(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
With the firing of head coach Herb Sendek after nine seasons in the Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball program, the team will follow its season in which they had to deal with inexperience by adding a brand new coach to the system.
Sendek had a 159-137 record in his nine seasons as the head of the up-and-down Devils, and had twice as many NIT appearances as NCAA Tournament appearances. The on-court mediocrity in the Sendek-era can be justified by the off-court mediocrity in the recruiting process, which has to be a major factor in the decision to let Sendek go.
Since 2011, ASU only brought in six in-state recruits, and only three of them remain on the roster. Two out of the other three transferred, and the other is Jahii Carson who left ASU early to play professionally. ASU currently has no commits from Arizona in its 2015 class, and only two commits in total, according to ESPN.
The failure to recruit at a high level showed this past season with the four junior college transfers that all played significant minutes in the rotation, and that could be a horrifying scene for ASU’s future.
If the recruitment of high school players is an issue and there are this many JUCO players on the roster, there are going to be some big holes left to fill in the coming years that have been proven to be difficult to fill in the past four seasons. A big splash in recruiting needs to be made for this team in the near future, and keeping Sendek in the hole he dug only asks for it to get even deeper.
That being said, the vacancy is there, and a Pac-12 coaching job is always one of high interest. Early rumors indicate that ASU is targeting Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel, who spent 11 seasons as the head coach of VCU and Oklahoma before joining Mike Krsyzewski’s staff..
Another candidate that would very well fit is Dayton University head coach Archie Miller. Miller, who in the past two seasons has brought in more three-star recruits (according to ESPN) than Sendek, has led Dayton to consecutive tournament appearances, and made the Elite Eight in last season’s tournament before getting bounced by Florida.
If the recent success wasn’t enough to catch ASU’s eye, Miller’s brother Sean is the head coach at Arizona, and seeing both of their competitive spirits in action, it is hard to imagine either of them would be opposed to an in-state sibling rivalry.
The only downside to pursuing Miller is that his contract with Dayton would have to be bought out by ASU, which was recently extended into the 2018-19 season.
While the future seemed bright for the Sun Devils with their promise nearing the end of the season, what lies ahead for ASU basketball is in jeopardy once again.