Abbott admitted that his peaks and valleys could be attributed to being a true freshman last season. On the same token, he knows that any inconsistency he experiences this season cannot have the inexperience factor to fall on anymore.
"I know what to expect, I know it's gonna be a long season," explained Abbott. "Last season, I could have never prepared myself for that (length of season). Now I understand what I'm gonna go through."
His own expectations are in line with the team ones. With more and more pre-season top 25 rankings including the Devils, the maroon and gold certainly have more bounce in their step as they are determined to validate those accolades.
"Now we know we can do it," claimed Abbott. "Last year when we came into the season, we really didn't know what to expect. After a year like last year we want to come out and live up to our own expectations."
"High expectations are always good, but we're more worried about getting wins. If you keep on winning the high expectations will still be there. When you win everything takes care of itself…we don't have any pressure because of those expectations – we just want to win."
At Phoenix Desert Vista, Abbott paced the Thunder in scoring in his senior year with 17.3 ppg and shot 63% from the field and 50% from three-point range. Even though his shooting prowess naturally had a lot to do with his proficiency behind the arc, his ability to slash to the basket was just as great of a factor, if not more.
As a freshman for the maroon and gold, he was first (and by a mile) on the team in three-point field goals made with 76, but only shot those at a 35.3% clip. Furthermore, he converted just 36 field goals that were attempted from two-point range.
Abbott claimed that there was never a clear plan last season to make him a deep threat specialist, and it was just a matter of naturally fitting into an offensive role. It was a process that evolved as the personnel around him started to settle into their own respective tasks.
"Jeff (Pendergraph) was inside, James (Harden) was the slasher," commented Abbott. "I knew when he was driving or when Jeff gets the ball in the paint the defense was gonna collapse on them. So that's how it all worked out in practice and carried over to the games."
"But this year I'm gonna have to slash to the basket more. People aren't just gonna let me stand out there and shoot the ball. With James and Jeff commanding so much attention, someone else needs to step in and help them. If we can do that successfully it will put the defense in a lot of scramble."
In light of his shooting performances last season, the sophomore had heard the jokes about him making sure to locate the three-point line when he gets the ball and only attempting his shot when he set beyond the arc. He naturally laughs off that notion, but realizes that his shooting from shorter ranges could improve.
"If I get the ball and I have a good shot I'm shooting it no matter where I am on the floor," stated Abbot. "Obviously I need get better shooting the two and the three (pointers)."
Abbott added 15 pounds since last year (to 215), and stated that his strength and ball handling skills are areas of his game where he feels he made great strides in during the off-season. As the hometown kid, every step of his career is of course watched very closely by several pair of eyes at Wells Fargo Arena.
Abbott wouldn't have it any other way.
"I like that I have a lot of friends that go to ASU and come to the games," he said. "The biggest thing is that my Mom gets top go to the games. That's very important to me."