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Arizona State Sun Devils

Updated Jan 28, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Bachynski, Sun Devils are earning believers

Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski (13) dunks as UCLA's Jordan Adams (3) and Arizona State's Evan Gordon (10) watch during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona State Sun Devils are on the national radar.

Though 16-4 overall with a 5-2 mark in the Pac-12, it was not until Saturday when the team finally notched what many would call a "signature win".

The Devils handled UCLA with ease, beating the Bruins by a score of 78-60 in Tempe. Arizona State won in large part because of their largest player, as center Jordan Bachynski picked up a career-high 22 points and 15 rebounds to go along with six blocked shots.

The junior dominated the game, and will be a major reason if the Devils reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

But Bachynski, as a guest of Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Monday, said the team can't focus on March.

"It's really tough and I mean we do look at the season as it goes along thinking 'Oh my gosh, we could go to the Tournament this year,'" the 23-year-old said. "But we kind of have to take a step back, not look beyond the mark and just stay in the moment and go to the next game.

"Because if we want to make it to the Tournament we have to win the next game, and that's what we've got to focus on."

While Bachynski and the Sun Devils will focus on the next game (which is against Washington State, by the way), opponents will have to start focusing on Bachynski. The big man is averaging 10.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game.

Saying he's slowed the game down a bit of late, he knows continued improvement could lead to an NBA career.

"I definitely feel like I'm on my way, and that's my ultimate goal, to play in the NBA," he said. "I'm just going to keep working and keep trying to gain weight and strength.

"And gain more experience, because I think that's the biggest thing with me, just getting more game experience and getting to where I need to be, just dominating."

About the Author

School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.


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