The season for the Sun Devils came to a very disappointing end on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas.
Herb Sendek’s squad held a 14-point lead with about nine minutes left in the game, but they were unable to hold on and lost late to USC. The loss for the Devils ended any shot of them being part of the big dance come next week.
Sendek has been in Tempe for nine years now and his team has been a part of the NCAA Tournament just twice, once with James Harden and last season with a roster filled with mostly veterans.
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Now this isn’t an article to bash the ASU head coach. In fact, there’s a lot to like about Sendek.
First off, he runs a clean program, something that has been an issue with this school in the past. He also graduates his kids and that’s the most important job for any coach at the collegiate level.
Sendek has also had a knack of finding gems in recruiting and he’s done a decent job at developing his players. Those two things are also good traits to have, especially when you are a head coach of a program which isn’t a powerhouse.
While saying those things, Sendek still hasn’t won enough. I know this isn’t a program with a rich history of winning and deep runs in March, but two tourneys in nearly a decade just isn’t good enough.
Mar 7, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herb Sendek reacts in the second half against the California Golden Bears at Wells-Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils defeated the Golden Bears 74-70. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
I know a lot of Sendek supporters use the excuse of “You won’t find anyone better” if he is indeed canned. That’s exactly what the issue is with this basketball program.
They can and should be able to find someone better than what Sendek has done since he’s been in Tempe. Sure, the history of winning isn’t there, but this program has a lot right going for it.
Despite what some think, ASU is a very good academic institution. That is a huge factor when parents have their kids look at different schools.
The ASU basketball program has other positives working for it as well.
The coeds are some of the best in the entire nation, the weather is warm all year long and the quality of basketball has improved drastically at the high school level in Arizona in recent years. That makes recruiting much easier than in years past when you had to recruit out-of-state.
ASU also has one hell of an athletic director in Ray Anderson, a man anyone would love to work for. It’s like night and day comparing him to former AD Lisa Love.
I’m sorry, but there are no excuses as to why this program can’t win on a more consistent basis. All the ingredients are there for success.
Now, nxt season is going to be a crucial year for Sendek’s future in Tempe. At a minimum, the Sun Devils should make a tournament appearance and possibly even make it to the second weekend if things go right.
Heading into next year, the Sun Devils do lose leading scorer Shaquielle McKissic and a team leader in Bo Barnes, but everyone else returns and a solid freshman class is coming in, led by Dominic Green. The forward is one of the best high school seniors on the west coast and he’ll be a contributor right away.
Sendek must win and win big next season. There are no excuses anymore.