Sendek: transfers reflect game's landscape

Keala King who was dismissed from the ream over the weekend became the eighth player since the 2008 recruiting class to leave the ASU basketball team within the first two years of being in the program. Head coach Herb Sendek said that the volume of transfers is an occurrence that isn't unique to his team and in fact representative of a bigger problem in the sport, as well as society in general.

"I think it's really happening throughout college basketball," Sendek said on Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "I saw a statistic last year that 40 percent of all Division I players transfer by their sophomore year. That is a staggering number….like a lot of things in sports I think it reflects our culture in general. When I grew up, Roberto Celemente was going to be a Pittsburgh Pirate, but Barry Bonds wasn't. When he (Bonds) reached a certain level, he was going to go where the market dictated.

"We are in a society that leases, but doesn't buy. If you look at the guys that have left our program, I think almost to a man it has been because of playing time. Even guys that are playing some, but who want to play more. If you look at some of the guys that have left our program, almost to a man transferred down in levels where they can play more."

Sendek added that the transfers' trend in his program is something that isn't exclusive to ASU and that other conference schools have been dealing with the same issues.

"Guys in the starting lineup transfer in mid-season, like Gary Franklin from Cal," Sendek commented. "Or Bryce Jones at USC. Two freshmen who were starting and left at Christmas. So yes, we had some players leave but I think it's an epidemic in college sports that really reflects what is happening in our society."

Sendek acknowledged the perception that programs may be "doing something wrong" when players do transfer out of the program, but contended that to do so would be a clear distortion of the facts on hand.

"But I think that is the natural intimation," Sendek said. "Whereas maybe a generation ago, if somebody left the program the eyes would not go on the program, the eyes would go on that person ‘Why didn't you stick it out? Why didn't you work harder, pay your dues?'

"But now the intimation from the media, from our society is ‘Well, Joey left your program. Didn't you love Joey enough?'

Sendek remarked he would obviously love to see every player who he recruits and signs to ASU to stay for the duration and get their degree, and that he and his staff work hard to find the best players he can to carry out that goal.

"But in some instances it's better for them not to stay," Sendek contended. "It's not always a bad thing if somebody leaves. Are you going to have the same job your whole career? Is everybody here going to be in the same position if you don't get the promotion you want? "If you leave, does that mean the company that you leaving should have done more for you? Maybe you were just behind in seniority in that spot. It's not that the company that you are working with now did a poor job in interviewing you and hiring you.

"We've had guys that came to me and said ‘Coach, what's my role going to be next year? I want to play more.' And If I constructed some storybook story for them they would have stayed. But I was honest and I said ‘this is what you're up against. Here is who's in your position. If you want to play more, here is a level that you can probably do it in.' So that's a good thing."

Sendek however admitted that he and his staff are not "batting a high enough percentage in some of our personnel decisions" but said that this is no different than drafting a player in professional sports.

"You will never bat a 100 percent," Sendek declared. "It's not even conceivably possible. If that was the case Michael Jordan would be the first pick in the NBA draft."

When asked specifically about King's dismissal from the team, the ASU head coach said that it was a tough decision, but one that made sense for both sides.

"I think that it's important that regardless of circumstances we maintain certain standards and expectations," Sendek said. "We spent a lot of time together and in the final analysis it made great sense for our program and for Keala that he have a new beginning. That is never an easy decision when you are wrestling with a young's man's future. That's an agonizing process.

"But being as close to the situation as I was on a daily basis, it became fairly clear to me that it would benefit our program, and just as importantly benefit Keala to have a new beginning. Standards and expectations are important for us and they are also important to him."

Sendek added that it would be to King's benefit not to play point guard. The sophomore was forced into this role out of necessity when Jahii Carson didn't qualify and Chris Colvin was having a rough transition in his first year with the Sun Devils.

Speaking of Colvin, both he and Kyle Cain were suspended along with King last week and didn't travel with the team the Los Angeles schools. Nonetheless, Sendek stated that both players have been reinstated and will play this week against the Oregon schools, starting with the University of Oregon on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

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