Herb Sendek

Arizona State fires head coach Herb Sendek


As expected, Arizona State has fired head coach Herb Sendek after nine seasons with the university.

Sendek had previously spent a decade at N.C. State, where he had led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA tournaments to close out his tenure. The Sun Devils reached just two NCAA tournaments under Sendek. The first came in 2009, when James Harden was on the roster, and the second was in 2014, when they lost to Texas in the opening round.

Arizona State went 18-16 this season, finishing just 9-9 in the Pac-12. He went 155-133 in his nine seasons in Tempe and just 68-86 in the Pac-12 during that stretch.

ESPN.com was the first to report that Sendek’s job was in jeopardy on Tuesday morning.


Arizona State uses balanced effort to upset No. 6 Arizona

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Given the personnel losses that occurred at the end of the 2013-14 season, Arizona State was expected to have some issues this season. And that was the case ahead of Saturday’s game against in-state rival No. 6 Arizona, as Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils had a record of 11-11 overall and 3-6 in Pac-12 play. However Arizona State played arguably its best game of the season against the Wildcats, using a balanced offensive effort to pull off the 81-78 upset win.

This is the second straight year in which Arizona State has beaten Arizona in Tempe, with a Jahii Carson dunk capping a wild (and controversial) win last season.

The issue for Arizona on Saturday was their defense, as Arizona State managed to shoot 50 percent from the field and 7-for-15 from beyond the arc. The Sun Devils were balanced offensively, with four players scoring between 14 and 18 points, but it was senior Bo Barnes who made the difference in the second half. Of his career-high 18 points Barnes scored 13 in the second half, and he also made all eight of his free throw attempts.

Add in freshman point guard Tra Holder, who scored ten of his 15 points in the first half and continued his recent run of solid play, and Arizona State more than held its own on the perimeter. The Sun Devils entered the game ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in points per possession (0.98; conference games only). They averaged 1.125 points per possession against the Wildcats who, while there aren’t as good defensively as they were a season ago, are still formidable on that end of the floor.

T.J. McConnell scored 25 points and dished out four assists for Arizona, shooting 11-for-19 from the field, but that number of shot attempts is too high for him. Arizona also managed to convert 18 offensive rebounds into 13 points, but that wasn’t enough to cover up for either their defense or the fact that starting center Kaleb Tarczewski scored just two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Last year’s team, which featured current pros Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, was able to buckle down defensively and thus cover up for their offensive deficiencies. This team doesn’t consistently defend at that level, and it can get them in trouble when faced with a team that can find and make decent looks. Whether it was Holder in the first half, Savon Goodman early in the second or Barnes down the stretch, Arizona State was able to win some individual battles offensively. That allowed them to establish the working margin needed to pull off the upset.

In that regard this loss looked similar to Arizona’s first loss of the season at UNLV, as they were unable to match up with either Rashad Vaughn or Christian Wood.

If Arizona is to get Sean Miller to his first Final Four, that has to change between now and mid-March. Arizona State’s ceiling obviously isn’t that high, but on Saturday they were the team that executed better. With that being the case, Sendek’s Sun Devils were rewarded with their biggest win of the season to date.


Four-star 2016 big man verbally commits to Arizona State

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With five of the eight front court players on their current roster being either juniors (three) or seniors (two), Arizona State is in a spot where adding some bodies for the future would be a goal. Sunday evening head coach Herb Sendek landed a verbal commitment from 2016 four-star power forward/center Lucas Siewert, a native of Brazil who attends Cathedral Prep in Los Angeles.

News of the 6-foot-10 Siewert’s commitment was announced on Twitter by the Cathedral Prep program. Rivals.com has Siewert ranked 100th in the 2016 class, and he is Arizona State’s second verbal commitment in that class.

Four-star small forward Brendan Bailey verbally committed to the Pac-12 program in late November.

According to MaxPreps, Siewert is currently averaging 7.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Cathedral Prep. He’s a player who’s capable of stepping out onto the perimeter and knocking down shots, which is helpful in ball-screen situations as Siewert’s a threat to pop for a jumper. Siewert played at the adidas Nations camp this past summer, grabbing 11 rebounds in one game, and he was listed as being 6-foot-8 during that event.

As stated above Arizona State stands to lose multiple front court players by the time Siewert arrives on campus, with sophomore Savon Goodman and freshmen Connor MacDougall and Cameron Gilbert being the three who will have eligibility remaining in 2016.

Arizona State received commitment from four-star 2016 recruit

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Arizona State received its first commitment in the Class of 2016 in the form of 6-foot-6 wing Brendan Bailey from American Fork High (Utah).

Josh Gerson of Scout.com was first to report the news on Sunday night.

“I thought it was the best fit for me,” Bailey told Gerson. “I just had such a great relationship with the whole entire coaching staff and a lot of other people there. I just thought it was the best place for me to become person and basketball player.

“I think I’ll fit in great because they play the same style of basketball that I like to play. They get up and down, which I like to do, and they shoot a lot of threes and I like to do that also.”

Bailey’s sister, BreElle, is a member of the Sun Devils volleyball team.

The 6-foot-7 Bailey is rated as the No. 79 overall junior by Rivals.

Arizona State cuts ties with junior college recruit following arrest

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After a weekend arrest for allegedly stealing a few DVDs from Walmart, Arizona State has cut ties with 2015 recruit and junior college big man Jordan Washington.

According to Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com, Arizona State will part ways with the 6-foot-8, 280-pound Washington after the Indian Hills Junior College big man was charged with fifth degree theft.

Washington was arrested on September 11 at the Ottumwa, Iowa Walmart for allegedly stealing “Curse of Chucky” and “Taken” DVDs. The total value for the two DVDs was $17.84.

The Sun Devils took a commitment from Washington during his official visit on September 5th, but will now look to fill the scholarship elsewhere. Had Washington ended up at Arizona State he would have played for his former head coach at Indian Hills, Barret Peery, who is now an assistant coach under Herb Sendek.

Washington averaged 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game for Indiana Hills last season as they lost in the NJCAA national title game. Washington also had interest from Cincinnati, Pitt, Seton Hall and UNLV and when committed to Arizona State.

Arizona State still owns commitments in the the 2015 class from high school small forward Dominic Green and junior college guard Andre Spight.

Arizona State lands commitment from three-star 2015 JuCo power forward

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For the second time in the span of a month, Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek landed a 2015 commitment from a three-star JuCo recruit. On Friday night, Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) power forward Jordan Washington committed to the Sun Devils, according to a report from Brad Winton of JuCoRecruiting.com.

The 6-foot-8 Washington was on an official visit to the Tempe, Arizona campus. Last month, 6-foot-3 guard Andre Spight from South Plains Community College (Texas) pledged to Arizona State. While Washington will bring his physical style of play to the post, Spight told NBCSports.com in July that he is looking to develop his point guard skills. The junior college duo joins three-star small forward Dominic Green in the Sun Devils’ incoming class.

In 35 games for Indian Hills, Washington averaged 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

The Sun Devils reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in five season this past March. Though, they lose their three top three contributors from a season ago as Jahii Carson, Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall have all left the program. Washington, Spight and Green will follow a seven-man 2014 recruiting class.

Sendek, who is entering his ninth season as the head coach at Arizona State, received a contract extension on Sept. 1.