Men's hoops hosts Oregon Ducks after 20 days on the road

- Sun Devils sign three Arizona prep student-athletes in fall signing period
- Coach Sendek still the nation's leader in former assistants now D-I coaches with nine
- Felix embracing defensive role for ASU (by Jack Magruder, 15, 2011)
- Development of Creekmur can help solve long-range woes (by Doug Haller, Arizona Republic/Dec. 17, 2011)

Sixth-year Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek and the Arizona State men's hoops team (5-10) hosts Oregon (Thursday, Jan. 12 at 8:30 p.m. MT on FOX Sports Net) and Oregon State (Saturday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. on FOX Sports Arizona). The Sun Devil Network (KTAR 620 AM locally on Thursday and 860 AM on Saturday), provides the audio with Tim Healey and former ASU point guard Kyle Dodd doing the talking. After posting just three 20-win seasons in the previous 25 seasons, ASU posted three 20-win seasons under Herb Sendek in his first five years. ASU was 8-22 in Coach Sendek's first year (2006-2007), but is 85-63 (.574) in past five and giving up just 61.9 ppg. in his 178 games as Sun Devil head coach. Six lettermen from last year are on the squad including 2010-11 All-Pac-10 second-team and first-team Pac-10 All-Academic performer Trent Lockett. In terms of minutes per game in the Pac-12, both Lockett (35.4/second) and Carrick Felix(34.2/third) rank in the top three. ASU is coming off three straight road games to start Pac-12 play so it has not played at home since Dec. 21, a span of 20 days.

Of the 338 schools playing Division I men's hoops, Arizona State is one of just nine without a senior according to NCAA stats czar Gary Johnson. The other eight are Albany (N.Y.), Binghamton, UC Irvine, Illinois St., St. John's (NY), St. Joseph's, Savannah State and Toledo.

Freshman Jon Gilling has made the most of his minutes in the past six games. He is averaging 9.2 points in 25 minutes and is 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, 10-of-20 (.500) from the three-point stripe and 10-of-13 (.769) from the free throw line and has 17 assists and seven turnovers in that time. He was very good at UCLA on Jan. 7, notching 17 points, including 5-of-6 from the three-point stripe, in a career-high 34 minutes. He had 12 points in 33 minutes along with four assists in the Jan. 5 win at USC.

Take it all into consideration...Barrett Honors College, second-team All-Pac-10, first-team Pac-10 All-Academic pick, two solid is hard to not say Trent Lockettis the best men's hoops student-athlete in the Pac-12. He is only first-team Pac-10 All-Academic pick from last year who earned All-Pac-10 honors.

A computer spits out the league slate, and it obviously likes Sparky on the road. For the fourth straight season, ASU opened league play on the road with its 68-51 loss in Tucson on New Year's Eve. ASU will play five of its first seven Pac-12 games on the road for the third time in four years, and the other year in that span (2009-10) it played four of first seven on the road. So that means in its first seven games in four conference seasons counting this one, ASU will have played 19 of its first 28 on the road in conference play (.679 of the time).

ASU has swept the regular season series with Oregon in each of the past three seasons and had won six straight in the series before March 9 Oregon win in the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament...ASU has swept the Ducks 12 times in its 33 Pac-10 seasons in the regular season: 1979-80, '80-81, '82-83, '88-89, '90-91, '91-92, '92-93, '00-01, '04-05, '08-09, '09-10 and '10-11...ASU is 22-11 (.667) against the Ducks in Pac-10 play in Tempe, its best home record against any league foe...ASU is 7-4 against UO under Coach Sendek, including 3-2 in Eugene, 4-1 in Tempe and 0-1 in the Pac-10 Tournament...ASU is 41-32 against the Ducks all-time.

