Dec. 29, 2012
QUOTING COACH SENDEK
ON HAVING MORE WINS THAN ALL OF LAST YEAR...IT MUST FEEL GOOD.
“I thought our guys played a good game today. Obviously now, we are ready to turn the page to start Pac-12 play. For the most part, as we look back to the middle of November when we started, I think our guys have played good basketball and have steadily gotten better. So it’s been a good non-conference for us.”
JAHII MENTIONED HOW THE RECORD KIND OF STARTS ALL OVER NOW, YOU’RE 0-0 GOING INTO PAC-12...
“Sure, our non-conference record sort of gets set on a mantle, hopefully a lot of good lessons well learned, some good habits well formed, but in college basketball when you get into the conference, everything kind of gets reset, and then it happens again when you get into the conference tournament. College basketball has three seasons within one. This non-conference season we really did a good job of focusing on the game at hand. We didn’t take anything for granted. We prepared and approached each and every game as if it was the most important game on our schedule. I was really pleased with our guys approach. Sometimes no matter how much you talk about it, as much as you emphasis it, as much as that should be the case, sometimes it doesn’t happen and it should happen. I am really pleased with their approach. I think our guys have been excited about playing; they look forward to playing. I think they get a certain joy in playing right now. I think they look forward to coming to the gym, even if it’s for practice or for a game.”
HOW CAN YOU MEASURE JAHII’S IMPROVEMENT OVER THE BRIEF TIME YOU’VE HAD HIM IN GAME ACTION?
“He is a willing listener and learner. We spend time together talking one on one, watching tape, and he has been extremely receptive to coaching and teaching. He wants to learn, he wants to get better, and he really makes an effort to take what we’re talking about and apply it in the games. I really enjoy working with him from that standpoint as a teacher and a coach and that’s all you can ask for.”
IN WHAT SEVERAL AREAS HAVE YOU SEEN IMPROVEMENT IN THE LAST SIX WEEKS?
“I hope we’ve improved in all areas. I don’t know if I can hasten or point out any one, maybe most recently we’ve started to have more fluidity and ball movement on offense. Nothing is static; things you think you’re doing well today could be the very things that in the next stretch of games you’re scratching your head saying ‘what a second? We have slippage here.’ That’s the nature of what we do and have to improve on a broad based front. Even though I think our guys have a measure of self-confidence right now and they feel good about themselves; I think they also have a good balance with their feet on the ground. I think they would be the first to tell you that we still have to get a lot lot better. We face some rigorous competition around the corner.”
HOW DO THESE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES PREPARE YOU FOR THE CONFERENCE PLAY?
“Well every time we’ve had an experience, whether it’s a film session or a practice or a shoot around or the day of the game or a contest, it’s an opportunity to improve, learn, and build new habits, and that’s what we do. We came in this morning and for about a half hour went over the game plan, we had our walkthrough, that’s an opportunity to get better. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, forming a good habit or a bad habit, it’s unlikely you’re staying the same. So, each of these thirteen games has been part of that process for our team.”
WHAT’S JON (GILLING) DONE AND THE TEAM DONE LATELY TO FREE HIM UP AT THE THREE POINT LINE?
“Well I think we’re doing a better job of recognizing the fact that he’s a good shooter and he’s on our team.”
THERE WERE VERY LIMITED NUMBER OF TOUCHES IN THE POST TODAY AND IN CONFERENCE PLAY SOMETIMES THE GAME DOES COME TO A GRINDING HALT. HOW DO YOU SEE THE TEAM PERFORMING IN A HALF-COURT OFFENSE?
“It’s important for us to go inside, and we emphasize that every day. We want to play good inside out basketball, but at the same time we also have to recognize what the defense is doing. Some teams are more committed to taking away the inside than others; Coppin typically traps the post, sometimes not only with one defender but multiple defenders. So even when we do throw it in on those possessions, it was unlikely we were going to get a shot. We threw it in a number of times today and it resulted in a kick out and either a repost or ball movement ball reversal. Other teams will elect to not send a second, or in this case, a third defender in the post, then it will be more incumbent on us to get more shots inside. Getting shots inside in basketball is like getting a few yards on the ground in football, it’s important.”
CARRICK HAS ONE OF THOSE PLAYS THAT GETS YOU OUT OF YOUR SEATS WITH THAT BLOCK TODAY, HOW HAS HE GROWN IN HIS SENIOR YEAR?
“He’s grown immeasurably; we don’t have a tape measure that stretches far enough. I’ve said this before, and it will probably go over most of your heads because I’m probably the oldest guy here, but it’s like Underdog going into the phone booth. Since the end of last season, he has transformed himself in every positive way. His energy and his effort and his brilliant play have really sustained us in so many ways. In the last two days, he has been battling an intestinal problem, and we all know how that can drain your energy. When you have that you don’t even want to get off the couch, let alone play basketball. Yet, he didn’t want to miss a second of yesterdays practice; he’d have none of it. He came today to our shoot around in a big hoody sweatshirt, trying to keep the chills away, and he played. I think that kind of effort, that kind of mindset, probably sums up pretty well what we’re talking about with respect to Carrick’s commitment and his heart.”
SO WITH THIS SEASON GOING YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF NEW STAFF, HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE THEY’RE CONTRIBUTING?
“We have a good spirit in our building. I think our staff gets along very well, I think we have good exchanges, but we have goo unity once a decision has been made. I think our players have good chemistry, as Jahii said. I think they genuinely like each other, and when you talk about the importance of chemistry as a coach, it’s hard to make people at the end of the day to get along. But I think our guys do, so I think the combination of all of that leads to a good spirit in our building. I think coaches, players, and managers, and all of our support people really enjoy coming to the gym. When practice starts in our building, it’s not ‘Aww man here we go again, we gotta get through this’. There’s a sense of good feeling in the air and that’s fun to be a part of.”
IN THE NEXT GAME JORDAN WILL PLAY AGAINST HIS BROTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE, IS HE BRINGING UP THAT SIBLING RIVALRY?
“It’s a fun topic for everyone to talk about, but at the end of the day it’s obviously Arizona State versus Utah. That’s just going to be one aspect of the whole game. Typically, we have fun picking out those things, whether it’s a coaching matchup like Herb Sendek versus Billy Donovan, or whatever the case may be, but once the game starts it’s not this coach versus that coach, or this player against that player, because we’re all wrapped up in the ultimate team game, and everybody has their role to play.”