TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State sophomore guard Jahii Carson made official Wednesday what has been known for the better part of a year — he will forego the remainder of his college basketball career to make himself eligible for the NBA Draft.
I'm excited to finally declare myself for the NBA draft. I wanna thank ASU for everything my ride at ASU was amazing.
Carson was a two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection who helped the Sun Devils end a five-year NCAA Tournament drought in 2014. He averaged 18.5 points and 5.1 assists as a freshman and 18.6 points and 4.6 assists as a sophomore.
"After discussing all my options with my family, teammates and coaches, I have decided to enter the 2014 NBA Draft," Carson said in a statement released by the school. "My time at ASU has helped me mature as a student, athlete and person and has prepared me to take this next step in my career. I cannot thank Coach (Herb) Sendek enough for allowing me to be a part of such an incredible Sun Devils community and I look forward to cheering on my teammates and all their future success."
"While our program will miss him, I know he is ready to start his professional career," Sendek said. "Jahii made an incredible impact on our program over the past two seasons and was a huge part of the success we achieved as a team. I know I speak for the entire Sun Devils community when I say we are wishing Jahii and his family all the best in the future."
Most draft analysts don’t project Carson as a first-round pick. He’s projected as the 10th pick in the second round (40th overall to Minnesota) by draftexpress.com but not listed in the latest two-round mock draft of nbadraft.net. Arizona’s Aaron Gordon as the No. 8 pick by draftexpress.net and No. 12 by nbadraft.net, while Arizona guard Nick Johnson is No. 32 by nbadraft.net and No. 48 by draftexpress.com.
In other news regarding ASU basketball, the status of forward Shaquielle McKissic remains up in the air while the NCAA considers his appeal for an additional year of eligibility. McKissic averaged 9 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Sun Devils last season. Sendek said he believes a decision is imminent and that McKissic presented a strong case.
Former four-star prospect Savon Goodman, a 6-foot-6 forward who averaged 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds for UNLV as a freshman in 2012-13, visited ASU over the weekend. Goodman was suspended by UNLV prior to last season after legal problems involving theft and trespassing and did not play last season while attending Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
New ASU assistant coach Barret Peery coached Indian Hills to a 34-3 record and a second place finish in the NJCAA tournament a last season. The Sun Devils already have signed another Indian Hills player, Roosevelt Scott, for the 2014-15 season. Scott is a 6-foot-4 wing player who averaged 17.5 points a game and made 52 percent of his field goal attempts last season.
With an eye toward the wants of the NCAA tournament selection committee, ASU beefed up its schedule this season and will open the season in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo. The Sun Devils will play Chicago State and Bethune-Cookman in the first two Classic games at home before leaving for Kansas City. The field also includes Alabama, Iowa State and Maryland.
The Sun Devils also will play at Texas A&M on the first Saturday in December, Sendek said, part a home-and-home arrangement in which the Aggies will visit Wells Fargo Arena in the 2015-16 season.
Other nonconference opponents will include Loyola-Marymount, Colgate, UNLV, Pepperdine, Marquette, Lehigh, Detroit and Harvard. Marquette is the only road game among those eight.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported guard Egor Koulechov will transfer to Rice, where he will be reunited with former ASU assistant coach Scott Pera.
Pera recruited Koulechov to ASU, and Sendek said Wednesday that part of the reason Koulechov transferred was because he did not feel comfortable with his expected role next season.