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Hurley Talks About COVID, Marcus Bagley

Sun Devils basketball head coach Bobby Hurley spoke with reporters on Friday and spoke about how the virus impacted not only Arizona State, but himself.

Since a Dec. 19 loss to San Francisco, the Arizona State Sun Devils have played only one game on the hardwood thanks to COVID impacting schools across the Pac-12 conference, including themselves. 

ASU's most recent slate of games, contests against Arizona, UCLA and Utah, were postponed due to a breakout within Arizona State's program. Meetings with UCLA and USC prior to last week were also postponed due to COVID impacting both the Bruins and Trojans. 

On Friday, Hurley met with reporters for the first time since COVID impacted ASU's basketball team, and expanded on various topics including his own personal bout with the virus and how his team will look moving forward. 

ASU Head Coach Bobby Hurley Expands on COVID, Marcus Bagley

According to Hurley, Arizona State's program was essentially shut down from Monday to Friday while in quarantine. Hurley said the team, which tested Thursday Jan. 6, had a considerable amount of positive cases including himself. 

"The whole program basically was shut down from Monday until Friday in a quarantine situation. We tested the whole program on Thursday and that's where we had a number of positive cases and a couple of symptomatic cases," said Hurley.

Hurley, who said he had lung surgery from when he was younger, experienced breathing issues that lasted a couple days. Hurley said Wednesday was his first day back after not seeing the team for 10 days. 

He said, "I had some breathing issues and I was very concerned because I had a lung surgery when I played in the NBA when I had my car accident, so I was (holding) just a lot of thoughts going through my mind about how I felt about that, but never to the point where I thought about going to the hospital.

"But it was chills and the body aches and just the restrictive breathing; it lasted for about two days. I was able to gradually feel better and each day I'm feeling better, have more energy, but it definitely definitely hit me pretty good."

ASU, which will take the court for the first time in 13 days Saturday night, have had about half of the players who will be playing on Saturday involved in limited workouts with masks prior to the game. 

"You know, a portion of the group was able to do that, we had a couple of coaches that were available to to conduct those workouts and and it was challenging because of the masks and just not wanting to do a lot of live work because we just didn't really know when we'd be playing again, so it was certainly a difficult situation for those guys, but they pushed through it," Hurley said.

Unfortunately, Sun Devils forward Marcus Bagley, who is rehabbing from a knee injury, was also indirectly impacted by the virus.

"Marcus was also impacted by the Omicron wave, because his doctor that he was going to see unfortunately had COVID so he will have to postpone an appointment so his timeline got set back a little bit so things are a little bit still up in the air in terms of when Marcus is going to get back on the court with us," said Hurley. 

"So we're just trying to stay positive with that and support him and and do the best we can to hopefully get him back as soon as possible, but that won't be this weekend."

Hurley also said forward Jalen Graham is questionable to return to the lineup Saturday against Colorado with a non-COVID related illness.

Hurley also spoke about the challenges of regrouping after an extended period off the court. 

He said, "Just seeing where everyone's at just with our conditioning level and so you're trying to address that. We did some conditioning yesterday.

"And then also just working on our offense, our timing and things that are impacted and getting skill work in so that guys aren't dribbling the ball off their foot, because they haven't had the repetitions that you normally would have in preparing to play a game of this quality, so it's on a limited timetable that you're trying to do a number of different things. 

"At the same time, we've been a pretty good defensive team most of the year, and you know we certainly have to guard on Saturday so we're making points to talk about our defense and work on some of our defensive concepts."

Arizona State looks to rely on transfer guard Marreon Jackson, who has been somewhat underwhelming in his scoring abilities after leading the MAC in scoring last season. 

"He's got a little pop to his step, he's an older guy but the break maybe has done him some good," Hurley said. "Time has helped his wrist which may have played a big part of his shooting difficulties. We certainly need him to be more impactful at that end of the court."

The Sun Devils will resume play on Saturday against the Colorado Buffaloes at 8 pm Arizona time.