It’s clear that ASU senior center Jordan Bachynski is playing his best basketball right now.
Even the Pac-12 has taken notice. The conference awarded him his first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor Sunday for a dominant performance against the Oregon schools. Bachynski averaged 21.5 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks the last two games. To top everything off, Bachynski set the Pac-12 all-time blocks record Feb. 6 against Oregon State and had the game-saving block against Oregon on Feb. 8.
Bachynski has had his ups and downs over his four-year career at ASU. He has shown the capability to stuff the box score, but there have also been nights where Bachynski was quiet on the stat sheet.
Bachynski said Wednesday that he’s been working every day on getting post position – a huge part of his recent success — and that his confidence is at an all-time high.
“(It’s the) same as it’s ever been,“ Bachynski said. “Your confidence has to come from within. You can’t rely on your performance to give you your confidence. There are going to be days where you have an off day, and if you let your performance affect your confidence, you’re not going to be a solid player.”
Bachynski’s success has made it easier for his teammates, and it’s important for them that he keeps it up.
“His confidence is on cloud nine, and I’m trying to give him even more confidence,” redshirt sophomore point guard Jahii Carson said. “He’s flushed out all of the negative things that’s been said between us and the press, so he’s doing pretty good. I’m going to feed him the basketball. That’s what we have to do: feed him the basketball.”
All throughout the season, coach Herb Sendek has stated Bachynski is the most improved player in the entire nation over the last four years. Sendek didn’t hesitate to repeat his claim again on Wednesday.
“If there’s a more improved player over the span of the last four years in college basketball, I certainly haven’t seen him,” Sendek said.
There’s some concern whether Bachynski can keep up his stellar play against No. 2 UA on Friday. He only had three points — all on free throws — against UA sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski on Jan. 16 and wasn’t as big of a factor in that game.
“He’s a great player,” Bachynski said. “We’re working on sinking and filling. When I go out to help (on defense), we have to have someone sink back to him, because UA loves that little dump-off (pass) to him. We’re going to try and take that away.”
Last chance against UA
Friday is the last game scheduled between ASU and UA this season. It could be the final time many of the Sun Devils will face their rivals, including Carson, Bachynski, senior guard Jermaine Marshall and senior guard Shaquielle McKissic.
Only Bachynski and junior forward Jonathan Gilling played on the team when the Sun Devils last defeated UA on March 4, 2012. It’s certainly the departing players’ last chance of beating the Wildcats at Wells Fargo Arena, and that’s been on their minds as they prepare for the game this week in practice.
“I haven’t done that, so beating them at home and the fans rushing the court would be memorable for us,” said Carson, who declared before the season started that this season would be his last.
Carson wasn’t sentimental when he was asked to reflect on his career series against UA. There’s always the postseason.
“We hope to see them in the Pac-12 Tournament and in the (NCAA) Tournament,” Carson said. “I’m looking forward to playing them two more times after this.”
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