October 19, 2006

Player quotes from Media Day

Arizona State players Antwi Atuahene, Sylvester Seay, Serge Angounou and Jeff Pendergraph spoke with reporters Wednesday prior to practice. Here is a look at what they had to say about the program under first-year coach Herb Sendek.

Quotes from Antwi Atuahene:

On the team's prognosis:

"I think the sky's the limit. As long as we get the offense down, the defense isn't going to be tough. So if we get the offense down, get everybody flowing together, the young guys come along, the upperclassmen do what they're supposed to do I think the sky's the limit."

On his role with the team:

"I gotta take a leadership role on and off the floor. Do the right things on and off the floor and help the young guys come along as much as possible and get a good grasp of the coaching staff and be an extension of the coaching staff on the floor."

On the offensive system:

"I'm taking it real well. I'm grasping the way he wants to play. The offense is very structured. Other than that I like what he wants with the plays, you know a lot of movement without the ball so I can be moving around and moving the ball better."

On how the new offense suits him and the team:

"Actually helps me a lot more so I don't have to have the ball in my hands as much. Other people have the opportunity to make plays as well. But in the transition we still do the same things. It's not a complete slow down offense. We like to still push the ball on offense (when it's available) and keep the defense on their heels."

On the difference between Rob Evans and Sendek:

"Both are great coaches. The only difference is that coach Sendek is probably more of an X's and O's guy and coach Evans was more of a toughness guy, more physical structured. Coach Sendek's more fine detailed and X and O's. The structure is going to help out getting more people involved."

Quotes from Jeff Pendergraph:

On starting over on the court:

"It's been kind of tough. Sometimes we're a little rusty and have to learn things all over again. It's a brand new coach, brand new system."

On style of play changes:

"It's quite different. They're both kind of the same but in the [previous system] guys on the outside stay on the outside guys on the inside stay on the inside. They one's more everybody does everything."

On assuming a leadership role:

"That's no problem … It's not just one person being a leader. The whole team is keeping each other up and making sure we're doing what we're supposed to be doing."

On his decision to remain at ASU:

"After I found out it was coach Sendek coming in and found how he was officially going to be the coach and I'd heard what he'd done and seen what he'd done at NC State I knew this would be a good spot for me."

On difference between Evans and Sendek:

"[Sendek's] really strict about a lot of things … Everything is broken down into a science. How he wants you to go to class, how he keeps up with your schedule and classwork and how he runs practice … It's just one big science. Every week he asks us for our schedule and he'll be like, 'ok in this class you have a test this week, are you ready for it?' or 'what'd you get on your English paper last week?' He's on top of it, always. He's probably talking to my teachers right after class to find out how I did.

"Coach Evans said what he wanted to be done and kind of left everybody to get it done. Coach Sendek is more like a hands-on kind of coach. He'll be there and be like 'Ok this is what we need to do, what we all need to do, let's get it done.' They're like the same but it's kind of different."

On his physical health and conditioning a year removed from having a benign tumor removed from his knee:

"I still kind of feel like I did last year. I'm not 100 percent yet but we're in a lot better shape then we were last year especially the way we practice conditioning and stuff so we'll be able to play 40 minutes with everybody instead of being tired and winded and lose close games because we're exhausted from playing so hard."

On the physical development of players returning from their first year in the program:

"I think we're stronger but also like we know how to use our weight now. Especially from playing last year like you learn how to use your strength that you earned in the weight room and your endurance that you earned in conditioning."

Quotes from Sylvester Seay:

On the transition to a new offense:

"It looks pretty good right now. I'm just mainly focusing on all the plays, just going along with the flow really. Using my athleticism works out a lot for me."

On a new outlook on strength and conditioning:

"It's made a difference already. A lot of us are eating a lot better. Everybody's gaining weight and everybody has to lose bad weight. I'm kind of mad about that. Coach has got me losing fat and I need all the pounds I can get but everything's working out pretty good. I move a lot faster, jump a lot higher and I'm a lot more in shape. We had to give up Outback and Training Table and that hurt."

On the team establishing goals for this season:

"Right now I think we're going to turn a lot of heads. I think it's going to be very tough for teams to defend us and the good part about this is basically we're going off of the defenders. We're learning more about making ourselves better as players and our team better as players as far as going and playing off other people."

On his decision to remain at ASU through the coaching change:

"Look at [Sendek's] resume. Coach came in, flat out, he was real. He said look we've come here to win, that's what we want to do. So why lose a year and go somewhere else when I can get it done here and I like it here."

On the biggest difference he's seen thus far:

"The momentum of the game. All of our practices are real real high intense. We stay moving, everything is very well structured and it's all positive. There's no negative coming out of it. We're constantly doing something on the floor."

On his role:

"My role hopefully will be a lot more than last year. Basically get to do a little bit of everything. Score, rebound, assist. Hopefully I'll be pretty well rounded."

On the new style of playing:

"It's good for me. It makes it a lot easier for myself. It also makes me better as a player as far as learning the game and that really will turn out to be a good thing for me. Because when I go back door there's really not going to be too many people that are going to take a charge. They're going to get jumped over. And the whole shooting aspect of it is going to be a big thing because he likes you to shoot too so I'm going to have no argument."

On his responsibilities on the court:

"I'll be playing a lot on the wing and I'll probably be bringing the ball up a little bit too under pressure."

On the coaching difference:

"Two different types of coaches. Coach Sendek is more involved. Coach Evans knows what he wants to get done. Other than that pretty much the same thing. They both want to win."

On immediate goals:

"We're winning right now. I think we're ahead of the game now compared to where we were last year. Last year, first couple practices we had no legs. This year we're in much better shape. We're ready to go every day in practice so we're winning right now."

Quotes from Serge Angounou:

On the addition of Sendek:

It's wonderful. He just knows what he's talking about.

On the change in the program:

It's different because we've got new players and a new coaching staff. It's so much fun right now. I'm getting to play on the perimeter, more my normal position but also [be] inside/outside.

On assuming a leadership role:

"I just gotta try to help the younger guys grow as a person and basketball player. I'm a leader and the coach gave me a lot of credit for that and I just have to keep it up."

On his experience and struggling at times:

"It's been tough but I've learned a lot. I know what it takes now to win and I just need to do what I gotta do. Play hard, score rebound, stop my guy and play as a team."

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