2009-2010 Arizona State Sun Devils Basketball Preview
The Arizona State Sun Devils (25- 10 overall, 11- 7 Pac-10) had a stellar season last year, finishing third in the conference and going two deep into March Madness. In 2008- 2009, head coach Herb Sendek had two key players on his team: forward Jeff Pendergraph (14.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG) and guard James Harden (20.1 PPG, 4.2 APG, 1.7 SPG). The talented duo have gone to the NBA, which means that the Sun Devils will be hard pressed to repeat last year’s performance.
Arizona State posted the second best defense in the conference, allowing just 60.5 PPG. And although their scoring offense, which averaged 69.4 PPG, was sixth in the Pac-10, the Sun Devils shooting was ranked third, as they hit 48% of their shots. Under the boards, the team had a plus-1.2 rebound margin, earning them a ranking of seventh.
A lot rests on the shoulders of six-foot-ten center Eric Boateng (1.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.2 APG). Boateng, a senior and a former McDonald’s All-American, is being asked this season to fulfill his potential. The center has struggled to find his moves and develop his game. Seven-foot-even freshman center Ruslan Pateev, who comes to the court with fine offensive skills, will need to toughen up quickly to sustain himself through the college season. Overall, this is a diminuative team. As an example, junior Rihards Kuksiks (10.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.6 APG), who is just six-foot-six, gets the nod at power forward. The small forward will be filled by one of the incoming frosh.
Senior guard Derek Glasser (8.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 4.8 APG) brings intelligence and aggressiveness to the point. He ‘s not that fast but he is exceptionally sure-handed. Ty Abbott (7.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG) has had some good days and some bad days in his first two seasons. Now a junior, the shooting guard must develop consistency. The Sun Devils may utilize three guards. If they do, then expect junior Jamelle McMillan (4.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.8 APG) to be the third wheel in the backcourt.
In four seasons prior to 2008- 2009, Arizona State had posted
three losing conference marks and one tying. In what was a watershed
year for the program, there was a lot to celebrate in 2008-2009.
A return to the NCAA Tournament is doubtful but the Devils do
have a chance to once again win more games than they lose in the
Pac-10 and to go to the NIT. If some young guys step up, they
have a slight chance of going to the Big Dance.