Evans Pleased With Team Heading Into Pac-10 Play

Sitting at 8-3 does look nice for the record books. However, Coach Rob Evans looks at the maturity and execution of his squad, as the factors that please him the most this far in the season. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview, the Sun Devils coach evaluates his team's performance to date, and talks about the start of conference play tomorrow.

The fifth year coach is neither surprised not disappointed with the way his troops have performed thus far regardless of their record. "The record isn't a factor for me. What I'm pleased with is the way we're playing right now. I think the guys have done a good job buying into our defensive philosophy, and showing patience on offense. So, I'm pleased with the progress they made regardless of where we are as far as the record is concerned."

The Pac-10's non-conference showing in the last couple of months has been far from stellar to say the least. Evans doesn't put much credence is that trend, when it comes to predicting ASU's chances against its conference foes. "I think that not only in the Pac-10, but around the country you just have a lot of parity. That's why you see so many upsets. Pac-10 will be like it always has been - It's a difficult conference. Some teams have young guys that are getting better all the time. Some teams played a little more difficult schedule than others. But it's gonna be a tough league. Where do we stand? We'll find out in due time. I think we've played a very good schedule, and our team has matured a lot. I'm more concerned about us continuing to get better, more than where we fit in the Pac-10."

While the Sun Devils' coach isn't astonished by his team's achievements until now, he does point some pleasant accomplishments that were maybe not expected. "The most pleasant surprise is that we have shown a lot more maturity when we get big leads, because we continue to lead and put away teams that we should put away. We're sustaining defensive effort for longer times, and showing patience on both offense and defense when we need to…Individually, I think Shawn Redhage has really picked up his play. I really like the way he's playing. Donnell Knight has been a pleasure. He's playing much tougher for us, and playing a key role for us rebounding the ball. Tommy Smith has done a good job of being focused and staying out of trouble (fouls and turnovers). Ike Diogu of course, has really played well for a freshman. I think Curtis Millage has started to pick up his play. So we have a lot of guys that have played well for us, and some that will continue to play better. Overall, I'm real pleased with the effort and concentration."

The Sun Devils open up the Pac-10 schedule in the state of Oregon. These road games more than probably any other road trip, will pit ASU against one of the weaker teams in the league (Oregon State), before playing arguably the best team in the division (Oregon). How does Evans prepare for his first two Pac-10 matches? "The only game I'm concerned with is Oregon State. You can't look pass one game in this league, especially when you're playing on the road. We want to come out and play well, and we have to execute no matter whom we're playing. If we do everything we need to do, the rest will take care of itself. This season is marathon not a sprint. So, we're looking just to win this Basketball game (against Oregon State) now."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories