State of the Program
Like almost every other Pac-10 team this season, Arizona State will be searching for a new identity. The Sun Devils enter the 2009-10 season without two of the best players in program history. G James Harden and F Jeff Pendergraph accounted for 34.6 PPG, 13.8 RPG, and 5.1 APG per game last season, but both are now in the NBA.
Will ASU be able to survive without the superstar duo? I believe the answer is yes for one simple reason: Herb Sendek. Sendek has proven that his Devils can compete against anyone because of a deliberate offense and meticulously crafted zone defense. Aside from Pendergraph and Harden, ASU returns every major contributor from last season’s NCAA Tournament team. The challenge this year will be incorporating a talented freshman recruiting class into Sendek’s complicated system.
While this ASU team won’t have an All-American guiding it, the squad appears to be deeper and more talented from top to bottom than it has been in quite some time. Sendek has raised the profile of the program with newfound exposure (NBA Draft picks, NCAA Tournament Birth, 3rd place finish in Pac-10, 2nd place finish in Pac-10 Tourney) and a brand new practice facility (Weatherup Center).