As the NCAA tournament hits Phoenix, Herb Sendek and the Arizona State basketball program is experiencing their own form of “March Madness.”
Following a March 7th 85-65 opening round loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament Sendek has seen two players (Chanse Creekmur and Kyle Cain) leave the program and a third, leading scorer Trent Lockett, is considering transferring to a school closer to his home in Minnesota after news his mother is ill.
ASU, who finished the season 10-21, have now had 12 players leave the program over the past four years. Some of the players have transferred to mid-major schools, while others like South Florida wing Victor Rudd and New Mexico guard Demetrious Walker have been key members during their schools run in the tournament.
Sendek says there’s a common theme to the large number of departures.
“The vast majority of the guys who have left our program have left because of one issue and that’s playing time,” Sendek told ‘Big Guy on Sports’ Thursday. “In college basketball right now you have an epidemic when it comes to transferring and we’re not going to be immune to that. The genuine group [of college athletes] that we’re dealing with, they’ll lease rather than buy.”
He said the Devils have also benefited from players transferring into the program like former center Eric Boateng who blossomed late after transferring from Duke. Sendek is excited with the potential of Bo Barnes (Hawaii) and Even Gordon (Liberty) who will be eligible this fall.
ASU will also likely have the services of blue chip point guard Jahi Carson, who wasn’t cleared by the NCAA this past season. He will have freshman eligibility next season. Many feel Carson is the type of play-maker Sendek needs to put the Devils back on the college basketball map.
Through it all, Sendek knows he’s made mistakes and isn’t immune to criticism.
“I think we have made some mistakes, regrettably, in recruiting,” Sendek explained. “You’re never going to bat 100%. It’s forced us to streamline our profiles, to tighten our screws to further define exactly what we’re looking for at Arizona State.”