Green: Sendek has taken Devils as far as he can
There often comes a point in sports where a coach has taken a team as far as he can.
After five years at the helm of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Herb Sendek has gotten to that point.
Now, before you accuse me of only saying this because I'm a University of Arizona Wildcats fan, let me say that my not being a fan of the Devils allows me to see the simple truth: as long as Sendek remains the head coach, ASU will remain a mediocre-at-best program.
Granted, there is nothing I'd enjoy more than seeing the maroon and gold flounder at the bottom of the Pac-10, especially while my Cats will be taking up permanent residence near the top. However, for the sake of the rivalry, ASU needs to improve.
Speaking of the rivalry, the home crowd was pretty sad Sunday. I get that nobody really expected ASU to win but come on, at least show a little pride. Too many people were either dressed as empty seats or Wildcats fans, and a continuous stream of yellow started flowing towards the exits with about 8 minutes remaining. And, for the "fans" that did stick around, allowing yourselves to be out-chanted by the visitors was, well, sad. But not as sad as the product on the court, and that's why it's time to consider parting ways with Sendek.
This is not to say Sendek is a bad coach - far from it. I mean, anybody who can make ASU a respectable basketball program has to have a decent amount of ability. But by the time this season comes to a merciful end for his team the Devils will finish out of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons under the former NC State coach. That should be unacceptable.
Sure, you might argue they deserved a tournament berth in 2008 and 2010, but they didn't get in, and weak scheduling combined with a lack of signature wins can be blamed. Furthermore, the one time they did make it with NBA Lottery pick James Harden, Sendek's squad won all of one game. Not exactly impressive.
Even more problematic is how Sendek is continually going to lose the recruiting battles. Unless he can keep adding to his coaching staff, he will have to find a way to outdo the likes of Sean Miller, Lorenzo Romar, Ben Howland and Mike Montgomery. If you were a top-flight high school kid, who would you want to play for?
Keep in mind; it took Miller all of one season to surpass his in-state rival. With a top-10 class coming in next year things are poised to go back to the good old days, when Lute would just point to the scoreboard as his team was racking up another victory.
Nobody should have expected much of ASU hoops this year and yet the team is finding a way to disappoint. If NCAA basketball was anything like the English Premier League, Arizona State would find itself playing in the Big Sky Conference next season. At 9-15 overall with a 1-10 conference record, the Sun Devils are in the midst of their second embarrassingly awful season in Sendek's five tries. Is that called progression? Hardly. It appears Herb Sendek has taken the Sun Devils as far up the mountain as he can. Unfortunately for them they are closer to the base than the top.