Men's Hoops Travels To Lincoln For Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series Sunday At 1 p.m. CT
Nov. 30, 2007
SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, under second-year coach Herb Sendek, travels to Lincoln, Neb., on a four-game win streak to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1) on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m. CT (Noon in Arizona) on ESPNU and KTAR 620 AM in Phoenix. ASU, coming of 30+ point wins in back-to-back games for the first time since December of 1990, has been starting three freshmen as its roster has an interesting mix. It includes two McDonald's All-Americans who made their Sun Devil debuts this year, five freshmen, one redshirt sophomore, three sophomores who played 87.3 minutes per game (with Pac-10 leading 69 freshmen starts) and one of college hoops rising players in 6-9 junior Jeff Pendergraph. A preseason Wooden Award Top-50 candidate, Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (9.1) last year, as his rebounding average matched the second-best mark by a Sun Devil in the past 26 seasons. With four of the Sun Devil games being margins of at least 19 points, he is averaging just 22.6 minutes per game on the year but is at 16.3 points and 7.3 boards in past three games, including 25-point, 10-board scene stealer against LSU's long front line in the third game of Maui Invitational. ASU will try and win five straight for the first time since the 2004-2005 squad won nine straight from Nov. 27-Dec. 29. The game is part of the first-year Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
WHEN YOU BREAK IT DOWN: Last year, freshmen accounted for 69 of a possible 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie Sun Devil 30-game season. Through five games this year, the updated numbers have jumped to 84 out of 175 starts in his 35-game tenure with three freshmen starting each game this year. That means in his two years, ASU's starting lineup has had freshmen make 48 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 37 starts (21 percent), juniors 22 starts (13 percent) and seniors just 32 starts (18 percent).
QUICKIES: James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan started against Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history that three freshmen started the opener...nine players are averaging at least 12 minutes per game, as freshmen and sophomores make up 158 minutes per game...Ty Abbott already has nailed 14 three-pointers...after averaging 58.5 points per game last year, ASU scored 54 in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 28. The 54 first-half points (most since 58-30 lead against USC on Feb. 13, 2003) was more than it scored in 10 games last year...ASU outrebounded Cal Poly by 29 on Nov. 26 (52-23), its best rebounding margin since a 49-19 output vs. American-Puerto Rico on Nov. 26, 1997...ASU also held Cal Poly to 14-of-55 (.255) from the floor, its best defensive effort since Dec. 2, 2000, when it held eventual NCAA Tournament bound BYU to 15-of-59 (.254)...Jeff Pendergraph is shooting .611 from the field...Christian Polk is shooting 81.3 percent from the foul line in his 35-game career (39-of-48)...Jeff Pendergraph led the team in charges taken with 19 last year...Derek Glasser is 9-of-14 (.643) from the floor this year.
DOING WHAT HE WAS RECRUITED TO DO: Freshman James Harden has been all that was advertised early in the year. The first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask), he leads the team in scoring (17.6), minutes (28.6), blocks (six) and steals (10). The long-armed wing already has three 20-point games, one double-double (15 points and 10 boards vs. Cal Poly) and is averaging 5.6 boards per game. He is shooting .518 from the field (29-of-56).
NICE CARRY OVER: ASU won two of its final five last year, beating #22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18 and then winning 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular season finale, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 522-game Pac-10 history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 road game. ASU improved throughout last year as in the second half of the Pac-10 season, its scoring margin was less than a three-pointer (-2.5 per game). Although ASU went 8-22 last year, it is 6-4 in its past 10 games.
NEBRASKA STUFF: Nebraska's head coach, Doc Sadler, was an assistant coach at ASU from 1994-97 and was a member of Bill Frieder's staff in 1994-95 that went 24-9 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, ASU's best record in the past 26 seasons...Tony Benford, a current Nebraska assistant, was on the ASU staff for eight seasons (1998-2006) and helped lead ASU to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and three NIT appearances (2000, 2002, 2005)...ASU leads the series 3-2, but is 0-2 in Lincoln, as Nebraska topped ASU 66-60 on Dec. 3, 2004...ASU's last win over a Big 12 team on the road was on Dec. 19, 1998, when it topped Texas A&M 96-91 in triple overtime.
