Rough season won’t tarnish Abbott’s mark on ASU - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Rough season won’t tarnish Abbott’s mark on ASU

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Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:10 am, Tue Jul 8, 2014.

Ty Abbott was called weird and special in a few minutes span by Arizona State University teammate Jamelle McMillan.

It was all in good fun, but it is also symbolic of Abbott's career as a Sun Devil, which will most likely come to an end in the next few days.

"Ty was really weird when I first met him." McMillan said. "He's always dancing, always making fun of people for no reason. His music interests are strange, he likes weird food. Just a different guy.

"He knocks down threes, so we'll accept him."

Abbott, a 2007 Desert Vista graduate, has been a contributor the minute he stepped foot on the Tempe campus, making a school record 76 3-pointers as a freshman, but had an odd spell - he made eight of 59 3-pointers in Pac-10 play as a sophomore - that might be the lone smudge mark on a impressive career.

"When you look back at the totality of his career it's going to be among the very best at Arizona State," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "He's done so many things for us. Just like Jamelle, he's been a great leader, so not only can you point to his production and performance on the court, he's brought so many wonderful valuable intangibles as well."

The one thing that is tearing at Abbott is the team's disappointing season, his last before trying to play overseas.

The Sun Devils entered this weekend's action at Wells Fargo Arena against the Oregon schools at 10-18 overall and 2-14 in league action.

It will lead to a first-round game in the Pac-10 Tournament on Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Unless things dramatically change, it should be a short stay.

After winning at least 21 games the first three years of his career, it isn't exactly how the 6-foot-3, 207-pound guard wanted to finish it up.

The losing doesn't exactly mesh with his personality.

"It's definitely been hard," said Abbott, who has averaged 12.1 points in the team's first 26 games. "I have to admit that I'm not always the most positive person. It gets to me just as bad as it gets to coach. It's been rough, but at the end of the day I still have to wear the jersey, still have to go out and play. It's pretty much a pride-type of thing to go out and try to make something happen every night."

He has only a handful for attempts to do so as a Sun Devil before it comes to an end. He was joined on senior day by his mother, Traci Hawkins, and sister, Bianca West.

Abbott, one of five Arizona players to play for the Sun Devils since 1998, was honored before Saturday's final home game as Hometown Hero and was presented with Centennial Middle School and Desert Vista High jerseys.

"Ty is a great role model for the students at both schools, having a local hero inspires current students to excel," said Laurie Jake, an ASU season ticket holder and Centennial science teacher.

His development into an All-Pac-10 player, which he named after his junior season, started shortly after his family moved here from Chicago.

He was a baseball player and never played organized basketball until he landed in Mesa and ended up on the same club team in the fourth grade as future Thunder teammates Garrett Lever and Bryant St. Cyr.

"We knew we had to play on the same team in high school team," Abbott said. "I still talk to them all of the time."

It led to a great run by the Thunder as they won 84 games over the last three years of their career that eventually led to Abbott becoming Sendek's first local recruit.

"I just wanted to make ASU a better basketball school," said Abbott, who added the thing he is most proud of is beating Arizona four times. "Being the first one from Arizona, I felt like I wanted to show the people from out here that I could play at this level. There were quite a few that didn't think that."

McMillan has insight as to how Abbott was able to take that slight and score more than 1,300 points in his career and grab nearly 500 rebounds.

"Ty's always been an everyday guy," McMillan said. "Me and him have been side-by-side from our preseason workouts, the running drills, always finishing first. The weight room, he took off in that area, unlike me. Special kid. He really is. It doesn't seem he gets tired ever, unless he's sick."

It is the same type of mentality that will push him overseas to keep playing and wherever else the game may take him.

"I want to see what it is like in another country, try different foods, see the sites," Abbott said. "I'd love to play some more, overseas or wherever. I feel like I can, I have years to play and that is what I want to do."

If it doesn't work out then Abbott has had enough of an up and down career to be prepared to adjust.

"Be ready for anything, it is something I can implement in the future," Abbott said about what he can take from his lost senior season. "When you expect great things, sometimes it doesn't work. Life will throw you a curveball."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com

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