Arizona State basketball loses 2 assistants
The Arizona State men's basketball team lost two assistant coaches in a span of two days when Scott Pera and Lamont Smith informed coach Herb Sendek on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, that they would leave the program, marking the first staff change since spring 2008.
Pera has accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, taking him back to his home state. Pera came to ASU with Sendek in 2006 as Director of Basketball Operations before moving into a coaching position the next year.
Smith will join Lorenzo Romar's staff at Washington, reuniting with his mentor. Smith worked as a graduate assistant for Romar at Saint Louis University from 1999-2001. Smith joined Sendek's ASU staff in 2008 after assistant coaching stops at St. Mary's (2001-07) and Santa Clara (2007-08).
"We appreciate all the efforts that both Scott and Lamont gave us over the last few years and understand the opportunities that they now pursue," Sendek said Thursday morning. "At the same time, we are tremendously excited about the opportunity that it creates for us. We've already assembled an outstanding pool of candidates and expect to move quickly to assemble our staff."
Sendek is used to the drill of replacing assistant coaches. Nine of his former assistants are current Division I head coaches, but the timing of the two departures is a complication. ASU begins practice in October and currently has only Dedrique Taylor on staff. Sendek said he began compiling a list of candidates Wednesday night.
"Honestly, the timing isn't ideal," Sendek said. "But I think it creates a great opportunity for us. . . . I think it provides us with an opportunity to bring in two very talented members to our staff. At the end of the day, I expect it's going to be a win-win for everybody involved."
Pera was ASU's recruiting coordinator and helped lure former standouts James Harden and Derek Glasser to Tempe. Pera coached both players at Artesia High School in Lakewood, Calif.
Pera grew up in Hershey, Pa., and attended Penn State. His wife attended Penn.