Sendek talks success of Harden, potential of Carson

Arizona State head basketball coach Herb Sendek is reaching out.

Reaching out to boosters, fans, and even the media as he tries to re-establish the ASU basketball brand after back-to-back disappointing seasons filled with plenty of losses and an abnormally high number of players leaving the program.

One of the biggest complaints from former players is Sendek’s slow style of offense didn’t fit the system many of these ex-Sun Devils expected when they came to Tempe.

Sendek says that will change next season.

“We’ll be as fast as anybody in our conference,” Sendek told Brad Cesmat in-studio Wednesday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “We’re going to push the ball with the guys we have and the point guard is an integral part of that.”

The point guard he’s referring to is highly touted Jahii Carson who is expected to be eligible after missing all of his true freshman year due to an issue with the NCAA. The former Mesa High standout is expected to make the Devils a more versatile, potent team next season. During their 21-loss season in 2011-12, ASU had problems putting the ball in the basket.

Sendek has been pleased with how Carson has handled himself during this difficult time.

“I’ve been tremendously impressed with his grace and dignity with which he’s handled a difficult situation this past year,” Sendek explained to Cesmat. “I’ve been pleased with the progress he’s made. He’s been very impressive of his understanding of the landscape.”

The Sun Devils are hoping Carson’s impact will mirror that of former ASU star, now 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year James Harden, who played for Sendek for two seasons before being drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the third overall pick in 2009.

“Of course I thought [Harden] he had a bright and promising future,” Sendek said. “But at age 22, he has now established himself categorically as one of the best players in the NBA. ”

In the center of Harden’s success is his trademark beard with has caught the attention of everyone in the NBA.

“It’s actually big and thick enough when you see him in person that a small animal could reside there,” Sendek joked to Cesmat.

The Thunder start their Western Conference Finals play against the Spurs Sunday evening in San Antonio.