Center Jordan Bachynski did just about everything you can do on a basketball court during the Sun Devils’ 79-64 season-opening win over Central Arkansas.
ASU’s junior big man scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, grabbed 12 rebounds and recorded a school-record nine blocks.
Still, head coach Herb Sendek would like to see his team utilize Bachynski even more.
“Obviously, he had a great stat line,” Sendek said Monday of Bachynski’s multifaceted performance. “As impressive as that stat line is, certainly highlighted by his career-breaking nine blocked shots, I still think we have to do a better job of taking advantage of what we have inside.
“We threw it in, but we have to throw it in even more and understand good basketball is played inside-out for our team.”
Just a game into their 2012-2013 campaign, ASU is still trying to figure out exactly what they have inside. While Bachynski, the tallest player in school history, definitely stole the show Saturday, he didn’t exactly dominate in the post during his sophomore season — seventh-best on the team in scoring (6.0 points per game).
But with three of their top four scorers from a year ago transferring — Keala King, Trent Lockett and Kyle Cain — the Sun Devils would be wise to center their offense around Bachynski and sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling.
For now, Sendek isn’t trying to read too much into one game, especially when it comes to his up-and-coming man in the middle.
“When we recruited Jordan, we knew it was going to be a journey,” said Sendek. “You don’t go from not playing for three years, let alone not working out, to Pac-12 basketball.”
Bachynski was recruited to play at ASU, despite the fact the Calgary native took two years off for his Mormon mission. Before coming to Tempe, Sendek had never seen him play in person.
But, what he’s seen so far in 2012-2013 has to get him somewhat excited about the potential Bachysnki has yet to even tap into.
“Like many of our front court players historically, he continues to get better,” said Sendek. “You look at the succession of guys with Pendergraph and his continued improvement, followed by Boateng and what he was able to accomplish with his development. I think Jordan is on a very similar trajectory.”
Bachynski and the Sun Devils next take the court on Sunday when they play host to Florida A & M at 1 p.m.