Sendek believes down years won’t affect recruiting

Feb 8, 2012, 1:36 AM | Updated: 1:57 am

It’s no secret how much the Arizona State Sun Devil basketball program has struggled the past two seasons under the watchful eye of head coach Herb Sendek.

Sendek has numerous accolades on his coaching resume — stemming from a successful stint at NC State, where he led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA tournament appearances, and three straight 20-win seasons early in his tenure with ASU.

A program that had seemingly begun to flourish has since struggled to a disappointing 12-19 record in 2010-11, in which they were an abysmal 4-14 in conference, and an injury-plagued and suspension-laden season in 2011-2012.

Could this year be the worst of Sendek’s impressive career?

“Well it depends on how you define terms,” Sendek told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday. “If you would have said at the beginning or back in the summertime that we would be playing through the Pac-12 without Jahii [Carson], without Keala [King], without Trent [Lockett] — you probably would have said, ‘uh oh they may have a challenging go at it.'”

No doubt Sendek’s troops have been dealt a bad hand this season. The Devils have been without their team’s leading scorer Trent Lockett for a third of the season and boast a roster that’s lacking a great deal of depth and experience.

Sendek also had the difficult task of dismissing King from the team, who despite his talent and improvement on the court, displayed poor judgment and lacked the proper makeup and attitude off it.

“Those are the circumstances that you find yourself in and what you have to do when you’re in a leadership position is focus on the things you can control,” Sendek said. “It does no good to become unraveled and just keep the big picture in mind.”

Sendek has reconciled that ASU’s struggles off the court were one of those things that test a team’s character and resiliency, but he believes his program will bounce back.

“I don’t know of any business that you can be in that you’re not going to have some detours that you take,” Sendek explained. “You gotta stay the course and once again we’ve had a very long track record of doing things in a quality way and we’ll continue to do that.”

The Devils are currently 7-16 on the year and have seen their young roster exposed in conference play. Still, Sendek doesn’t believe his team’s consecutive down years will affect their ability to recruit at a high level.

“We have a really good class coming in that will be eligible next year,” Sendek said. “We have as it turns out three really good players sitting out and three really good freshmen coming in and right now I would tell you, although nobody has signed yet, we’re in a good place with our underclass recruiting because once again I think they know what our program stands for.”

Sendek is energized by the three new players that he will have next season. The trio has already begun practicing with the team this year, which is an encouraging sign that the Devils may not be far away from contending again soon.

“We have some good players in our program,” Sendek asserted. “We’ve had some things happen to us and we’re going to be fine, we really are.”

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