ASU is off to a 5-10 start with nine games decided by six points or less (3-6). A recent streak was even more bizarre, as four straight games between Dec. 10-21 were decided by three points or less. ASU was 1-3 in that span, and for three straight games the tilt was decided on a three-pointer at under a second. It beat North Dakota State on Dec. 10 60-57 on full-court pass and three-pointer by Carrick Felixat the buzzer. NAU drained a three with less than a second left on Dec. 17 to win 69-68, while Southern Miss hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer on Dec. 19. Entering Pac-12 play, ASU had played seven games of five points or less on the year (2-5), the other 11 teams in the league combined for 26. ASU had played just two games with a double-digit final margin, tied for fewest in Pac-12 after non-conference play. Six other Pac-12 teams played at eight games with double-digit final margins in non-conference action.

ASU hit the hardwood on Jan. 5 without two starters and another top reserve and had only six scholarship players available, but played one of its best road games in recent history with a 62-53 win at USC Thursday. It shot .611 from the field (22-of-36), the best performance in a road game since it shot .612 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004 (past 84 road games)...junior Carrick Felix had career highs in points (22) and blocks (four) in 39 minutes...ASU won at Galen Center for the first time in six tries..sophomore Jordan Bachynski matched a career-high with six rebounds...sophomore Chanse Creekmur played a career-high 37 minutes...freshman Jonathan Gilling posted a season-high 12 points in a season-high 33 minutes (topped at UCLA two days later with 17 points and 34 minutes)...junior Trent Lockett matched his career-high with 39 minutes and was 7-of-9 from field, made all four free throws, knocked down one three-point attempt, had nine boards, four assists and three steals to end with 19 points...junior Ruslan Pateev played a season-high 29 minutes...ASU attempted 36 field goal attempts, its fewest since it had just 35 on Nov. 18, 2008 at San Diego State. Prior to that you have to go back to Jan. 27, 1991, when it was 19-of-33 in a 58-47 win at Stanford for an amount less than 35 to get a grip of how odd that it.

Trent Lockett averaged 13.4 points last year en route to All-Pac-10 second-team honors, and his return means he is one of just four All-Pac-10 players returning from the 15-man 2010-11 squad. Others are Jorge Gutierrez (Cal/14.6), Jared Cunningham (Oregon State/14.2) and Harper Kamp (Cal/14.2).

ASU ranks third in the league in free throw shooting in the league at .703...junior Trent Lockett is seventh at 6.7 boards per game...junior Carrick Felix is ninth in the league in free throw shooting at .778 (35-of-45)...junior Ruslan Pateev is ninth in the league in blocks per game at 1.2 (16 in 13 games).

One year ago, freshman Kyle Cainwent 11-of-25 (.440) from the free throw line on the season. On Dec. 10 vs. North Dakota State he almost matched last year's overall made free throw total in one game as he was 10-of-14 (.714) in the 60-57 win. As a sophomore he is now 23-of-29 (.793) this year from the charity stripe. He is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game (5.5 last year) and 9.3 points per game (5.4 last year). He has two double-doubles this season with 14 points and 13 boards vs. North Dakota State (Dec. 10) and 14 points and 10 boards vs. Nevada (Dec. 7).

Last year Carrick Felixmade 9-of-44 (.205) three-pointers, but this year the junior looks a little bit more comfortable. He hit the game-winner with 1.8 seconds on the clock on Dec. 10 vs. North Dakota State, which was his 13th on the year and he is 21-of-62 (.339). He had monster game at USC on Jan. 5 in 62-53 win with 22 points in 39 minutes on 8-of-12 shooting and is shooting .778 (35-of-45) from the free throw and has nine double-figure scoring games, highlighted by a 20-point effort vs. New Mexico on Nov. 18. Felix, a junior college transfer last year as a sophomore, also has 14 steals on the year (14 all of last year). Felix saw action in 30 games last year and showed great flashes but was sidelined by illness in the middle of year that basically cut his season in half.

ASU took the lead early, gave it back, but came home from Tulsa with a 67-64 quality road win on Dec. 3...Sun Devils gave Tulsa just its seventh home loss in 58 non-conference tilts under Doug Wojcik and the Hurricane were 81-10 in previous 91 home tilts prior to Sun Devil game...ASU attempted just seven three-pointers (made four), its fewest since a Jan. 29, 2004 tilt at Washington State...Coach Sendek has now won a game in 26 states with the win in Oklahoma...Tulsa had held seven of first eight opponents to under 50 percent shooting and six of those teams under 40 percent.

