If the Arizona State Sun Devils are to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009, they’ll have to get there on the strength of their starting five.
A quick glance at this week’s Pac-12 basketball statistics shows that three Sun Devils rank among the top five in minutes played. Senior Carrick Felix has played more than anybody in the conference — 38.3 minutes per game. Freshman Jahii Carson (37.8) ranks third and sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling (36.2) is fifth.
ASU head coach Herb Sendek is aware and concerned as his team enters the final stages of the 2012-13 regular season.
“It has been a concern here for a good while,” Sendek told Burns and Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 620. “Even Evan Gordon isn’t far behind, so we really have four guys who have played an awful lot of minutes and we try to factor that in as we go about our practice planning and our game management around our timeouts.
“It’s who we are and I don’t see it changing drastically between now and the end of the season.”
To Sendek’s point, Gordon averages 32.8 minutes per game and played 30 in his first game off the bench last Saturday in an overtime win over Colorado. Arizona State is the only team in the conference to have four players average over 32 minutes per game, but it’s not something the team dwells on.
“We really don’t make it a big topic of conversation,” Sendek said. “We just go out and play.”
The Sun Devils wrap up their home schedule with two crucial games this week. Washington State visits Tempe Wednesday night and Washington comes calling Saturday on Senior Night. Felix, Chris Colvin, Ruslan Pateev and Joey Hormes will be honored before the game against the Huskies.