Lockett looks to build on momentum

Any coach will tell you that the biggest improvement in a player takes place between their freshman and sophomore seasons, which why big things are expected from Trent Lockett. The guard had a productive off-season which he hopes is a prelude to a successful sophomore campaign.

Lockett and his teammates are wrapping up their off-season conditioning in preparation for pre-season team practices, which begin this Friday.

"It's going well," Lockett said. "Guys are working hard as far as in the weight room and conditioning, stuff like that. We're definitely looking forward to the first day of practice and kind of applying everything to get ready for the first game."

Throughout the off-season the maroon and gold had little time to rest while they participated in intensive weight training and conditioning in order to stay in shape for their upcoming season. Lockett also spent his time working on one of the weaker aspects of his game - his jump shot.

"Weight lifting and conditioning was kind of just getting into basketball shape," Lockett admitted. "Weight lifting to gain muscle but not a whole lot of weight, just changing my physique a little bit. Basketball wise was main my jump shot and ball handling, attacking off the dribble. I wasn't trying to make too many changes, just get stronger but not bulk up."

As Lockett approaches his sophomore season as a Sun Devil the 6-4 210 wing believes that knowing what to expect this time around will make the world of a difference for him.

"As far as conditioning balancing your schedule and everything, it's so much easier the second time around," Lockett said. "I know what to expect and I'm not just walking through the smoke not knowing what to expect. Second year has definitely been a lot easier and more manageable than my freshman year. It's going to be a good year."

From the beginning, Lockett was a standout as the first of the 2009 class to commit to Arizona State. Lockett started in 15 games for the maroon and gold and had 9 double-figure scoring games but like many newcomers ‘hit a wall' and struggled at times but ultimately bounced back with energy and enthusiasm. The freshman averaged 6.7-points and 3.4 rebounds-per-game.

"I think that's part of being a freshman," Lockett stated. "I didn't know what to expect and didn't know the type of intensity that I needed to maintain to play at that level. This year, I'm in a much different place mentally and I think it's going to be a much different outcome."

The Sun Devils faced Duke early in 2009, a team that eventually went on to win the NCAA championship. Although the maroon and gold fell 53-64, they proved their ability to compete at a high level. Lockett's play was cut short due to foul trouble but managed to score 13-points during the matchup, one of his most impressive performances.

"It was just disappointing from that game that we played them so tough in the first half," Lockett recalled. "Then they ended up winning in national championship. I guess not to be intimidated by anybody because they're supposed to be the number one team in the nation and we obviously could have beat them if we played up to our full potential. It gave us the confidence that we can win every game we play.

"It let me know that if I'm aggressive, good things will happen and that's basically the main thing I guess."

Last season Lockett capitalized on his ability to effectively drive to the basket but lacked success hitting the jump shot. Last year Lockett made a mere four shots from beyond the arc. In order to become a more versatile player, Lockett spent the off-season focusing on improving his shot.

"Just getting up shots in game situations, cutting off screens and putting yourself in that game makes the world of a difference instead of just shooting to shoot," Lockett noted. "As far as playing pickup and 1-on-1 with the guys, it's harder to guard me because I've added another aspect to my game."

Lockett is a member of ASU's Barrett Honors College at ASU, which requires the student-athlete to engage in a more demanding academic schedule and a more intensive workload compared to the average student.

"It's harder," Lockett admitted. "It's a lot more time than a normal class and the kids in there are different than your average student but I'm glad I did it but it's a struggle. It's basically school with extras added onto it. If you want honors credit you have to take a class and do extra assignments to get it so it's just a little bump up academically."

Over the summer, ASU Assistant Coach Lamont Smith assembled an All-Star Team through the Global Sports Academy. Lockett joined the team for a 9-day tournament in Europe as they toured Belgium, Germany and France. The team played in 6 games throughout the trip where Lockett averaged 26-points.

"During the off season, you're mostly just doing drills and stuff but when I went over to Europe it was good to get in game situations," Lockett said. "I put the drills in action and see how you have improved. It was definitely a good measuring stick and I'm happy with what I did over there.

"Basketball wise, it's a totally different game but off the court is a totally different world. The different cultures, the natives don't really speak English so it's hard to communicate."

The maroon and gold are welcoming seven newcomers to their roster in 2010 and will have to make a point of developing good team chemistry in order to be a productive unit. The chemistry of a team is as important as ever when integrating that number of athletes but thus far Lockett believes the team is heading in the right direction.

"I think this year, we're meshing together as a team really well," Lockett said. "Everybody is coming in with a good work ethic, a good attitude and willing to learn which is the biggest thing I think. We have definitely started to build team chemistry and through practice and the beginning of the season, we will build on that."

Despite the amount of new faces that are joining the Sun Devils, the five returning athletes are determined to ensure their teammates are prepared for what lies ahead. With a rigorous 2010-2011 schedule ahead of them, Lockett and his teammates plan on wasting no time getting their season heading in the right direction.

"We plan on coming out of the gate strong," Lockett said. "As returners we let the newcomers know what to expect as far as practice and games and everything like that. They're definitely willing to learn and grasping it pretty well I think so we expect to have a good start and continue that."

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