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Herb Sendek’s time in Tempe could be coming to an end

Aug 23, 2012, 6:22 PM EDT

Herb Sendek

For the second time in less than a week, Lorenzo Romar has made an addition to his staff at Washington.

On Thursday afternoon, the head Husky added Lamont Smith to his staff. Smith was hired by Romar at St. Louis in 1999.

“We are excited to welcome Lamont Smith on our staff,” Romar said following the Huskies ninth of 10 practices for their upcoming foreign tour. “Lamont is very energetic and a dynamic recruiter.

“I know Lamont really well. I was able to give him his first job and I coached against him when he was a player at the University of San Diego. He has a great basketball mind and will have a big impact on our program.”

Since Romar hired Brad Jackson last week, room was made for Smith when Paul Fortier was taken off the bench and moved to the Director of Player Personnel and Player Development position.

The bigger issue, however, is where Smith came from. For the second time in two days, Herb Sendek has lost an assistant coach at Arizona State; on Wednesday, Scott Pera took a position at Penn.

This is bad, bad news for Sendek. For starters, losing an assistant coach just days before the school year is about to begin is a massive setback for any program. Sendek lost two. In two days. And, unfortunately for the Sun Devil faithful, Arizona State isn’t just “any program” right now. They are one of the worst high-major programs — in the present tense — in the country. Sendek, who is 98-96 in his tenure in Tempe, won just 10 games last season and only 12 the season before that, managing all of 10 Pac-12 wins during that stretch despite the Pac-12 being fairly atrocious during that time. That doesn’t include the fact that three of Arizona State’s top four scorers — and four total from last year’s rotation — transferred out of the program.

Making matter worse is the fact that Pera was the program’s recruiting coordinator, meaning he was the guy that knew Arizona State’s targets the best. That will be an important vacancy to fill quickly, something that may not happen. You see, there is little doubt that Sendek is currently sitting on the hottest seat in the conference. Yes, he still has hometown hero Jahii Carson at his disposal, but will Carson be enough to turn Arizona State’s season around?And if he’s not, will the number of defections finally convince the Sun Devil brass that it’s time to go in a different direction with their head coach?

Or did Pera and Smith simply see the writing on the wall? When a head coach is fired, more often than not his staff ends up out of a job as well. Knowing that, how many assistants with jobs that they are currently comfortable in would be willing to take the risk?

Should I even mention that Arizona State recently hired a new athletic director?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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