The Sun Devil men’s basketball team will spend a good portion of the month of August in China, as part of the Pac-12 Globalization Initiative.
Head coach Herb Sendek and his coaching staff will participate in various coaches clinics at Shanghai Jiaotong University from August 1-9.
The team itself will be there from August 9-19, and will play three exhibition games against university and professional teams.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our coaches and our players,” Sendek said. “Most importantly, we want to serve as goodwill ambassadors for Arizona State.”
Obviously, an undertaking of this size – traveling your staff and a group of players to China isn’t an easy thing to do. There’s so many logistical hoops the team has to jump through to make this trip a successful one and a safe one.
“Things you would never think of that has to be accounted for,” Sendek said. “When you move a party of 25 or so across the ocean like that for a 10-day period, there’s a lot of details.”
Coach Sendek says he, just like the rest of us, loves a good meal, but over in China, he says the team’s gonna have to be a little bit “adventurous” with the cuisine they’re offering there.
“It’s gonna be different, we might have to try some different things,” Sendek said. “Pack a few snacks. In my case, it probably wouldn’t hurt to lose a couple pounds.”
Jahii Carson is going to be adventurous with the Chinese cuisine, just like Sendek suggested.
“Oh yea, I love Chinese food, so I’ll see how the real authentic stuff tastes, not the Panda [Express] stuff,” Carson said. “We’ll see how the culture is over there, I’m interested in learning about the Asian culture, so I’m excited.”
Sendek won’t take over a full roster. It’ll be an abbreviated version of his regular season roster.
With the lessened amount of players going on the journey, Sendek and his coaching staff will have to trim down their game-planning just a bit for the games.
“We’re just gonna, basically, keep it as simple as possible,” Sendek said. “We have a few practices, get a base level of organization and go play.”
Jordan Bachynski has been doing quite a bit of traveling during his summer, including a trip to China for some international basketball. It was quite a wakeup call for him in the way they play basketball and how the referees handle the game.
“The first thing I noticed is that they don’t call charges, everything’s a block,” Bachynski said. “Guys are going in hard to the hoop, and you either gotta step up and block the shot, or step in and pray they call the charge.”
“They don’t settle for flops there,” Bachynski said, relating a story about how he was checked in his chest by a member of the opposition, causing him to hit the deck and being called for flopping.
“It’s a whole different mentality, guys are attacking the rim and everyone can shoot it,” Bachynski said. “It’s gonna be great for us.”
The experiences Bachynski soaked in didn’t just lie with him. He took time to talk to his teammates and give them a sense of what to expect once they get over there and the ball is tossed in the air and the games are on.
“The guys play harder, they play a different type of basketball and how we have to go out and be ready and be prepared and not take really anything for granted,” Carson said.
“We go out there and we see the basketball coaches [are] not as traditional as ours, so we tend to go out there and take them for granted and we’ll end up losing basketball games,” Carson said. “We want to go out there, have fun and also win too.”