WHO ELSE IN PAC-10 HAS TWO McDONALD ALL-AMERICANS?: ASU has two McDonald's All-Americans on its roster this year with freshmen James Harden (2007) and sophomore Eric Boateng (2005) in uniform. Other Pac-10 teams with McDonald's All-Americans in 2006-2007 include Arizona (Jerryd Bayless in 2007, Chase Budinger in 2006 and Jawann McClellan in 2004), Stanford (Brook and Robin Lopez in 2006), UCLA (Kevin Love from 2007 and James Keefe in 2006), Washington (Jon Brockman in 2005), Oregon (Malik Hairston in 2004) and USC (O.J. Mayo from 2007).
HAS ASU HAD MANY McDONALD'S ALL-AMERICANS PRIOR TO BOATENG AND HARDEN?: Herb Sendek's first recruit at ASU was Duke transfer Eric Boateng, a 6-10 2005 McDonald's All-American who attended high school in Delaware. He became just the fourth Mickey D AA to appear on an ASU roster, joining Jamal Faulkner (1989), Chris Sandle (1984) and Byron Scott (1979). James Harden is the fifth, but the first to sign out of high school since Chris Sandle in 1984 (Jamal Faulkner went one year of prep school prior to ASU).
CHECK OUT THIS TREE: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are currently Division I head coaches. Here's the list: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, Western Carolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant (1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and Sean Miller, Xavier, Miami (1994-96) and NC State Assistant (1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
WHEN YOU PUT IT THIS WAY, IT REALLY IS IMPRESSIVE: Prior to last season, Herb Sendek took NC State to the previous five NCAA Tournaments (2002-2006). To compare it to the Pac-10, only three schools (and one current Pac-10 coach) can match that in the 29 seasons since ASU and Arizona joined the league in 1978-79. Arizona (currently 23), UCLA (14 straight from 1989-2002) and Stanford (11 straight from 1995-2005) have had NCAA Tournaments streaks of more than five, but none of the other seven Pac-10 schools have gone to the NCAAs more than three straight times since the league expanded to 10 teams. In fact, California (2001-2003), Oregon State (1980-82 and 1988-90) and Washington (1984-86 and 2004-06) are the only schools to have made three straight appearances in that time frame.
FROSH STARTS: Three ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- Christian Polk (26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was the most in the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49), Cal (48), Arizona and Oregon State (43 including redshirt freshman Josh Tarver's 32 starts), Oregon (33), Washington State (4) and UCLA (1) complete the league's 423 freshmen starts.
'THIS' CLOSE: ASU was in 14 games decided by five points or less, the most by an ASU squad in 23 years (1982-83 team had 17 of 33 games of five points). Fifteen of ASU's games were two-possession games (six points or less). ASU was in 21 games of 10 points or less, which led the Pac-10 and was in just nine games of 11+ point final margins, fewest in the loop. After losing five straight games by 20 total points (including three against ranked teams), ASU posted a 68-58 win over No. 22 USC on Feb. 18, its first win over a ranked team since March 20, 2003.
INTRIGUING SECOND HALF OF PAC-10: In the final nine regular season games last year (second half of Pac-10) ASU was outscored by just 22 points and its seven losses were by one, three, four (twice), five, six and ten points. It all started vs. Washington on Feb. 1, when ASU fell behind 44-21 at the half but then outscored the Huskies 40-22 in the second half and held UW to just 5-of-21 (.238) from the floor...in those nine games, ASU outscored its opponents 281-227 (31.2 to 25.7) in the second half and held them to 70-of-203 (.344) from the field and 18-of-76 (.236) from the three-point stripe...Sun Devils held Cal on March 3 to just 5-of-18 (.278) shooting and 16 points in the second half...ASU outscored USC 47-32 in the second half on Feb. 18...ASU outscored eventual Pac-10 Tournament champion and Elite Eight participant Oregon 30-22 in the second half and just 6-of-21 (.286) shooting...ASU outscored Washington State 23-12 on Feb. 3 and held it to 4-of-20 (.200) from the floor...14 of ASU's final 15 games were decided by 10 points or less, including its final 10 games.
