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CollegeInsider.com tabs Jeff Pendergraph with preseason honor


November 09, 2007

Junior forward Jeff Pendergraph already a top 50 preseason candidate for the 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award, has been chosen by collegeinsider.com as one of its 21 preseason honor roll selections.

Pendergraph is one of three Pac-10 players on the list. ASU opens it season Nov. 19 against Illinois in the Maui Invitational (6:30 p.m. HT on ESPN2). The only other collegeinsider.com preseason honor roll player in the Maui Invitational is Dominic James of Marquette.

"There's no question Jeff has presented himself as a great ambassador, not just for our program, but the university," says ASU second-year head coach Herb Sendek. "I can recall having a conversation with him, probably within the first week that I was on the job, and I asked him to really take ownership of our program beyond just what happened on the court. The one guy that I have great respect for, that I ask him to perhaps model some of his abilities after, would be Tim Duncan. Whether it's in recruiting, whether it's in a marketing video, all the different things that comprise the presentation of our program, I asked Jeff to have a real ownership piece in that, and he's responded wonderfully."

Other ASU opponents on the list include Chase Budinger (Arizona) and Darren Collison (UCLA).

The economics major has established himself as one of the best post players in the Pac-10 the past two seasons as his work ethic both on the court and in the classroom are off the charts. He is on pace to earn his economics degree sometime in 2008. He easily had the best freshman "surprise" season in the Pac-10 in 2005-2006 and then increased his weight by 20 pounds from the fall of his freshman season (210) to last year (230) and improved on his numbers in all categories. Despite missing all of fall conditioning and most of November in his freshman year after fall surgery to remove a benign tumor in his left leg, he notched Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and since Feb. 4 of that season (past 37 games) he is averaging 12.7 points and 8.8 boards per game. He has twice grabbed 19 rebounds in a game and he played for one of the most successful high school programs in the nation, as his Etiwanda (Calif.) teams were 62-5 his final two seasons under coach David Kleckner. Fellow Division I signees on his prep team included Darren Collison (UCLA), Marcus Carter (Portland State) and David Carter (UC Davis). He has 13 career double-doubles (second-most among active Pac-10 players to Jon Brockman's 18) and 11 career double-figure rebounding games and has made 176-of-330 (.533) shots from the field in Pac-10 games.