The 25-of-41 (.610) shooting at Tulsa on Dec. 3 was the best shooting night in a road tilt since a Jan. 17, 2004 clinic at USC, but ASU topped that on Jan. 5 this year with a 22-of-36 (.611) at USC, its best shooting performance in a road game in previous 84 road games. ASU also shot 32-of-54 (.593) vs. Wake Forest in Orlando. The marks are the best since it shot .613 vs. San Francisco on Nov. 20, 2009.

.721/31-43 vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (Dec. 29, 2007)
.653/32-49 vs. Central Connecticut State (Dec. 29, 2008)
.652/30-46 vs. Delaware State (Dec. 5, 2007)
.651/28-43 vs. Oregon State (Jan. 8, 2009)
.613/38-62 vs. San Francisco (Nov. 20, 2009)
.611/22-36 at USC (Jan. 5, 2012)
.610/25-41 at Tulsa (Dec. 3, 2011)
.610/25-41 vs. LSU @New York City/NIT (Nov. 27, 2009)
.595/25-42 vs. #17 Xavier (Dec. 15, 2007)
.593/32-54 vs. Wake Forest (Nov. 25, 2011)

ASU is averaging a Pac-12 high 16.5 turnovers per game, and that is unusual for a Coach Sendek team. ASU finished tied for second in the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers per game at 12.2 last year (USC was best at 11.4) and averaged 11.6 turnovers in final 15 games. It averaged 11.9 in 2009-10 (first in the league). ASU took a step vs. Tulsa as it had just 14 for the game and just five in the second half. It had a season-low 10 vs. Fresno State, but with Fresno committing just nine ASU has yet to have a game with less turnovers than its opponent.

2011-12: 16.5
2010-11: 12.2 (t2nd for fewest in Pac-10)
2009-10: 11.9 (1st in Pac-10)
2008-09: 11.5 (2nd in Pac-10/15th in nation)
2007-08: 12.6 (t3rd in Pac-10)
2006-07: 14.5 (7th in Pac-10)

Junior Trent Lockett is averaging 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and shooting .535 from the floor. He also added a career-high four steals vs. Montana State (Nov. 16) and career-high 12 rebounds vs. DePaul (Nov. 27) and North Dakota State (Dec. 10) and has 42 double-figure scoring games, including 12 this year. He has led ASU in scoring 16 times in his career. The Golden Valley, Minn. native averaged 13.4 points and 5.3 boards in 30.7 minutes last year (35.4 minutes, 13.7 ppg. and 6. this year).

The Pac-12 has five current coaches who have earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Herb Sendek earned it in 2009-10, while Sean Miller (2010-11), Lorenzo Romar (2008-09 and 2004-05) and Ben Howland (2005-06) earned kudos at their school. Mike Montgomery did it four times at Stanford (2003-04, 2002-03, 1999-2000 and 1998-99).

FROM ACC: From 2001-2002 season through 2005-2006 (Herb's final five seasons) NC State won 53 total ACC games (regular season and ACC tournament). Only Duke was better (76) in that time frame. Maryland also had 53.

Junior Ruslan Pateev, who entered the season 23-of-42 (.548) from the free throw line, is 15-of-17 (.882) and has 53 career blocks. After posting eight points in the first six games, he had eight in 25 minutes at Tulsa on Dec. 3 and had a career-high 12 at Arizona on Dec. 31. He also had 10 at USC on Jan. 5 in the 62-53 win...newcomer Chris Colvin is averaging 5.4 points and 22.6 minutes...Iowan Chanse Creekmur led ASU to its 73-72 Feb. 19 win over Wazzu last season with 18 points (five three-pointers). Creekmur averaged 17.8 minutes and 5.3 points in final nine games and made 13-of-33 (.394) three-pointers in final eight. He had a season-high 15 points, including five three-pointers, in the Dec. 17 NAU game and had four three-pointers at UCLA on Jan. 7....7-2 sophomore Jordan Bachynski is 18-of-35 (.500) from the floor on the year. He has 31 career blocks.