EXAMPLES OF THE D: ASU held Oregon, who averaged 75.9 ppg., to a season-low 55 points on Feb. 8 in Eugene and held Washington State, who averaging 66.9 points, to its second-lowest point total on the season in a 48-47 loss on Feb. 3. On Feb. 25 against Arizona, ASU held the Pac-10's top scoring team (78.0) to 61 points. The 61 points was the fewest by UA against ASU since a 53-52 ASU win on Jan. 5, 1995. ASU held Cal (69.5 ppg.) to 41 points on Mar. 3, the fewest by the Golden Bears since a 59-37 loss to Washington State on Jan. 14, 1988.
NO SOPHOMORE JINX: Jeff Pendergraph, a 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshmen selection and 2007 Pac-10 Honorable Mention pick, averaged 12.3 ppg. and 9.3 rpg. in final 24 games last year and posted eight double-doubles (now 14 in career). He finished second in the Pac-10 in FG percentage (.553), rebounding (8.9), offensive rebounding (3.33) and fourth in minutes (35.50) in league games. He ranked second overall in rebounding (9.1) and second in FG percentage (.551) and led league in offensive boards (3.93). He was perfect in eight field goals at Wazzu (Jan. 4) and grabbed 19 boards at Oregon (Feb. 8) and vs. Colgate (Dec. 19), most by a Sun Devil since Mike Batiste had 20 vs. Wagner (Nov. 19, 1997). He could lead ASU in rebounding for the third straight season (only Ike Diogu (2002-05) and Al Nealey (1957-60) have accomplished).
DEPARTURES: The team Herb Sendek took over in April of 2006 changed dramatically in the summer when seniors-to-be and starters Kevin Kruger and Bryson Krueger departed. Kevin, who led UNLV to the 2007 Sweet Sixteen and was the MWC Tournament MVP, averaged 15.0 ppg. in 2005-06 for ASU and played an ASU record 39.0 minutes per game. He played 87 games and scored 912 points in his three-year ASU career. Bryson averaged 12.3 points and shot 40.7 percent (88-of-216) from the three-point stripe and started 45 games in career.
SO WITH THOSE GUYS LEAVING: Three true freshmen combined to average 87.3 minutes last year, all above the 27-minute mark, and made 69 starts...Derek Glasser averaged 32.2 minutes in conference play, the third-most by a Sun Devil freshman in ASU's 29-year Pac-10 history...Christian Polk, with 64 three-pointers, fell two three balls short of the ASU freshmen record. Polk's 26 12.0 points per game mark is seventh on the ASU freshmen list...Glasser finished 16-of-32 (.500) from the three-point stripe in the final nine games after starting year 18-of-69 (.261).
MANY WINS, MANY PLACES: When it comes time to play away from Tempe, Herb Sendek has a good map. In his career, Coach Sendek has won 263 games in 22 states, plus two wins in Puerto Rico and one in Washington D.C. North Carolina (153) and Ohio (51) lead the way as he was the head coach in both states, and he also has posted wins in Arizona (nine), Florida, (seven), Michigan (six), South Carolina and Virginia (five each), Georgia and Indiana (four each), Massachusetts (three), Hawaii, California, Texas and Maryland (two each). One-win states are Alabama, Utah, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada, Kentucky and Illinois.
FREE THROWS: In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in free throw percentage, including three straight seasons from 2002-2004. In 2004 his NC State squad led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. His 2005-2006 team shot .751 (second in the ACC to Duke) and was 16th in the nation. His poorest free throw shooting team was his first year (1996-97) when they shot 64.9 percent. While at NC State, his Wolfpack squads shot 71.3 percent. ASU was 147-of-210 (.700) from the free throw line in its final 17 games and 103-of-147 (.701) in the final 11 games last year.
THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 266-181 (.595) in 15 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 44-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in his final seven years. Another overlooked note is his 10-year stay at NC State. To compare it to the Pac-10, since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (currently 24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent (11th at Oregon).