Quotes From Coach Sendek's Media Day Press Conference
Oct. 17, 2009
On running the ball more:
'We love to strike in transition. We always have. It's to our great advantage if we can get easy baskets on the open floor in transition.'
On giving the team more freedom:
'They've always had freedom. They've had tremendous freedom to push the ball on makes and misses. That's something that we always look to do. Sometimes those baskets aren't easy to come by because teams play good defense and get back.'
On importance of having a go-to-guy:
'Every team is different. Some teams have a guy that is the go-to player, where everyone knows who the ball is going to on a certain possession. Other teams are very effective where there is more of an equal distribution in those situations. I think you can be effective in either case. '
On the go-to-guy for this season:
'I think we'll have guys who will be able to make plays. The guys we have on our team have been able to do that in the past. Some of our guys have made big shots before. I can start with Ty's (Abbott) freshman year at Cal with the win in overtime or Ty last year against BYU in the corner. Derek Glasser had the corner shot at Arizona. There have been a number of guys who have made big shots already in their career. It would be misrepresentation to pay it as James taking all the big shots last year, and to wonder who's going to do it for us this year. That's not what's happened. James took big shots and made big plays. He was our go-to-guy with Jeff (Pendergraph) last year, but some of these other guys have made big shots when they were freshmen.'
On the new practice facility:
'The biggest difference is that our guys have had some place to go shoot and workout. It's convenient and it's available all the time. In the past, Wells Fargo was the only available place for them, and there were a lot of different events. They haven't really had a place of their own. It made working out in the off-season much more convenient.'
On pre-season rankings:
'I have not spent a lot of time talking with them about that. I don't think we need to rely on what other people say to motivate us. The only meaningful motivation is that which comes from within. Hopefully as the season starts we don't have to go there to get our juice. I think the juice is flowing anyway. It's a new season and everybody is excited about the start of things again.'
On evolution of Derek (Glasser):
'In my mind, Derek is as improved as most any player in college basketball in the last three years. He certainly finished last season playing his career best basketball. Derek was outstanding in the NCAA and Pac-10 tournaments. He tied with Darren Collison last year for the best-assisted turnover record ratio in the Pac-10. He has made tremendous strides at each stage in his career and has established himself as a really good Pac-10 player. Derek is a gamer. He has that stuff that allows him to go to the free throw line and make big shots. How about the corner three he made in front of our bench against UCLA at home last year? You talk about big shots and who's going to take them, Derek has done that for us and he's got that something.'
On athleticism of team as a whole:
'I don't know how to grade it in terms of athleticism. Sometimes athleticism, although important, can be overrated in our sport. It's still important to have guys who are skilled and can pass, dribble and shoot. I don't spend a lot of time trying to compare teams or players. I think we have a good amount of athleticism on our team right now. It's complimented with a good skill level as well.'
On camaraderie of team:
'I think our guys have already started to come together. Every year is different. Even if every player returns, people are always changing. You always have to work at coming together even if you've been together. I like this group. They have good character. They genuinely like each other. It's not very hard for them to get along and hang out. They're naturally connected.'
On if he will coach differently:
'I coach every team differently. I'm always trying to evaluate what we need based on who we are and what the situation is. I didn't coach last year's team the same from beginning to end either. Even though it was the same year and the same team, we were constantly trying to do different things and help our guys achieve.'
On replacing James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph:
'I'm really not looking at it that we're just replacing James (Harden) and Jeff (Pendergraph), or that we're trying to find two guys to insert into their positions. I'm looking at it from the entire team standpoint as opposed to we lost two, so we have to plug two in. We'll be an entirely different team. It will take its own shape.'
On Eric Boateng:
'I'm really excited about Eric. He's poised and ready to have an outstanding season. I expect him to be really good this year. I'm looking forward to what Eric is going to show. He's worked hard every step of the way. He's improved at every station. I think he's going to have a really good senior year.'
