Arizona State senior Jordan Bachynski is a man among boys, literally and figuratively.
The 7-foot-2, 24-year-old center got married back in 2011 and is expecting a child this summer. In an interview Tuesday on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Bachynski said he’s more focused on providing for his family and doing well on the court than he is in going to parties or anything else that might distract a college athlete.
The Calgary, Alberta, native closed the interview by saying his wife had a specific request for Valentine’s Day.
“My wife is a huge support to me. The only thing she asked for Valentine’s Day was a win against Arizona,” he said.
It was an almost unthinkable inquiry, but Arizona State was able to fulfill her wish Friday, as the Sun Devils upset the No. 2 Wildcats 69-66 in double overtime.
Bachynski, the team’s defensive anchor, was a big factor in the win. The Sun Devils center, who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the week before, grabbed seven rebounds and scored 13 points in 47 minutes, including making 7-of-11 free throws.
But, as usual, it was his shot-blocking ability that made the difference. The Pac-12’s all-time leading shot blocker swatted away a whopping eight Arizona attempts, giving him 24 in his last three games.
None was bigger than the high-flying rejection of Wildcats guard T.J. McConnell’s layup in the closing moments of the second overtime with ASU up by one. The block led to a Jahii Carson dunk with 0.7 seconds left that all but cemented the game for the Sun Devils, who improved to 8-4 in conference (19-6 overall).
“I felt it was a little bit late, but I must’ve got it right at the peak,” Bachynski said of the McConnell rejection. “Just an amazing feeling. And for Jahii to pick it up and dunk it at the other end to expand the lead, there’s no word to describe that.”
The Canadian big man’s blocks have become so frequent that the Sun Devils head coach has almost grown to expect them out of his starting center.
“Sometimes when something becomes common, you stop paying attention to it,” Herb Sendek said positively about Bachynski after the game. “We’re not talking two, and three, and four blocks (in a game).”
Bachynski wasn’t able to spend the evening hours of Valentine’s Day with his significant other, but he was able to meet her request, giving the Sun Devils program a landmark win in the process.