While the effort was great and the outcome disappointing in last night's 67-61 loss to UCLA, I was more impressed with the 8,000 plus that turned out to support a team without a conference win.
My fear was ASU would have this type of season considering the short-handed personnel, and our notoriously fickle fan base would abandon the program. But either the gutsy effort of the team or Sendek's recruiting pub or a combination of a lot of things have stabilized the gate.
That's encouraging, because things should be getting better in a hurry. The addition of James Harden, Jamelle McMillan, Kraidon Woods, and Rihards Kuksiks should provide immediate help to ASU's flagging field goal percentage. More importantly, they will allow the coaching staff to better utilize young talent like Christian Polk. If Eric Boateng can provide minutes at center, it may free-up Jeff Pendergraph to fulfill more of a go-to role at power forward. It also means strong effort kids like PG Twi Anthuahene can provide support without having to do more than perhaps they're capable of.
So if 8,000 can tolerate disappointments like last night, perhaps we can find another 4,000 to 5,000 who will come and watch a potentially deeper and more efficient team win a few more games next year. That would have to qualify as a major success for this program that was considered better left for dead before Sendek's arrival.