ASU lost 47 percent of its scoring from last season. One thing to remember...after the 2008-09 season the team lost 49 percent of its scoring and two NBA draft picks and then went out and won 22 games in 2009-10 and finished second in the Pac-10 at 12-6. ASU was winners of 20 games (22-11) in three straight seasons for the first time since JFK was President that season, made its third straight postseason appearance for the first time since the mid-1990s and finished second in the Pac-10 (12-6) for the first time since 1980-81.

Last season saw the careers of seniors Ty Abbott (B.S., Sociology), Rihards Kuksiks (B.I.S., Communication/Sociology) and Jamelle McMillan(B.S., Communication) come to a close as the trio produced 80 wins, the most by any seniors in ASU history. The Sun Devils were 21-13 (2007-08), 25-10 (2008-09), and 22-11 (2009-10) in their first three seasons. Prior to their arrival, ASU won 37 games in the previous four seasons. ASU's best four-year span of total wins was 88 from 1959-60 to 1962-63 and also from 1960-61 to 1963-64, before freshman were eligible. The 80 wins by the seniors is the best by any four-year player. One thing that has to be accounted for is the three-point shooting of Kuksiks and Abbott, as they combined for 553 career threes. Kuksiks is seventh in Pac-12 history with 280 while Abbott ended eighth with 273.

The Sun Devils have two players who have shown the ability to make three-pointers on the D-I level, but unfortunately both of them have to watch the game in a polo shirt this year. Evan Gordon, a 6-3 combo guard, averaged 14.4 points per game as a sophomore at Liberty last year and made 112 three-pointers in his two-year Flames career. Bo Barnes, a 6-4 wing from Scottsdale Christian in Arizona, averaged 6.9 points per game at Hawaii in 2010-11 and was one of only two players to appear in all 32 games. He made more three-point field goals (57) than any freshman in school history and buried at least five three pointers in a game on four separate occasions. Both will be ready to go in 2012-13.

If something hasn't happened in 18 years, it is probably safe to say that it is an an anomaly. Consider a team struggling at the free throw line under Coach Sendek just that (.628 last season, his worst in 18 years). The ship seems to have been steered back to normalcy as ASU is 215-of-306 (.703) for this year. Consider the following when talking about Coach Sendek's teams his 18 seasons as a head coach: NC State led the nation and set an ACC record for free throw shooting (.799) in 2003-04. That mark is tied for the best in the nation in the past 12 seasons with St. Joseph's in 2005-06 (Jameer Nelson and Delonte West) and is tied for seventh-best in NCAA history...he has coached five teams at ASU and two of them rank fifth (.739 in 2007-08) and sixth (.737 in 2008-09) on the ASU charts for best free throw his 10 seasons NC State led the ACC in FT percentage four times, including three straight seasons from (2001-02 to 2003-04).

Junior Trent Lockett played 39 minutes and had 19 points (on 7-of-9 shooting), nine boards, four assists and three steals in 62-53 win at USC on Jan. 7...had 19 points and career-high 12 rebounds vs. DePaul on Nov. 27 in Orlando...had 20 points and 10 boards vs. Wake Forest on Nov. 25...posted a double-double vs. Montana State (17 and 10) and 23 points and nine boards vs. Pepperdine on Nov. 15...finished last season with 22 points in the Pac-10 Tournament as he made his first 10 shots vs. Oregon on March 9...had a then career-high 22 points in 2010-11 season opener at New Mexico (Nov. 16) and two of his dunks placed him No. 2 on SportsCenter's Top-10 that night...earned 2010-11 second-team All-Pac-10 honors...had a career-high 24 points vs. Weber State on Nov. 26, 2010, in Alaska...also had 20 points at Washington on Jan. 22 and then had 20 in 71-69 Washington State win on Feb. 19...native of Golden Valley, Minn., and a student in Barrett, the Honors College...comes from one of the top high school programs in the country (Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn.)...earned a spot on the five-man Pac-10 All-Freshman Team in 2009-10...has 42 double-figure scoring games...21-of-47 (.446) from the three-point stripe in past 25 games after starting last season 2-of-13...has led ASU in scoring 16 times in his career...led team in rebounding a team-best 13 times in 2010-11 and 21 times in career...has shared team lead or led team in assists 12 times...also earned first-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors.

