March 21, 2011

Stanford helps Taft reach final four

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The Ohio High School basketball semi-finals will start on Thursday at the Value City Arena on Ohio State's campus and while fans of high school basketball in Ohio will have plenty to be excited about. The festivities this weekend should have some appeal to the football fans as well. Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft stars and Ohio State football targets, Dwayne Stanford and Adolphus Washington will be looking to bring home the Division III title. Stanford is excited to lead his #1 ranked team into Columbus on Friday with a chance at a state championship on the line.

"We're definitely excited," said Stanford, of making the final four. "We made it to the regional finals last year and we lost to a team that we really should have beat. We lost in overtime and now we have a chance to get back and get over the hump."

Part of the reason for Taft's success this season can be attributed to a challenging schedule that saw the Senators match up with larger schools from both Ohio and other states.

"Our coach does a great job during the pre-season preparing us for anything with setting up our schedule," Stanford said. "We play teams that slow things up and we play teams that all they do is run. We beat teams like Cincinnati Withrow and St. John's out of Washington (DC). Going into these last two games I feel that anything these teams throw at us, we'll be well prepared for."

Taft has been the heavy favorite in Ohio's Division III since before the season began, even at times drawing comparisons to the great North College Hill teams from the Cincinnati area that featured current NBA players O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker.

While Stanford and his teammates are flattered by the comparisons, they won't accept the comparisons unless they are able to take care of business this weekend.

"It's cool to be compared to them but we've got to get a state title," Stanford said. "O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker were great players and they got to the finals and won a state championship and accomplished their goal. We're not really focused on (the comparisons), we just want to get our goal accomplished."

In terms of recruiting, Stanford has kept much of his focus on the basketball season and is taking a pretty laid back approach to everything at the moment.

"I'm just looking to see what offers come in," he explained. "I just got offers from USC and Stanford so I'm just waiting until all of the offers come in before I start to narrow it down and see which schools I want to visit."

Once basketball is over this weekend, Stanford will turn his focus back to the gridiron and will be in Columbus on May 21st for the Ohio State Nike camp.

"I'm excited to see where I stand," he said. "I've done my thing here in Cincinnati and I'm excited to see what guys from other states and cities have to offer. I just want to go up against the top DB's and hopefully do well and see what I need to work on and go from there."


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