2007 Arizona State Sun Devils Basketball Preview
The Sun Devils from Arizona State (8- 22 overall, 2- 16 Pac-10) won 20 games in 2002- 2003. Over the past five seasons that was the high water mark for the Devils, and it was the last time that the team went to March Madness. Herb Sendek (8- 22 in one year with Arizona State and 262- 180 in 14 years), who, in conference tournaments, never lost more than 16 games as the coach of North Carolina State, is in the midst of rebuilding the club.
The Sun Devils high point last season was their defense and must be considered when you bet on college hoops. They held clubs to an average of 61.8 PPG, which placed them third in the Pac-10 and 30th in the nation. The team had precious little offense (58.5 PPG), little ball movement (13.1 APG) and poor ball handling (14.5 TPG). They were ninth in three-point shooting, hitting only .319 and last in shooting percentage at .413 in conference tournaments.
Junior Jeff Pendergraph (12.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 55.1 FG%), who played out of position at center last season, will get the start at forward. Pendergraph is a team player and leader who is tenacious and tough. Center Eric Boateng, a sophomore who transferred from Duke and sat last season, should be the man in the center position. Although he doesn’t have great scoring chops, he’s got some heft behind him and should be able to defend and rebound. After that, look for frosh James Harden to start at the small forward spot. He can score.
The Devils return three guards but none is a massive player. Point guard Derek Glasser (6.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 34.5 FG%) is a bad shot but a good floor general. But the starter at point may be a freshman—Jamelle McMillan. McMillan can shoot and run the floor. Sophomore Christian Polk (12.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 36.5 FG%) looks to start at shooting guard.
Will the Sun Devils lose 22 games again this season? Chances are they’ll lose less than 20 but they not many less. The team lost eight conference games by six points or less last year. Coach Sendek has a good group of recruits and some vets. Look for improvement this season, an emphasis on ball control and scoring and another good incoming class next year. Will they make it into the pool bracket this season?