24 vs. Weber State (Nov. 26, 2010)
23 vs. Pepperdine (Nov. 15, 2011)
22 vs. Oregon @Pac-10 Tournament (Mar. 9, 2011)
22 at New Mexico (Nov. 16, 2010)
20 vs. Wake Forest @Orlando (Nov. 25, 2011)
20 vs. Washington State (Feb. 19, 2011)
20 at #20 Washington (Jan. 22, 2011)

ASU had put together a modest six-game win streak against the Beavers prior to the 80-58 win in the Pac-10 opener last year, as Herb Sendekis 7-3 against OSU as ASU won the regular season finale in Tempe last that six-game win streak ASU had held the Beavers to .339 from the field (105-of-310), .301 from the three-point stripe (41-of-136) and 49.3 points per game...ASU twice held the Beavers to 38 points in the 2008-09 season, the best defensive efforts by any Sun Devil team in the Pac-10 era...ASU held Oregon State to just .246 (14-of-57) from the field on Feb. 11, 2010, the best defensive effort in a Pac-10 game in the past 24 seasons...OSU leads the overall series 39-38...ASU swept the regular season series from the Beavers in 2009-10 for the third straight year and for the tenth time since joining the Pac-10.

Kyle Cain finished 2010-11 averaging 5.4 rebounds per game, the sixth-best mark by a freshman in ASU history and third-best by Sun Devil freshman in past 19 seasons. He had 17 rebounds vs. Houston Baptist on Nov. 25, the most by a Sun Devil since Jeff Pendergraph had 19 at Oregon on Feb. 8, 2007. The 17 boards is tied for second-most by a freshman in ASU history with Mario Bennett, who had 17 vs. Oregon on Feb. 1, 1992. Cain then posted 16 boards vs. Long Beach State in 26 minutes on Dec. 21 and had 14 boards in just 23 minutes vs. North Carolina A&T on Dec. 23. He also shot .545 from the field (78-of-143), fifth-best by a freshman in ASU history. Kyle also led the Sun Devils in rebounding 13 times and has 12 double-figure scoring games in his career, including seven this season.

With its injuries and illnesses ASU used 11 starting lineups and 11 players made a start in 2010-11...only player to see action in all 31 games was freshman Kyle Cain...11 lineups is most by the Sun Devils since 2003-04 team started 13 and tied for third-most in 18 seasons...1996-97 (11 lineups) and 1995-96 (12) teams under Bill Frieder also tried different options...each of ASU's top four scorers missed at least two games due to injury including leading scorer Trent Lockettmissing the Oregon road trip where ASU fell at Oregon State but beat Oregon...ASU had its full compliment of players in just 10 of 18 Pac-10 tilts in 2010-11.

Herb Sendek became the second Sun Devil to earn Pac-10 Coach of the Year in ASU's first 32 Pac-10 seasons in 2009-10 (Ned Wulk/1978-79). What is even more eye opening is the 30 years between Sun Devil winners. That is nothing new as his 2003-04 ACC honor was NC State's first in 15 seasons (Jim Valvano/1988-89).

ASU's second-place Pac-10 finish in 2009-10 matched ASU's best in its three-plus decades of Pac-10 play and its 12 wins were the most since 1994-95. ASU has notched at least 11 Pac-10 wins eight times, Herb Sendek has done it in two of the past three seasons.

1980-81, 16-2/2nd/Ned Wulk
1979-80, 15-3/2nd/Ned Wulk
2009-10, 12-6/2nd/Herb Sendek
1994-95, 12-6/3rd/Bill Frieder
1982-83, 12-6/T-3rd/Bob Weinhauer
2008-09, 11-7/T-3rd/Herb Sendek
2002-03, 11-7/4th/Rob Evans
1992-93, 11-7/T-3rd/Bill Frieder