ASU Basketball: Arizona State Men's Hoops is Back on Track
Since he arrived in 2015, the hype surrounding Sun Devils basketball and Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley has grown with each passing season. The 2019-2020 season was all but set to be ASU’s third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament prior to COVID-19 having other plans. With the tournament canceled and a murky future for returning to play on the court, it appeared the hype train had slammed on its brakes.
On April 13, five-star guard Josh Christopher committed to Arizona State. On July 18, guard Alonzo Verge announced his return to ASU for his senior season. On August 2, guard Remy Martin joined Verge in returning for his senior season.
And just like that, the train was back on the tracks.
“I think we have the potential to be one of the best offensive teams in the country,” said Hurley to media members on Wednesday.
“Maybe one of the top-scoring teams in the country. We’ve proven over the last couple of years… We want to play at a pace, we want to play in the open court and we’ve built this team to those strengths.”
ASU’s reputation as Guard-U is by no mistake, as the Sun Devils again look to have another strong influx of scoring at the guard position thanks to the talents of Verge, Martin and Christopher.
Hurley’s equally excited about the rest of his roster as well. Hurley pointed to Jalen Graham’s growth (on and off the court) and Taeshon Cherry’s ability to shoot the basketball, while also offering praise for incoming freshman Marcus Bagley:
“Marcus Bagley has been here since the 20th,” said Hurley. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a guy that I’ve been more impressed about as an incoming freshman with his ability to shoot. He’s just draining shots that are ridiculous in our skill workouts right now.”
Although talented, some are raising concerns over the Sun Devils’ ability to forge chemistry on the court with a mixed bag of players. Hurley acknowledged that point but didn’t sound bothered by having a wealth of scoring options at each level.
“I just think we have to make the commitment, both as players and staff, to communicate that message and make sure that our guys are valuing playing the right way and making the extra pass. There are so many guys that are dynamic off the dribble that can make plays for themselves and for their teammates. We just have to have an ability and an awareness to take advantage of all our options.
I think that’s a good problem to have.”
With Martin returning to Tempe, the Sun Devils are now favorites for many to win the Pac-12 title and potentially make a deep run into March. Coach Hurley knows he has plenty of options at his disposal, and plenty of time to find chemistry when the Sun Devils take the court.