If you look at a crystal ball in the hopes seeing the
future of ASU basketball, it would be too cloudy for even
the most experienced fortune teller to see. The recent
past is something that most ASU fans would shield their
eyes from or violently turn away.
ASU head coach Herb Sendek dismissed Keala King from the
team earlier this week, while Kyle Cain and Chris Colvin
needed to re-earn the opportunity to join the team.
King’s dismissal could be for a myriad of reasons and the
why doesn’t matter. The question is what’s wrong with the
Every year we hear about special players who are coming
into the program. Unfortunately, they are replacing the
previous special players who are transferring. This is
where a clever writer makes some type of funny analogy
with a revolving door, but I hate those things so I don’t
want to give them free advertising.
Coach Sendek attempted to explain the high number of
outbound plane tickets from the program in a recent press
conference. He waxed poetic about Clemente staying a
Pirate for his whole career yet Bonds left for a payday,
despite Sendek himself leaving his two previous jobs. He
complained how kids transfer elsewhere for playing time
while ASU accepts two new transfers next year.
Coach Sendek made more points about the way our society
has changed. The points were impossible to disagree with
because society was less selfish in the past. The catch
is it sounded like a man blaming the icebergs for a
The comments bothered me. Bob Knight and John Thompson
didn’t want to adjust to the changes in society and lived
off their reputations as the NCAA tourney wins evaporated.
Blaming the present and missing the past isn’t solving the
Coach Sendek is a man of great principle. He deserves so
much respect for dismissing King in a down season. It’s
easy to think of a handful of college coaches who would
compromise principle in order to keep talent. King led
the team in almost every category, including complaints.
When a player plays four years for Sendek they are a
vastly improved player, but King didn’t want work through
the system. To go to one of Sendek’s practices is to be
amazed at his knowledge and memory, but King was more
interested in games and shots than practice and drills.
Looking at the way the players played versus Southern Cal
last week, the team clearly agreed with the decision to
suspend King, Colvin and Cain for the weekend. There does
appear to be a closer team on the floor playing without
Despite back-to-back putrid seasons, ASU has stud PG Jahii
Carson practicing with the team every day. There are
three area high school players all entering the program
next year. Two sharpshooters are transferring into ASU
and will be eligible for 2012-13 as well. Although I do
believe there are better days coming for ASU basketball,
how do I know another one of these future players won’t be
the next transfer? I could easily be hitching my wagon to
a donkey that I’m too blind to see isn’t a horse.
The ASU basketball job is one of the hardest jobs in
college basketball–recruit in a state with a former
national power down the street to play games in a dark,
flavorless arena with a non-existent fan base. Coach
Sendek’s 20-win seasons must count for something. It’s
the right move to stick with Herb Sendek despite being the
third best team in the state this year.
If you want to coach old school values, recruit old school
kids. Don’t blame society for losing basketball games.
If society is changing and other coaches are winning
without compromising principles then ASU can too.
Since I still believe in Coach Sendek, I’m going to chalk
up his press conference to a guy having a bad day.