On playing Boateng differently than Pendergraph:
'I don't know that there will be a tremendous amount of difference. A lot of the things that we were able to do with Jeff (Pendergraph), we'll do with Eric (Boateng) as well. Just like we did last year when Jeff was out of the game because of foul trouble. Which, unfortunately for us, was a lot. We didn't have two different systems for each of them.'
On the defense:
'We could have mixed it up in the past. It's just a matter of philosophy. We have a couple of questions that we'll have to answer here in the next couple of weeks in terms of what direction we go. All in all, our defense has been good to us. There's still room for improvement, but it's been pretty stable for us.'
On performing well at the NIT if team gets chance to go:
'It's important to win all of our games. We go in trying to win every game. The great thing about college basketball is that if you lose any one game it's not necessarily your demise. On the other hand, if you win any one game, nobody will coronate you at that moment either. We'll take them one at a time. If we are fortunate to win the two games here, it will be a great experience to go to Madison Square Garden and play there. That would be a really good thing for our team and program. We're going to try very hard to accomplish that.'
On thoughts of fan base and ASU basketball culture:
'I don't think you can just show up and change the whole culture. But you can tend to details and every task that you have on a daily basis. If you do that consistently, then you can have a result and change in culture that's positive. We just try and grind it out one day at a time. We focus on the tasks that we have before us and we believe that if we keep showing up and keep chipping away, then some of those more seismic shifts could take place.'
On difference between this season and last season:
'The great thing about sports is that you have to take it one game at a time. So we really don't know. We certainly wouldn't want to say that last year was our peak. In any attempt at humility we would also say that it's going to take a lot of hard work to maintain and improve on that. It's easy to talk about, but it's much harder to do things. Our program has continued to make steady progress. It's not always going to be linear like that. I don't know if there is any sports team or organization that has that trajectory all the time. On a broad based front, we're making progress and I think we're moving in the right direction.'
On ASU fans:
'I think our fans are on top of things. They realize we lost two NBA players and that we're going to have to reconfigure ourselves this year. I don't think our fans are only focused on the tournament or the number of wins. Our fans really appreciate great effort. They've told me they love to see guys diving on the floor and taking charges and pouring their hearts out. My first team didn't win a lot of games, but I think our fan support increased every game. The energy in the building continued to escalate, and it wasn't because we were winning. I think the Sun Devil Nation said they could live with these guys because every night out, they were giving them everything they had. Some people say that for sports fans, you have to win a lot to keep them coming. I don't think I'm that different from any other sports fan. Sure, I want the team I cheer for to win. But at the end of the day, what really matters to me is if the guys gave great effort. It's much more difficult to be critical when the guys are giving everything they have. Who among us doesn't cheer for that? I think the Sun Devil fans are that way.'
On who the freshman starters will be:
'I have no idea. Even if I did, I wouldn't say. There has to be some sense among the players that what they do in practice really matters. The coach doesn't come in with the starting lineup picked. If I was a player, and the coach came in and told us the starting lineup and I wasn't one of those guys, I wouldn't like that. There has to be a sense that everyone is going to go out and be competitive and coach is going to be objective and fair and try to think of the best rotation to help us win. I shouldn't know, but if I did know, I wouldn't say.'
On freshman Trent Lockett:
'I like everything about Trent Lockett. I love Trent Lockett. As you get to know him, you will too. He's an amazing young man. He's the consummate gentleman. He's the prototype for a student athlete. He's very athletically gifted. He's going to be really good for Arizona State in so many ways.'
On Ty Abbott:
'As well as he shoots the ball, to the extent that he can really go by defenders who run hard at him, he's even going to be a better shooter because that will create more time and space for him to get his shot off. He showed flashes of being able to do that last year. I think back to that drive at BYU early in the season that allowed us to get that win. He continues to move in that direction.'
On Eric Boateng:
'Eric started playing basketball relatively late. Some of that is the product of the more he plays and practices. With the time that he has under his belt, he's in position to have his best year yet. He's such an easy guy to cheer for. How could you not cheer for Eric? He's easy for people to want to do well. That's one of the things I love coaching about these guys.'