Men's Hoops Preseason Notes As Season Opens Nov. 13 Vs. Western Illinois

Nov. 2, 2009

The Arizona State's men's hoops team opens its fourth season under head coach Herb Sendek and is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1980-81 when it takes on Western Illinois on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Arizona, with Daron Sutton and Tom Kuyper on the call. ASU went 25-10 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament under 308-game winner Herb Sendek, and finished 11-7 in the Pac-10 and tied for third, its best Pac-10 finish since the 1994-95 Sweet Sixteen team finished third under Bill Frieder. After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year (2006-2007), the Sun Devils are 46-23 (.667) since and giving up just 61.4 points per game in his 99 games. ASU has to replace two NBA draft picks from last year in first-team consensus All-American James Harden and first-team All-Pac-10 forward Jeff Pendergraph, but returns three starters from last year's team in senior piont guard Derek Glasser (2009 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team), junior Rihards Kuksiks (third-best returning three-point shooter in the nation according to NCAA minimums) and junior Ty Abbott (121 career three-pointers).

Ty Abbott is expected to be out until mid-November after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Abbott has played in all 69 games of his two-year career and started in 65. He set ASU freshman records for starts (34) and three-pointers made (76) in his first season of 2007-08, as the 76 three-pointers is fourth-best by a freshman in Pac-10 history. He averaged 29.9 minutes while playing all 35 games and starting in 31 last year and was second on team with 16 blocks and 33 steals. He posted 13 games of double-digits, and ASU was 11-2 in those contests, and scored a season-high 20 points against No. 13 Syracuse in NCAA Tournament on 6-of-10 three-point shooting. Abbott also averaged 11.7 points in the Pac-10 Tournament and was 13-of-23 (.565) from the field and 8-of-15 (.533) from the three-point stripe as ASU advanced to the Pac-10 title game for the first time in school history. Abbott is one three current Pac-10 players who can claim a 30-point night, with a 30-point effort in his freshman season vs. California on Feb. 16, 2008. Tajuan Porter did the trick with 33 at Washington on Feb. 14, 2009 while Jerome Randle had 31 at Arizona on March 5, 2009. When Abbott scores in double digits, ASU is 23-6.

Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches, the best mark of any coach in the nation, ahead of Mike Montgomery and Rick Pitino (seven each). Twelve-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot in the spring of 2008 after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick John Groce also earned the Ohio University position in the spring of 2008. The others are Jim Christian at TCU (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Arizona's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1993-95 and at NC State from 1996-2000).

Derek Glasser earned 2009 Pac-10 All-Tournament honors by averaging 13.7 points in the three games. He shot 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, made 5-of-11 (.455) from the three-point stripe and had 12 assists and just four turnovers while averaging 37.3 minutes per game. He also played 42 minutes without a turnover in the Jan. 17 overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA and followed that up with clutch shots at Arizona on Jan. 21 and vs. No. 11 UCLA on Feb. 12. He is 182-of-221 (.824) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 98-game career.

Just how good has the Sun Devil defense been the past three years since Herb Sendek too over? ASU has given up less than 62 points per game in each of the past three seasons , the best three-season span since the middle of the past century. In the 18 Pac-10 games last year, no team defended shooters better than Arizona State, as it led the league in field goal percentage defense (.421) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.310). Those that followed Coach Sendek's career at NC State won't find it a big shocker. In Herb Sendek's 10 seasons in Raleigh, NC State led the ACC in scoring defense four times and held opponents to just 54.7 points per game in 1996-97, an ACC record. Last year's 60.5 points per game allowed was the lowest by a Sun Devil team since the 1949-50 team gave up 59.8.

1. 46.5--1948
2. 47.6--1949
3. 59.8--1950
4. 60.5--2009
5. 61.8--2007
6. 61.9--2008

ASU is 20-16 (.556) in the past two seasons in Pac-10 regular season play, tied for the third-best mark in the league behind UCLA (29-7/.806) and Washington (21-15/.583). The rest of the Pac-10 in the past two years: USC 20-16 (.556), Washington State 19-17 (.528), Stanford 19-17 (.528), Arizona 17-19 (.472), Cal 17-19 (.472), Oregon 11-25 (.306) and Oregon State 7-29 (.194).

ASU (25-13) posted 25 wins in 2008-2009 for the first time since the 1974-75 squad went 25-4. ASU's school record for wins is 26 set in 1962-63 (26-3). ASU went 10-6 against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams (3-0 against UA, 2-0 vs. UCLA, split games with Cal and 1-2 against Washington and USC). It also topped BYU on Dec. 20 in Glendale. ASU defeated Arizona (68-56) and top-seeded Washington (75-65) but fell to USC in the Pac-10 title game 66-63 and then defeated Temple but lost to No. 13 Syracuse in Miami at the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils were 6-4 in road games and 7-3 in neutral games (20 of 35 games away from Tempe. According to, ASU had a RPI of 31 (second in Pac-10) and a strength of schedule of 37.

