What it will take to win: Arizona State

Coaching change season has kicked into gear in college basketball. Scout.com will look at the top available jobs and what it takes to win at each of them. Here the focus is on Arizona State.

Less than a year after signing a contract extension, Arizona State’s Herb Sendek was relieved of his duties as head men’s basketball coach on Tuesday. It came as somewhat of a surprise to many who follow the college game closely, but Sendek has been a lightning rod for criticism at times during his tenure in Tempe. Here is a look at what has to be done to build a winner at Arizona State.

The Recruiting Climate

After a few down years at the beginning of the decade, the West Coast has clearly been back in recent years, and that bodes well for Arizona State. Heck Sendek and his staff had recently done a very good job of not only getting heavily involved with prospects early on, but also landing some key commitments.

Four-star Brendan Bailey, a class of 2016 forward, picked the school and also in the 2015 class they pulled in another four-star prospect in Dominic Green.

While the state of Arizona and city of Phoenix will never be confused with being a basketball hotbed, the talent coming out has been decent, and there are a few good young prospects there for the taking.

What does make it a little bit tough is that Sean Miller and the machine down at Arizona are rolling just an hour south in Tucson, and then places like UCLA, USC, San Diego State, and UNLV all are in fairly close proximity and have a strong recruiting hold on prospects in the region as well. Still there is no reason that Arizona State shouldn’t be able to get their fair share of talent from Southern California.

The facilities in Tempe are solid, and the city is nice. It is a big school, with great weather, and an NBA star in James Harden went there, so it is fairly visible to kids in the area. While it isn’t the ideal recruiting super power, the right guy definitely has the opportunity to come in and make some waves on the recruiting trail with good prospects on the West Coast.

What type of coach is needed

When looking at the roster it is easy to see how next year will be a good one for Arizona State. They return four of their top five scorers, their top two rebounders, and top assist man. All that from a team that finished 9-9 in the Pac 12, and won a game in the NIT. Because of that, the next coach should first and foremost be someone who isn’t stubborn to his system, and willing to work with talent that he already has in place.

With that in mind, Arizona State is also in need of a salesman, someone who can be the face of the program. Attendance for home games is at an all-time low, and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of buzz surrounding the program. Because of that, someone who has a lot of energy and is willing to really engage with the community and bring people in is key. The Sun Devils have a good student section following, but now they need more bodies in the arena, if that happens they could create a hostile atmosphere to come in to, which could be good for an extra couple of wins per year.

Also at Arizona State the most important thing is simply talent acquisition. There are enough players in the West to make things good at Arizona State. Someone who knows the intricacies of recruiting Southern California is very important. If the Sun Devils can get the players not offered by Arizona and UCLA, and develop them, then they could turn into a power in the Pac 12, and quickly, since there is a lot of room for quick growth potential.

Overall there is a lot to like about this job, but this hire is crucial as not everyone is properly suited to be the head coach at a place like this. If the right coach is found, Arizona State could easily find itself in the top half of the league all the time and as someone in the NCAA Tournament very consistently.

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