that I could come in and help the team. That was my goal coming in," Randle said. "It's a blessing, and hopefully I can keep improving and helping the team."

His parents stuck around to watch Stanford for two more victories in the NIT Season Tip-Off, but haven't seen Randle in person for over a month.

"Of course I miss my family and friends, but I talk to them a lot on the phone, so they keep me upbeat," Randle said. "And I have my teammates here to be my family. I feel like I've been adjusting well to being out here on the West Coast."

Family and friends, along with the college hoops world, had a chance to watch Randle on national television when Stanford continued the NIT tip-off tournament at Madison Square Garden Thanksgiving weekend. The Cardinal beat Oklahoma State - behind Randle's season-high 17 points - before giving currently top-ranked Syracuse a run for its money in the championship game.

Willie Randle would have been in New York City if not for his mother's 75th birthday weekend, but said it was a thrill to see his son play on basketball's biggest stage.

"He loved it. I told him stars rise when you come and play in the Garden," Willie Randle said.

"He said he would like to play at the Garden again, but he doesn't want to be in college at the time. He wants it to be after his college days, which of course would be in the NBA.

"Hopefully that will happen. Everything's looking pretty good for him right now."

Chasson Randle didn't select Stanford over Purdue and Illinois during his much-ballyhooed recruitment to be a one-and-done player, though.

Willie insisted his son is deadset on spending four years in Palo Alto, where during his official visit a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a Stanford professor, swayed his decision.

"He's going to make sure he stays there for four years. He wants that degree for sure, because the only reason why he chose that school," Willie Randle said. "He loves the game of basketball, but after basketball, he's got a great paper in his hand that says ‘Stanford' on it, that nobody can ever take from him."

Three months after leading the Rocks to their first Illinois Class 3A state championship in school history, and being named to countless awards, including Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year, Randle departed for Palo Alto on June 15 to take a couple of summer courses.

Now taking 15 credit hours in his first semester, Randle's relieved he did.

"Any time you can get some credits out of the way, you should do it," said Randle, an undeclared major who wants to pursue the medical field. "I recommend that to anybody. Being able to see how everything works academically here, I think it helped a lot."

And, oh yes, Randle knows the Rocks (7-3) are enjoying a hot start to the prep season with a brand-new look.

"I definitely have been keeping up with the team, talking with coach (Thom) Sigel and a couple guys on the team," Randle said. "I know what's going on."