Stanford quarterback joins basketball team

February 3, 2010 7:13:53 PM PST
Former Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard was leaving class last week when his cell phone showed a missed call. The call was from basketball coach Johnny Dawkins. Pritchard thought it was a joke, but it wasn't.

"They had a bunch of injuries and what not, so he asked me to come out to practice and I came to practice on Tuesday and the next day," Pritchard said. "Next thing you know, I was in Arizona with the basketball team."

Coach Dawkins was desperate with only nine healthy players.

"Rather than have me suit up, I said we're going to look everywhere to find someone to contribute," Dawkins said.

"I remember walking in the locker room, I looked up and I was like, 'Tavita, what are you doing here?' Stanford forward Landry Fields said. "He's all, 'I'm on the team.' I was like, 'Oh, great man, happy to have you."

Pritchard was a three-sport star in high school.

"Of the three that I played, I thought basketball would be the last I played in college," Pritchard said. "It's been a blast and hopefully we can start winning some games."

Pritchard has been with the team for only a week and has a steep learning curve.

"I'm just trying to fit in, learn the plays, and be whatever I can be to this team," he said.

He is playing guard and small forward. Dawkins was surprised at his game.

"He can make shots, he's strong with the ball when he handles it," Dawkins said. "In practice he gets after guys defensively. He brings out the best in everyone."

Playing quarterback has helped him learn the offensive concepts and he has also learned what they do not do in basketball.

"I have called for a huddle a couple times and nobody came over," he said laughingly. "Don't know what happened."

Dawkins and Pritchard have both agreed that he would finish the year with the team.

"I'm not sure what his minutes will ever look like, but he's been great in practice and he's great in the locker room," Dawkins said.

Pritchard has beaten USC with a game-ending throw, maybe this week he can beat them with a game ending shot.