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Eight months after being fired as head coach at the University of Utah, Lynn Archibald says his life is going well. He has a good job in a warm-weather location. His family is thriving in its new environment. Now all he has to do is help build a program that hasn't been a winner in six seasons.

After leaving Utah last spring, Archibald was hired by Bill Frieder as an assistant at Arizona State. Frieder had left Michigan just in time to watch the Wolverines to win a national championship.Archibald, whose Sun Devils played BYU Tuesday in the University Activity Center, says he doesn't have bad feelings about his departure from Utah. "No, heavens no. Utah was very good to me and my family," he says.

If things go according to plan, ASU will be an even better experience. The 47-year-old Frieder is being viewed as the answer to all of ASU's basketball problems. After five losing seasons in the past six - and a .500 record in the other year - the natives are ready for a winner. In a highly publicized move, ASU wooed Frieder away from Michigan in March. Frieder hired Archibald and former Cal State Fullerton coach George McQuarn, giving ASU what might be the most over-qualifed staff in America - three head coaches. The assistants alone - McQuarn and Archibald - have 19 years of major college head coaching experience between them.

However, in hiring the high-profile staff, the administration and community are expecting ASU to become a national power in basketball.

"I don't think there's any question we could become that," says Archibald. " They've committed themselves to build a national power here in basketball by bringing Coach Frieder here. His answer is coming up with one of the top recruiting classes in country."

At least on paper, Frieder appears to be off to an impressive start. One magazine rated his recruiting effort during early signing week in November as the fifth-best in the nation. The Sun Devils signed five players, all with impressive credentials: Stevin Smith, a 6-2 guard from Dallas who was MVP in the Las Vegas summer invitatinal; Robert Conlisk, a 6-11 center from Los Alamitos, Calif.; Dwayne Fontana, a 6-4 San Francisco star rated one of the top 100 prep players in America; Ian Dale, a 6-8 Houston product, on the verge of breaking the Texas scoring mark; and Jamal Faulkner, a 6-7 forward who last year signed letter of intent with Pitt, but went instead to prep school to improve his ACT scores - then to Arizona State. Faulkner was a third-team Street and Smith's All-America and rated among the 10 recruits in the country last year.

Since arriving March 15, Frieder has signed five of All-Star Sports Top 100 prospects to letters of intent. "I never would have taken this job if I felt I couldn't recruit here," says Frieder.

Despite the optimism, ASU hasn't gotten off the ground yet. The Sun Devils opened the season losing 87-64 to Oregon State on Thursday and 63-61 to Oregon on Saturday. Both were conference games, putting the Sun Devils in trouble from the start. ASU also lost exhibition games to Australia and Marathon Oil.

ASU is about two weeks away from the return of senior guard Terance Wheeler, who is recovering from knee surgery. Top players this year include returning starting guard Mike Redhair and brothers Alex and Isaac Austin. Isaac got 28 against Mobil Oil. Alex, a senior, averaged averaged 14.6 points last year and is the team's leading scorer this year with a 13.5 average. Isaac is a 6-10 junior college transfer who has averaged 10 points in two games.

Other probable starters are 6-9 senior forward Mark Becker and 6-4 junior Matt Anderson, from Orem. Anderson has averaged 10.5 points in the Sun Devils' two games.

Meanwhile, BYU is 4-1 and coming off its first loss of the year. Saturday night at University Park, the Cougars dropped an 82-72 decision to Penn State. Tuesday's game will be aired live on KBYU-Channel 11.

Archibald says his move to Arizona was a success for both himself and his family. One son is on his seventh grade basketball team. Another is playing on the No. 1-ranked prep team in the state. A daughter is on the high school volleyball team that finished second in the state.

"Of course, I miss Utah," says Archibald. "We have a lot of great memories, things we'll always remember. Except for the one incident (his firing), Utah was very good to me. We still consider that home."