2008 Arizona State Sun Devils Basketball Preview
Last season, The Arizona State Sun Devils (21-13 overall, 9-9 Pac-10) improved in-conference by seven wins. That was quite an accomplishment by head coach Herb Sendek in his second year at the helm of the Sun Devils. Last season, the club went to the NIT. This season, they look bound for the Big Dance and maybe even a Sweet 16 appearance.
Senior forward/center Jeff Pendergraph (28.4 MPG, 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 59.3 FG%, 79.3 FT%) can be a top player in the Pac-10. His big problem is foul trouble. If he can stay in the game, State will win. It’s hoped that junior center Eric Boateng (11.6 MPG, 3.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.2 APG, 61.5 FG%, 36.5 FT%) can help Pendergraph on defense, but it’s unlikely that he will. Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks (17.2 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 38.6 FG%, 61.5 FT%) will contribute upfront. The front is thin, putting pressure on Pendergraph to perform consistently at both ends of the court.
At guard, sophomore James Harden (34.1 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 52.7 FG%, 75.4 FT%) can hit from downtown or drive to the basket, score and draw the foul. Harden is also a top defensive player. In his second season, he’ll be playing to ensure that he’s a high draft pick at the end of the year. If guards Derek Glasser (26.8 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 38.4 FG%, 84.1 FT%), Ty Abbott (32.7 MPG, 9.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 39.2 FG%, 73.1 FT%) and Jamelle McMillan (14.2 MPG, 2.6 PG, 1.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 40.2 FG%, 60.0 FT%) can each step it up a bit, this backcourt will be tough to stop.
There are a few things that are in Arizona State’s favor
this season. First, other clubs have lost key players, which means
that some of the best teams in the conference are overall a bit
weaker. The Devils return key players who now have tournament experience.
Harden can win games. Finally, coach Sendek is an expert at getting
his players to the next level. Things are looking sunny for Arizona