Sifting through Arizona State basketball after March Madness exit

Arizona State beat Arizona in Tempe and made the NCAA Tourney. That combination is enough for some to say that this Sun Devil basketball season was a success. I would call it “average”.
I’ve talked to sponsors and high dollar boosters in the last two days who were less than thrilled with the past season. The uneven showing down the stretch of the regular season and the poor showing at the Pac-12 Tourney against Stanford certainly took the steam out of the OT victory over the Wildcats on Valentines night.
The Jahii Carson era didn’t live up to the expectations from when he first arrived on campus, though I wouldn’t lay all the blame on his 5″10 shoulders.
One N.I.T. appearance and one NCAA game in his two years on the court is underwhelming, no other way to spin it.
Granted, he lost a player that could’ve helped him get into the Big Dance a year ago(Trent Lockett). He didn’t have the toughest and smartest team this past season. Jordan Bachynski showed flashes but would disappear. In Thursday nights heartbreaking loss to Texas there were moments like Jonathen Gilling not paying attention to a Jahii pass at the top of the circle in the second half of a tight ballgame.
Out here in San Diego I am watching the Arizona Wildcats program perform like machine in every way, shape and form. I see several former players who have finished up their NBA careers, showing up to lend support to the program. Sean Miller has UofA back to heights that only Lute Olsen was able to attain.The passion of the program is unlike any other in the Western half of the country.
I do like the fact that Arizona State has done a better job of bolstering their non-conference schedule. Harvard is a NCAA Tourney team that is coming to Wells Fargo next season. UNLV is a good fit. The Pac-12 stretch is always going to be filled with talented teams. But if Grand Canyon University can schedule road games at Kentucky and Indiana next season, why can’t ASU?
The question I have is how does next years team come together considering they are losing so many players? There wasn’t a Sun Devil to be found on the all-freshman team. There is no pre-season all-conferance nominee that I can see. We are going to HEAR all about the recruits that are coming in, but we don’t KNOW if they can make an immediate impact. Tra Holder is a talented point guard from Brentwood High in California.
The three JC players coming in, Roosevelt Scott 6″4(Indian Hills CC), Gerry Blakes 6″4(San Bernadino CC) and Octavius Ellis 6″10(Trinity Valley CC) have all had good reviews, but we will hear the terms “jelling” and “lack of Division One experience” quite a bit to start out next season.
I’ve been out to several games of the two local high school players coming in. Kodi Justice(Dobson) and Connor MacDougall(Corona Del Sol) both look like players that can help by the time they have a couple of years in the program(see Eric Jacobson).
Of course there is the chance of a fifth year senior transferring in(see Jermaine Marshall).
I know that Herb Sendek is widely regarded and respected. I like Herb as a coach and a person. His staff works it as hard as any. It’s hard to believe that Westwood One analyst Bill Frieder has the most wins in March Madness by an ASU coach(3). I just know that a college like Arizona State shouldn’t settle for the last 30 years of being just average. There is something within the culture of the University that needs to change. Look south and see what Arizona has done with their program and find out what’s missing in Tempe.