Junior Rihards Kuksiks is the third-best returning three-point shooter in the nation according to official NCAA statistics. Kuksiks was 93-of-210 from the arc last year, which was eighth in the nation. Only Jared Stohl of Portland (89-of-195 for .456) and Brandon Hazzard of Troy (83-of-185 for .449) are returners with better net swishing numbers than the Latvian native. He shot .420 from the three-point stripe in the 16 games against NCAA Tournament teams last year and was 17-of-37 (.459) in the six games against ranked opponents. He also was clutch in close games, as ASU played four games of two points or less (and went 3-1), and Rik was 14-of-30 (.467) from three. He averaged 10.3 points (third-best on the team) and his 93 three-pointers is the third-best in school history, while the 44.3 percent shooting is tied for the fourth-best in school history. The junior has made 129-of-308 (.419) three-pointers in his two-year career and posted a career-high 20 points in the NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Syracuse with six three-pointers.

ASU set the school record for three-pointers made (288) and attempted (778) in 2008-2009. ASU's top three returning scorer have combined to make 357 three-pointers in their career, as Rik Kuksiks has 129, Ty Abbott 121 and Derek Glasser 107.

ASU shot .739 from the free throw line in 2007-2008, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in previous 21 seasons, and shot just below that pace last year (.737). In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent.

ASU is 17-12 in the past two seasons in 10 points or less games after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...after going 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half, ASU was 5-4 in 2008-2009 with victories at SDSU, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU, at Arizona and vs. Arizona in Pac-10 Tournament...ASU is 6-2 in its past eight overtime ASU's first season under Herb Sendek, it was 3-12 in two-possession games (six points or less), in the past two seasons it is 11-7 (5-3 last year).

Herb Sendek will enter his 17th season as a head coach in 2009-2010 and has averaged 19.2 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 308-203 (.603) in 16 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 46-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native remains the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. 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 (24/Arizona), Ralph Miller (19/Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18/Stanford), Ernie Kent (entering his 13th at Oregon) and Ben Braun (12/California).

Coach Sendek has 35 career wins against ranked foes, including 12 top-10 wins in his past nine seasons. He notched his first at ASU on Feb. 18, 2007, as ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 and won his first attempt in 2007-08 with a 77-55 over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15 (largest win over a ranked team in ASU history)...the Jan. 17, 2009, win at ninth-ranked UCLA was ASU's first top-10 road win since its 90-87 OT win at No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998...against seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, 2008, ASU earned its first win over a top-10 team since Jan. 23, 2002 (88-72 over No. 10 Arizona) the nine years prior (1998-99 to 2006-07), ASU went 1-24 against top-10 teams. In its past three games against top-10 teams under Herb Sendek, ASU is 2-1 (seventh-ranked Stanford in 2007-2008 and at ninth-ranked UCLA in 2008-2009)...from 1995-1996 until 2005-2006 (11 seasons), ASU went 5-66 against ranked foes (2-28 at home). Under Herb Sendek in the next three years ASU has six wins against ranked teams, three of them at home.

#23 ASU 75, #13 Washington 65/P10 Tourney (Mar. 13, 2009)
#18 ASU 74, #11 UCLA 67 (Feb. 12, 2009)
#16 ASU 61, @#9 UCLA 58 (OT), Jan. 17, 2009
ASU 72, #7 Stanford 68 (OT), Feb. 14, 2008
ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55, Dec. 15, 2007(largest win over ranked team in ASU history)
ASU 68, #22 USC 58, Feb. 18, 2007

ASU has notched a double-digit win over a ranked team in each of Herb Sendek's three seasons. It beat No. 22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18, 2007, beat No. 17 Xavier 77-55 on Dec. 15, 2007 (largest win over a ranked team in school history), and then topped No. 13 Washington 75-65 on March 13, 2009, in Los Angeles at the Pac-10 Tournament. In the prior 16 seasons of ASU basketball, the Sun Devils have had three double-digit wins over ranked teams.

When ASU opens the season on Nov. 13 against Western Illinois, it will match the second-earliest start date in school history. ASU also opened on Nov. 13 in Herb Sendek's first season. ASU opened the season on Nov. 10 in 2000-2001. Coach Sendek's earliest season opener was Nov. 11, 1997, when NC State beat #19 Georgia in East Rutherford, N.J.

Nov. 10, 2000--Tulsa 69, ASU 67 (Raleigh, N.C.)
Nov. 13, 2009--Western Illinois at ASU
Nov. 13, 2006--Nothern Arizona 75, @ASU 71
Nov. 13, 1998--@ASU 68, San Jose State 49

Nov. 11, 1997--NC State 47, #19 Georgia 45 (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Nov. 13, 2009--Western Illinois at ASU
Nov. 13, 2006--Northern Arizona 75, @ASU 71

ASU is 30-2 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and had won 27 straight before it fell to USC in the Pac-10 Tournament despite shooting 53.1 percent (26-of-49). It was 12-0 in 2007-2008 and was 16-1 in 2008-2009 when it shots 50 percent.

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