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February 21, 2012Junior guard Trent Lockett came to Arizona State from one of the best high school basketball programs in the country, losing just four games his entire varsity career.
Much has changed since then.
After finishing his freshman year at ASU with a 22-11 record, Lockett has experienced two straight losing seasons. Entering Thursday's game against UCLA, Arizona State has gone 20-38 during Lockett's sophomore and junior years.
"It's been tough," Lockett said. "I never really have been through anything like last year, and to add on to it have another year like we have had this year. I'm not quite used to it, but these last few years have been extremely tough."
Lockett came to ASU from Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn., as the No. 80 best overall prospect of his class, according to Rivals.com. He posted an 84-4 record during three seasons on varsity and helped lead his team to win a state championship his senior year.
The Minnesota native followed his impressive high school career with a freshman year at ASU worth writing home about, earning a selection to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team and playing in all 33 of ASU's games.
Since then, Lockett has dealt with a great deal of adversity and defeat. Last season, Arizona State only won four Pac-10 games and lost in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament to a below .500 Oregon Ducks team. This year, the Sun Devils have yet to post back-to-back wins.
"It's upsetting because we show what we can do, we just don't bring it all the time," Lockett said. "But like (ASU) coach (Herb) Sendek says, 'You always chose how you respond to each situation.' After every game we can hang our heads, or we can go into practices and work hard and try to get another win in the next game.
"When you're losing, it takes a lot of character to keep coming every day and to be a team and continue to work hard."
The character exemplified by the junior guard and his teammates have been a product of Lockett's leadership. Although ASU has experienced an extremely difficult season, redshirt sophomore Bo Barnes said Lockett has kept the team positive in practice.
"Obviously it's going to be hard if you're not doing well but Trent and everybody tries to keep the team positive so that's a good thing and the coaches are really positive too," Barnes said. "So you just have to try to come back the next practice and get better."
With four guaranteed games left on Arizona State's schedule, ASU coach Herb Sendek believes the only way to move forward is to remain positive.
"You going to walk around crying, kicking things, not talking to people, being negative, whining, complaining?," Sendek said. "Where does that get you? We just refuse to do that. And that's always a choice. If you want to make that choice, go ahead and make it.
"Our focuses are much more productive things like getting better from a coaching standpoint, like leading and teaching from a playing standpoint, like working and learning, improving. That's what we're all about."
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