Fifth-year senior Jermaine Marshall will join the Sun Devils this season. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The possibility of Arizona State contending for a Pac-12 title in an important hotseat year for coach Herb Sendek is up for debate. The Sun Devils' ability to suit up one of the better backcourts in the conference is not, thanks in part to Monday afternoon’s news from CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish revealing former Penn State guard Jermaine Marshall will join the Sun Devils via transfer this season.
His status as a rising fifth-year senior (and his August graduation date from Penn State) will allow Marshall to use the NCAA’s graduate exemption clause to skip the one-year transfer penalty and play right away this fall.
After initially announcing his intentions to pursue a professional career overseas, Marshall decided to return for one more year of college hoops, this time sporting a new uniform. In 31 games for the Nittany Lions last season, Marshall averaged 15.3 points, 2.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, posted a 98.3 offensive rating (per Kenpom.com) and would have returned as the Big Ten’s second leading returning scorer behind former teammate D.J. Newbill.
His new Pac-12 home will offer a different backcourt dynamic –- Marshall will play alongside Jahii Carson, one of the nation's best young point guards –- and a different set of expectations. The Sun Devils were expected to be an NCAA tournament team without Marshall. With him, tournament admission is a mere baseline; the Sun Devils will set their sights even higher.
The addition also helps ASU compensate for the loss of guard Evan Gordon, who transferred to Indiana in May. Marshall was reportedly considering Florida State, North Carolina and Creighton before choosing the Sun Devils.