Jeff Pendergraph Quotes From Basketball Media Day

Oct. 17, 2008

On being the only senior on the team:
'It stinks, because I didn't come here by myself. I try and remember all the people that have fallen off. I remember them and this helps remind me of how I got here. Definitely the friends I have met here, like Sylvester (Seay) have helped me get to where I am today. It's nice though, because on Senior Day, I'm all by myself. It's fun.'

On if the team will push the ball more this year:
'I think so. Is that what Coach [Herb] Sendek said? I think he did. I hope so. Tha would play to my strengths, since I'm not a slow big man. Definitely pushing the ball more on fast breaks, I think that will help our team get a couple easy points every game. Everyone on our team runs, not just me, so I think it will definitely help.'

On if not going to the NCAA tournament last year motivated them during the off-season:
'I think it did a little bit. It wasn't the driving force though. We didn't have a poster of the NCAA committee on our wall. We were there and we remember the feeling. Ten minutes after the announcement, Coach told us it was on us. We could have done some things here and there so we wouldn't have been in that situation. We would have had a definite bid if we did this. We're focused on the things we need to do now. Let's not worry about those people, because they're doing their job. It's in the past, so we don't worry about it. Let's just focus on what we can control and improve on to make sure we're never in that situation again.'

On if the practices will be smoother this year because the team is experienced:
'Coach Sendek is always ready to change things up. So, I don't think practices will be the same as last year. They might be smoother, but they're going to be a little more intense. Losing Antwi [Atuahene] was like losing our energy guy in practice. We don't have him anymore. Me being the senior, it's my role now. Practice is about to be way more intense than before. I think with the experience, practice will run a lot smoother because it's not a learning process anymore. It's more like repetition. It's just getting it down and fine-tuning things, instead of a brand new system.'

On if he feels ASU is on the same level as Arizona as a program now, after beating them twice last year:
'I don't think you can beat somebody once or twice and that makes you better than them. It's not like they have beaten us just once or twice. They have been beating us for awhile. I think it's going to take a little bit of time for us to be on that powerhouse level like they have been. Coach [Lute] Olson has gone to the tournament 20-plus times in a row. I haven't even been to the tournament. He's been to the tournament more times than I've been alive. I think we are definitely on the right path to being recognized as a basketball school and not just a party school, or the little brother to U of A. It's starting to be a little more equal, but U of A still hasn't lost any of their prestige.'

On the offense being tweaked heading into this season:
'Since the players have grown and their games are tweaked, so has the offense. The offense grows with the players. So what the guys have been telling you they have been getting better at, then that's what the offense is being catered too. It's not just a set box. It's about your game and the offense going around you. It's on how you have grown as a player and how it fits you. That's what Coach Sendek has been working on this summer.'

On what he worked on this summer:
'I worked on a bunch of things. Those last-second shot-clock 3's are done. I'm not doing those any more. I'll still shoot them, just not with five seconds on the shot clock. It will be with 20 seconds on the shot clock. I'm not going to shoot one every ten games. I'll shoot one every five minutes. I worked on everything though; ball handling, not being just a back-to-the-basket type player. Things are changing. I'm not focused on going to the NBA right now, but I know being able to face up people and go by them will definitely help my game. It will be a lot harder to guard me that way and will help me out in the future.'

On his new appearance:
'What do you see? I've gotten bigger and I'm a lot stronger. I think my big thing right now is my conditioning. Not to toot my horn, but I feel I'm in the best shape that I've ever been in my whole college career. I might be able to hang with anyone in the entire conference right now. I worked all summer, and have not stopped since we got done with Florida. Every time, I would weight-lift, I would also be on the treadmill. I think conditioning is a big thing for me. I think it will help, because it's a lot harder to win a game when you're tired taen when you're fresh. Not being as tired as the other guys is going to be an advantage'

On the possibility of playing more with Eric Boateng this year:
'I hope so. I think it would make things a whole lot easier. I remember going against the Lopez twins (Brook and Robin). You would go by one and there was another one right there. I was like, how did he get back here so fast? That was quick. I figure having two big bodies down there will help. If I don't get it, I don't have to worry about someone like Jerren (Shipp) or Rihards (Kuksiks) having to fight a 6-10 guy for it. If I don't get it, then I know Boateng will get it. If he doesn't get it, then he knows I'll get it. Now we can just both run the court all day. I think it will make things a lot easier. It will make us a lot bigger and a lot harder for teams to push us around with their size and weight.'

On cutting down his fouls this year:
'If somebody is going to score, then just go ahead. Your two points is worth way less then my one foul. Not to sound like I'm conceding, but if it's not something I can get then I don't need to put myself in that situation to sit on the bench because of foul trouble. That hurts our team and gives the other team an advantage. The longer I can stay on the court, the harder we are to beat. Your two points right now is not going to be worth more later when I have two or three extra fouls I can give. Now I don't have to worry about just letting you score because I have four fouls. I can't foul out, because that's eight points instead of two.'

On James Harden's leadership role:
'I think he is the silent guy. You don't really see James getting too excited about things. I'm the total opposite; anytime something happens I'm jumping around and screaming. That carries over to my leadership role too. I'm really loud and in your face. James is the guy who will calmly tell you that you need to do this and this. He'll tell you to pick it up here and here. He'll tell you to pick up your defensive assignment. He's not a silent leader, but a calm one. That's how he and I complement each other.'

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