Herb Sendek

Arizona State hires experienced JUCO head coach Barret Peery to assistant coaching position

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It’s been a rough few weeks for the Arizona State Sun Devils as the Pac-12 squad lost on the NCAA Tournament’s only true buzzer-beater, lost Jahii Carson to the pros, and senior starters Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall graduated.

Herb Sendek’s squad has also lost three transfers this offseason including Brandan Kearney, Egor Koulechov and Calaen Robinson along with assistant coach Eric Musselman.

The Sun Devils finally got some good news on Friday as the school announced the hiring of successful junior college head coach Barret Peery to an assistant coaching position.

Peery spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Indian Hills Community College, compiling a 93-11 overall record while sending 15 players from the program onto Division I scholarships. Peery also led Indian Hills to the 2013-14 national title game and has previous experience as an assistant coach at Utah under Jim Boylen, while also leading junior college power College of Southern Idaho to an 85-19 mark in three seasons before his stint at Utah.

“Barret has proven to be a great recruiter and coach with a solid background,” said Sendek in the release. “We wanted to move quickly to hire a person who could make a difference in all facets of our program and continue our success and Coach Peery can do just that. We have had great success with our assistant coaches here, and Coach Peery fits the mold of what we have had in the past. He is committed, focused and understands the pace that we want to continue to play.”

The hiring of Peery for Arizona State is interesting for two reasons.

For one, Peery is used to significant roster turnover as a veteran junior college head coach and he’ll be asked to assist an Arizona State program that will need to re-stock on talent after the previously mentioned roster losses sustained this offseason. Peery coached 15 DI players at Indian Hills and 23 more DI players in three years at CSI, so he’s used to recruiting high-level players in a short amount of time while building rosters of players with minimal time together.

Peery’s style of play preference is another interesting tidbit in his hiring under Sendek. While Sendek was noted for his slow style of play before having a jet at point guard like Carson, the veteran head coach sped up the Sun Devils’ offense with Carson at the helm. It’ll be interesting to see which style of play Sendek goes with now that Jahii is moving on to the pros.

This comes into play with Peery because both of his teams at CSI and Indian Hills were among the highest-scoring teams in the country. CSI was the highest-scoring junior college team in the country two of three seasons with Peery at the helm while more of the same occurred at Indian Hills, including a school-record 97.9 points per game in 2012-13.

Can Peery make a difference on the recruiting trail and as a coach for the Sun Devils? Time will tell, but given his track record of recruiting junior college kids and playing in an uptempo system, he should be helpful in the immediate future for Arizona State on the recruiting trail.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.