Last fall, expectations were low for Herb Sendek's ASU squad after losing James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to the NBA. Most publications picked the Sun Devils to finish between 7th and 9th in the Pac-10.
Fortunately for ASU, the Pac-10 experienced a precipitous downturn in basketball quality, which allowed for the Devils to win 22 games and come one win away from sharing the regular season Pac-10 title with Cal.
After the season, we saw ASU lose seven players (three graduated, four transferred). Here they are, in descending order of importance:
1. Derek Glasser, PG. Glasser graduated as the all-time assist leader, and his scrappy play made him quite popular in Tempe.
2. Eric Boateng, C. Boateng stepped up nicely in his senior season and replaced Pendergraph's big body in the middle of that match-up zone for Sendek.
3. Jerren Shipp, G. Shipp was a selfless player who worked hard for Sendek. In the process, he earned playing time over a lot of more talented players, but ultimately Shipp was not a good basketball player. With his departure, we are losing a lot of hustle and heart.
4. Demetrius Walker, SG. Hailed as the next LeBron James out of high school, Walker never saw consistent playing time as the season went by and decided to transfer. He has committed to New Mexico.
5. Taylor Rohde, F. Rohde is slow for his height (6'8") and knew he wasn't going to get playing time, even after Boateng's departure. No one will notice he is gone.
6. Victor Rudd, F. Rudd was put into games during mop up duty, and would try his best to shoot as quickly as possible. He never seemed to make a shot. He looked extremely athletic but did not fit into the system.
7. Brandon Thompson, G. Only saw the floor once or twice, I believe. Did not contribute much.
From a departure standpoint, seven players is a big number, but Sendek has successfully recruited seven new players to fill the void.
Next time, I'll break down the seven new recruits. In part three of this mini-series, we will project the 2010-2011 Sun Devils and their chances at making the Big Dance.