TEMPE — Even as a high school senior, Jordan Bachynski was bruised and battered by opposing big men, who plowed into the center, knocking him backward to try to score.

He stood 6 feet 11 inches tall, but weighed only 180 pounds.

“I was a twig,” said Bachysnki, who averaged 8.7 blocks as a senior at Centennial High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “I had to find a way to affect them, because I couldn’t affect them with my body

“I learned out of necessity to block shots.”

It seems funny now, that the 7-foot-1 — in socks — Arizona State center perfected his most valuable skill only as a last resort.

The junior averages 4.5 blocks per game, tied for third-most in the country, entering Saturday’s rivalry game against the Arizona Wildcats at Wells Fargo Arena.

Read more about Bachynski in Friday's Arizona Daily Star.