Following their 22-13 finish last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils men's basketball team will set out on their 2013-14 campaign with some less familiar faces in their court rotation.
Last season, the Sun Devils used a seven-man rotation for most of the season, rarely tapping the depths of their bench for playing time. Six players played more than 21 minutes per game but only seven played more than nine per game.
Head coach Herb Sendek explained the challenge of populating a rotation to reporters Monday in Tempe.
"I think it's difficult to play more than eight guys in a rotation unless you have a unique style of play," the coach, who has been at Arizona State since the 2006-07 season, said. "And even then once you get to your ninth or tenth man in the rotation, even though they can make significant contributions, it can be perceived otherwise."
With star guard Jahii Carson leading the way with 37.2 minutes per game, four ASU players saw more than 30 minutes per game of playing time, including the now-departed Carrick Felix and Evan Gordon, along with Jonathan Gilling. Two more, Jordan Bachynski and Chris Colvin, spent an average of 21 minutes or more on the court.
Given the departures, along with the arrival of Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall, Sendek foresees a deeper rotation ins 2012-13.
"I do think we have a number of guys who, right now, are relatively the same with their performances," he said, "and I do think our style of play will allow us to push the envelope beyond that eighth man in our rotation."
Without clarifying who, exactly, were among the number of players he expected to use in his regular season rotation, Sendek seemed to indicate that practices, which recently began, and preseason games would determine playing time.
"That's one thing that typically has a way of working itself out," the coach said of his rotation. "We do anticipate, right now, being able to go beyond eight guys and we think that would be beneficial to our style of play."