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October 17, 2013

Jahii Carson

Herb Sendek


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from Coach.
COACH SENDEK:  Certainly a great pleasure to be here to start a new college basketball season once again.  I'm especially honored to be on the stage with one of the great point guards in college basketball, Jahii Carson.
Certainly Jahii had tremendous expectations going into his first year with us last season, and one of the things that I was most amazed with was his ability to handle that with grace and poise.  And it just seemed like the brighter the lights, the bigger the stage, the better he played.  And I know he's worked very hard in the offseason, as his teammates have, to improve and be even better this year.
I'm excited about our team.¬† I think we have a good group of guys that are working hard.¬† We have good spirit, good energy in the gym.¬† I think our depth has improved from last year.¬† And at the same time we're very cognizant of the fact that we're going to be competing in arguably the best conference in the country this year, the Pac‑12.
THE MODERATOR:  Open it up for questions.

Q.  Maybe Coach can answer this too.  Can you talk about the process in how you decided to make your decision about the NBA and when you came about that decision and how you talked with people, I guess?
JAHII CARSON:  Yes.  Coach and my family, we're real close, and we went through the process of just figuring out what was best for me:  maturity factors, skill sets, and what I have left to accomplish.
So Coach and my family just had the best interests for me at heart, and I didn't want to take too long, because I wanted to get back into the gym and get to back working with my teammates.
So Coach and my parents had my back throughout the whole transition and the whole process.¬† But it was a decision that I mostly made for myself and I didn't‑‑ I felt like I had unfinished business with my team and with my coaches.

Q.¬† A lot of media and stuff like that have looked at Jahii, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Aaron Gordon as kind of like the three‑headed monster for Pac‑12 Player of the Year this year.¬† For you, what do you think when you look at three guys that are national names in terms of exposure that it has for this conference and kind of what it means?
COACH SENDEK:  Well, first, I think anybody who says that is accurate on one hand:  Those are three of the best players in college basketball.  But to omit other guys in our league would be really foolish.  We just passed Dwight Powell coming off this stage, and that's a NBA power forward.  And I think if you look at our league from top to bottom, there are tremendous players.  With the exception of maybe a couple guys, Crabbe and Roberson come to mind, everybody who was in Jahii's shoes last year decided to come back.
So the talent quotient of our league is going to be really, really good.¬† And you mentioned three of the best, not only in the Pac‑12, but in the nation.

Q.¬† You mentioned that this is possibly the best conference in the country.¬† Couple years ago it was‑‑ looked quite differently from that.¬† Can you talk about what the conference has done to really change itself and transform itself into a good conference?
COACH SENDEK:  I think we have always been a good conference.  And I don't know that we were as necessarily as down as we were made out to be at times.  I think the teams that eventually got into the tournament proved that to be the case.
But we went through a period of time when we had more NBA draft picks than any conference in the country.  We were spitting out lottery picks like nickels.  You had the Lopezes and Harden and you had Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook and up and down this conference, and recruiting couldn't keep pace with that, when you coupled that with the senior graduation we were experiencing.
So not unlike any sport or any level of sports, a lot of times things go in ebbs and flows.  And so now I think that the conference has replenished, we have had a number of guys like Jahii and Spencer Dinwiddie decide to come back to school, and so our talent level is as good as it has been in a long time.

Q.  Can you talk about how the new restrictions on hand checking might benefit a player like Jahii with his quickness?
COACH SENDEK:  Well, Jahii is already tremendous at drawing fouls and getting to the line.  Everybody knows he's really quick and hard to keep in front off the dribble.  And to be honest with you, until today, I guess I didn't realize how much this hand checking rule seems to be a point of focus and how much they're going to emphasize it.
Let's see what actually happens when the games starts.  But I know this:  When we go back and start practice, we have got to call our practices much more closely.  Because if the way it was presented this morning in our coaches meetings, it could really have almost a revolutionary effect on the game if they're going to take it to the extreme that it was described today.

Q.¬† You mentioned changing practice.¬† You've also mentioned a 3‑12‑24 method.¬† Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
COACH SENDEK:  One thing we have always tried to do is to put our players in the best position to succeed.  And a year ago Jahii became our point guard.  And we really believe he is the fastest point guard in all college basketball.  So our style of play reflects that.
And so as fast as we played last year, we want to push on the accelerator even more this year.¬† So we tell our guys we want the ball over half court in three seconds, we would love to get a good shot on goal in 12 seconds, and we practice with a 24‑second shot clock to help establish and maintain that kind of tempo.

Q.¬† Can you talk about recruiting a player of Jahii's ability?¬† And when you have a‑‑ when you get a player that may be a one‑and‑done player, how do you integrate him into your roster and how do you handle the situation, knowing that he might be there for one year or maybe two?
COACH SENDEK:¬† We now are in a place in college basketball where every guy on your roster may only be there for one year.¬† Not only do you have guys leaving for the NBA, but you have record numbers of transfers.¬† You see teams literally re‑invent themselves from one year to the next.
In my opinion, in many cases that four‑year plan that may have been the standard operating procedure when I first started coaching no longer exists.¬† You have guys who graduate and have started and they decide they're going to transfer as a fifth‑year senior almost like a free agent to another school.¬† You have guys who come and leave after a year or two.¬† So you almost have to build your team year by year.
I don't know that there's any coach among us that doesn't want a guy who would be talented enough to even consider going to the NBA after a year or two.

Q.  How is it knowing that the best point guard, college or pro, in the state plays for you?  #weloveJahii, #forkem.
COACH SENDEK:  I think he likes Jahii, right?
Obviously it's great.  Guards in basketball at every level have a lot to do with winning and losing.  And when you have a guy like Jahii, he makes everybody on our team better.  And we're fortunate that he's a Sun Devil.

Q.  How are you playing with Jermaine Marshall?  How is that going?
JAHII CARSON:  It's going particularly well.  He's a veteran and he brings all the veteran qualities, as far as rebounding, taking charges, hitting his free throws, hitting his open jump shots and finding the open man.  So I just learn every day from him.
He's a mature guy, on and off the court, so I definitely learn from him on and off the court with my leadership qualities.
So he just helps me all around with my game, little things, tips, free throws, boxing out, defensive things.  So he's just a huge help for me on and off the court.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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