Pac-12 media day has come to a close as the conference looks to get the fans hyped up for the beginning of the college basketball season. In attendance were USC, Utah, ASU and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. While Scott discussed the state of the conference and what he is looking for this season, it was what the Arizona State representatives had to say that was the most interesting.
Devils head coach Herb Sendek and senior captain Carrick Felix were in attendance to discuss the drastic turnover the team has gone through since last season and how the plan on dealing with it. Not only have they changed the approach they will take during the games, but they have changed the entire mindset and culture surrounding ASU basketball. The team is ushering in a completely new set of leaders.
Last year, the main guy guy may have been Trent Lockett. But before Lockett began his senior year at Arizona State, he ended up transferring to Marquette in order to be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer. In order to make up for that, Coach Sendek said, the team will rely on their other veterans and new coaches to be leaders.
"Like you do anytime you lose a player for any reason -- graduation, injury, transfer -- it'sup to the rest of us who are still on the team to collectively make up for his absence.And, once again, deferring to Carrick (Felix) here, I think he's done a great job of really stepping up,and I think he's put himself in position to play that spot exceptionally well for his senior year."
That wasn't the only praise Carrick Felix, a senior captain for the team, received either. Coach Sendek continued to harp upon not only his leadership skills, but that he is poised for a breakout season while sporting the maroon and gold. "He's, I think, poised for his career best year. He's worked very hard. We're expecting a great year from Carrick," Sendek said.
The team will rely on his improvement and the young playmaking ability of freshman Jahii Carson in order to get their wins this season. Carson, who was ruled ineligible last season by the NCAA, may be diminutive in size, but he makes up for it in his raw athleticism and sheer playmaking talent. "Jahii is an electrifying player. He's blessed with amazing athletic talent," Sendek said. "But for me, the joy in practice with Jahii is his eagerness to learn. And he has been a complete and total team guy. So that's the joy that I get from working with Jahii every day. He's very unselfish and he's very eager to learn. And that's an awesome combination to have in a young player."
One of the things this team has seemingly been lacking over the years is stable leadership. With Felix ready to take that role and the new hirings of Eric Musselman and Larry Greer coming in, that may not be as big of an issue. The team will work to push the tempo on offense and they will now play man-to-man on defense.
It's a new look Devils with a new staff and new leaders. Hopefully that leads to a new record, too.