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Articles > Derek Glasser's Spectacular Play Helps Arizona State Past NCAA 1st Round Play

March 20, 2009. Miami – It was his first time at the Big Dance, and he stepped up with a huge performance. Junior guard Derek Glasser’s 22 points went a big way toward helping Arizona State advance to beat Temple and advance to second round play in the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Three years earlier, Arizona State hadn’t exactly figured into Glasser’s plans.

With over a dozen scholarships offered to the Santa Monica native who played at Southern Cal basketball powerhouse Artesia High School, Glasser had decided to walk on at Southern Cal, where Coach Tim Floyd told him that he was in line for a certain scholarship if the Trojans couldn’t land a big man. When USC signed a wing player instead, Glasser had to come up with a new plan. His high school coach had just taken a position at Arizona State, where newly-hired head coach Herb Sendek had a sudden vacancy to fill when guard Kevin Kruger departed to play for his dad Lon who was just named head coach at UNLV. So the next day, Sendek, who previously led North Carolina State to five straight NCAA appearances, called Glasser with a firm offer, and – never even having seen the campus – Glasser accepted.

This week there is no doubt that the arrangement was a good one for all parties. Minutes after the end of his first-ever NCAA Tournament game, Glasser told JewishSport.org. “To go out and have score 22 points (and get the win) feels great.”

Glasser helped ASU’s cause with 6-7 shooting in the first half (4-5 from behind the arc). “I tried to come out early in the first half and get our team involved – and today it just happened that our offense created a lot of shot opportunities for me.” Twelve minutes into the game, the Sun Devils had built up a 13 point lead. But Temple mounted a comeback and with two minutes left in the half they had inched within 3, led by All-American Dionte Christmas. But Glasser got open on offense and within a 40-second span connected on two treys to get the lead back up to 9 at the half (35-26).

Three times in the second half, Temple closed the margin down to four points, primarily off of scoring by Christmas. With senior captain Jeff Pendergraph and All-American James Harden carrying the scoring load as Glasser helped run the game from the point, ASU managed to hang on to the lead, but the contest ended on a note of relief as Glasser drew three fouls in the last 1:39 and connected on 5-6 to help put the game away 66-57.

Glasser’s high school coach, Scott Pera, who is now an assistant at ASU, commented that back then, Derek wasn’t consistent in bringing his best effort. (Glasser nevertheless was twice honored as Lakewood Player of the Year, first team all-league as a sophomore, junior and senior, and league MVP his junior year). It is clear that inconsistency is no longer at issue.

He has really developed himself into a very good point guard,” Coach Herb Sendek told JewishSport.org after the victory against Temple. “He is a very smart player on offense – he really knows how to take care of the ball. He does not turn it over. (Note: Glasser played 42 minutes in an overtime win at UCLA without a single turnover.) (He makes his free throws – especially down the stretch when he has to. There is no one you would rather have on the line than Derek. (Note: Glasser is 17-of-21 (.810) from the charity stripe in the last five games.) He’s a good passer. He’s been playing great basketball down the home stretch and he’s gotten better every step of the way. Today he was spectacular.”

For his part, Glasser was quick to point out that “Coach Sendek is a great teacher. If there is anything he has really taught me, it is the need to be both physically and mentally tough.” Glasser took some physical licks in the game, coming out at one point when he got a knee to his tail bone. “I like to be in the middle of everything,” the 6’1” guard said. “Being so short I’m at elbow height so I guess it just happens that I take a lot of elbows.”

Coming into the NCAA tourney with 384 career assists, Glasser is on target to surpass the ASU school record of 454 when his college days are over. In the locker room after the game, reporters asked him about his recent scoring spate, (“It seemed that you were taking shots you wouldn’t have taken earlier in the year” and he replied, “My role on this team has changed from the start of the season till now. I have been scoring a lot more than I did earlier in my career and I have to just keep doing that.”)

Earlier this month Glasser earned Pac-10 All-Tournament honors by averaging 13.7 points per game in three outings, with a .516 field goal % and shooting .455 from behind the arc. He had 12 assists and just four turnovers in 37.3 minutes of play per game.

“Through the Pac-10 Tournament I was able to accumulate a lot of confidence. There is so much talent around the country,” Glasser observed, “and I really think the difference is confidence. If a player plays with confidence it makes all the difference.” Right now I am as confident as I have ever been.”

Glasser has been tapped for the U.S. basketball team that will be playing in this summer’s Maccabiah Games in Israel. For him, it will be the first time visiting. “It’s an experience I am really looking forward to,” he noted. “I know that Jon Scheyer (of Duke) is also on the team, and I am looking forward to meeting the other players and Coach (Bruce) Pearl (of Tennessee, whose own team lost in first round play to Oklahoma State 77-75 in the final seconds of play).

Glasser hopes to play professionally after graduating from ASU. “I have been playing since I was six,” he commented. “I want to keep playing for as long as I can.”

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