Coach's Sendek Media Day Quotes

Thursday marked ASU Men's Basketball Media Day, and Head Coach Herb Sendek talked to reporters about the upcoming season and various team aspects.

Sendek on the experience of 2008 men's basketball team:

"It's a little bit of an oxymoron. We're an experienced team but we have one senior and three juniors. So from that stand point our upper classes are not flooded but we have guys who have played in games. We have guys who have gone through the Pac-10 and as a result we do have some experience on our basketball team.

Sendek on hunger of 2008 team:

"We always want to learn from every experience. We come to this moment bringing forward all the things we've gone through in the past. But at the same time it's important that although we learn from the past that we really focus on the present. This is a new season and a new team and I think we need to treat it as such. Our guys certainly remember the message learned from last year but this is a new team with different dynamics and a brand new schedule to play."

Sendek on this year's offense:

"Some things will remain the same. We will hold onto our core principals, the things we think have to be part of every team we have. We will always try to put the players we have in the best position to be successful. So as we learn more about the strengths of our returning players we try to incorporate new guys. We're always going to make some shifts to hopefully improve and put our guys in the best position to have a good season. We will always have some new things that best take advantage of our present personnel."

Sendek on preventing team from buying into their own hype:

"I think our guys have a very nice balance of humility. They recognize that they have a great deal to work on offset by a reasonable self-confidence, a sense of sureness about themselves. I don't see them getting carried away in either direction. You need both in sports to be successful. You have to have a sense of humility to stay hungry. You keep striving to improve. But at the same time in order to compete at the highest level you have to feel good about yourself. I see our team as being able to balance the two. I don't see them getting carried away with themselves but at the same time I don't see them being shrinking violets either."

Sendek on incoming freshman:

"Well, obviously last year out of necessity our freshman had to play immediately. They had to play, in many cases significant roles from the first day of practice. I don't know if that'll be the case this year. Our rotation will be determined on the practice floor the next several weeks."

Sendek on managing expectations:

"I think expectations are a good thing. I'm glad that people are talking positively about Arizona State basketball. I'm glad we're in the discussion. I don't want to shy away from that. We welcome that. It certainly beats the alternative. If people expect you to do bad, if they don't think highly of you, that's a problem of different sorts. Of the two I'd much rather manage expectations than dealing with the alternative. I like the challenge of the higher expectations much better. But at the same time it's clear that we have a lot of work left to do. It's important to keep our feet on the ground and maintain that grind it mentality."

Sendek on James Harden:

Well James has deserved everything that has come his way. He clearly distinguished himself as one of the best players in the country. When he decided to return he automatically became one of the preseason favorites for All American teams and for other notorieties. He's a special player and he's even a better person. He's a gentleman. He has a great personality and a great sense of humor. He's so unselfish and so team centered that you couldn't ask for someone with his talent quotient to be better in those areas. I knew we had an extraordinary young man and I think at every turn he stepped up and delivered last year."

Sendek on Eric Boateng:

"Eric has had a terrific off season. Believe it or not his body fat percentage now is about eight percent. He was in the neighborhood of eighteen percent. He literally has carved out a new body. Last year he regained experience after a two year break. He played his best basketball at the end of the year down the home stretch. With the kind of off season he's had I expect him to pick up where he left off and have a terrific junior year for us. I think that Jeff and Eric can play together and that our team will be flexible in the kinds of lineups we put together."

Sendek on Jeff Pendergraph:

"I asked Jeff when I first arrived here to be like Tim Duncan for us. Not just a great player on the floor but a real ambassador and he has really embraced that role. We've used him to help with recruiting, we've used him to help us with marketing, if guests come to practice he's always the guy to stay after and spend five minutes with them, he's done a terrific job in the classroom and has really been the face of our program on and off the court for the last four year so he has meant a tremendous amount to our basketball program. We're delighted he made the decision to come back for his senior year."

Sendek on the new deeper three-point line:

"It remains to be seen how dramatic of an effect it has on college basketball. If I had a guess I'd say the percentages will drop marginally. Some coaches may look at it and say we need to play more zone because of it. Some three-point shooters may be eliminated. But it will probably have a marginal impact. I said back in 1987 that the single biggest effect it would have is an increased number of upsets, and I think it has."

Sendek on Scheduling:

"I think our schedule turned out very challenging. Quite honestly it was going to be even more challenging. We had a couple of things fall through at the stroke of midnight that probably made it a little softer than it would have been. Scheduling is a two way street. It's not just what you want to do. There has to be reciprocity from the other side. But I think our schedule is very competitive. We always want to schedule with the intent of giving our team the best chance of making the NCAA tournament."

Sendek on Ty Abbott and other players stepping up

"Obviously the best teams have great players who step up and can get things done, especially in clutch times. But good teams also have the ability to beat you in a variety of ways. To have different guys step up on different nights. I thought we had some of that last year. I expect us to be able to do that again this year. Guys just have to understand their roles and the end of the day it's the ultimate team game. Ty had a terrific freshman year with his three- point shooting but he also helped us in so many other ways. Our game at Cal really stands out. Time and time again he made big threes. I can remember here against Arizona, 1:30 left down 5 and he hits a big three. He misses that and we don't win. He just had a tremendous capacity to make big shots for us last year."

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