The Arizona St. Sun Devils have arguably been one of the worst major college basketball programs in the country the past two years. Defections have killed ASU after nearly winning a conference crown in 2010, as they've finished 22-40 over the past two seasons. Herb Sendek is left putting bandages on everything and everyone just to hope the bleeding somehow stops.
The offseason before the offseason is already bordering on disastrous:
- Jahii Carson's academic issues could end his career with the Sun Devils before it even begins.
- ASU loses Trent Lockett because of terrible circumstances with his mother.
- The supposedly talented but inefficient Keala King was dismissed for violating team rules.
- Chanse Creekmur decided to give up on basketball in Tempe to play football in Iowa. (You could make the joke that ASU's season was so bad it's making people give up on the sport, but it's tacky, so I'll just mention it and take your ridicule).
- Kyle Cain decided to go normally.
If you guys are counting at home, that's four freshmen/sophomores (true or redshirt) that are in danger of not playing past their first year in action for ASU (and in Carson's case, past any action). None of these guys were impact players, but you figure with development they would get better going into another campaign. That never panned out, and ASU is now stuck where they are.
So ASU will have to rely on more transfers, late signings, probably some JuCo risks, anything to field a decent basketball team. And more importantly Arizona State has an older core filled with mediocre to average players. The ASU starting five next season could give Utah's starting five this season a basketball game worthy of rapture.
It leaves Herb Sendek in a curious situation. No doubt he's running on a terrible string of bad luck, and more importantly most of it was uncontrollable. Will the athletic department be as forgiving about his inability to recruit players that'll stick? Hard to tell, but Sendek is presiding over a pretty painful run. Considering the last NCAA bid was 2009, another poor season could make the Devils consider starting over in the coaching department the same way they keep on seeming to start over in the playing department.
One thing's for certain: Arizona State is going to have to rely on a lot of faces they weren't expecting to lead the program as early as a month ago. Jonathan Gilling, Carrick Felix, Jordan Bachynski and Ruslan Pateev are all going to show what they're made of, because there's no one else to cover up for them if they mess up.