Head basketball coach Herb Sendek had his weekly press conference on Tuesday and talked about the team’s preparation for their season opening game against Central Arkansas, as well as their preparation going forward.
The team had two exhibition matches in San Diego last week that were not open to the media, and Sendek did not go into detail about the scrimmages because of “NCAA rules.” He did, however, acknowledge that his team has not had a lot of practice time already this fall.
“This is the earliest [season] tipoff I’ve ever had as a coach. Right now we’re less than roughly four weeks into practice, so it is a fast turnaround,” Sendek said. “We’re pretty healthy right now. Fortunately we made it through the preseason as healthy as we have been in the last couple of years.”
Sendek said that he has not yet decided on a starting group for Saturday night’s game, but he will make the final decision later in the week after practice.
Saturday will be guard Jahii Carson’s much anticipated debut for the Sun Devils. Sendek addressed the monumental expectations that have followed Carson since high school.
“Those expectations are based on his legendary high school career here in the valley. Him not playing last year had the pot continuing to boil with those expectation,” Sendek said. “It’s important that we allow him to be himself. We realize that he’s at the start of his college career. I can assure you when he comes out on Saturday he’s going to be wearing an Arizona State shirt, he won’t be wearing an ‘S’ and a cape.”
Sendek was also asked what it was going to take to bring back the spotlight on ASU basketball.
“We have a group of guys that are easy to cheer for, easy to be proud of. Coaches and players alike realize the very powerful impact that the student body can have. Not only on game, day helping us get that home court advantage, but helping create the legend that helps attract recruits. Part of the basketball program being in the spotlight really falls on the shoulders of our students,” Sendek said.
Central Arkansas finished last year with an overall record of 8-21, and the team will have to prepare for them based on what they know from last season.
“We don’t have a whole lot of information, as you would imagine since this is the opener for both teams. You really go into the first game a little bit blindfolded, and you really have to focus more than normal on your good habits, your fundamentals, and on your own team.”
Senior guard Carrick Felix also took questions in the press conference. He says that his main goal is to make history for the maroon and gold basketball program.
“It’s going to be an exciting year. We have a chance to do something that has never been done in our team’s history, and that is being able to win a Pac-12 championship. I think we’re very capable of doing it.”
The Sun Devils tip-off the season against the Bears on Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.