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ASU Basketball: Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Enshrines Sun Devil Joe Caldwell

Former Devil Joe Caldwell honored with Arizona Sports HOF
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When a younger Arizona State basketball fan walks into Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, perhaps their eyes are drawn to the big number 13 in the rafters. There are seven jerseys hung over the court, and James Harden’s is the only one of an active NBA superstar.

But, older fans may gravitate towards number 32. “Jumpin’” Joe Caldwell played at ASU from 1961-1964, and on Tuesday, he was elected into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. He was one of three Sun Devils listed this year, alongside PGA golfer Phil Mickelson and former MLB baseball player Andre Ethier.

Caldwell was a major contributor to three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams. In 1963, he was ASU’s leading scorer when it got ranked third in the country, the school’s highest spot on the AP Poll in history until 1980-81. The Sun Devils made the Elite Eight that year after Caldwell scored 31 points in round one and then 22 points with 13 rebounds to beat John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins in the second round (UCLA won 10 of the next 12 NCAA championships).

Caldwell ended his ASU career, averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 11.2 boards.

He was selected second overall in the 1964 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, still the highest draft pick in ASU basketball history (Harden was taken third in 2009). He played six seasons in the NBA before jumping over to the ABA. He was an all-star twice in each league, and he shined as a second-team all ABA player 1971.

Caldwell also won a gold medal for Team USA basketball during the 1964 Olympics.

It did not take long for him to make the Sun Devil Sports Hall of Fame. He was actually a part of its first class in 1975.

Caldwell’s legacy not only sits above the Sun Devil court as a jersey or even in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame now. His grandson Marvin Bagley was also the second overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2018 by the Sacramento Kings. His other grandson, Marcus, is now also a Sun Devil, ready to start his freshman season whenever it gets underway.