Big Daddy Cain

Coaches hate playing rookies. This tendency is understandable – it makes sense that a coach would hesitate to put too much faith in an inexperienced player – but it can also hurt a team’s chances of winning.

For proof of the need to trust young players, look at the ASU Basketball team and talented freshman Kyle Cain. The six-foot, seven-inch forward is averaging almost 9 rebounds per game in limited minutes. For a team that’s struggled on the glass as much as the Devils (heading into conference play, the Devils ranked 176th in rebounding margin), Cain should be on the court as much as possible. Instead, ASU coach Herb Sendek has waffled with the young buck, giving the talented freshman starter’s minutes one week and letting him languish on the bench the next.

Sendek will need to stir Cain into the mix for ASU’s home Pac-10 opener against the Stanford Cardinal, who have out-rebounded their opponents by seven boards per game. Unless youth is served, expect Stanford to dominate the glass and walk out of Wells Fargo Arena, 600 East Veterans Way in Tempe, with a win.

Thu., Jan. 6, 2011