Jahii Carson returning to Sun Devils
Jahii Carson heard the talk about being ready for the NBA during the season. It became louder once the season ended.
When the time came to make a decision, the Arizona State point guard shut everyone out except those closest to him.
After consulting with his family, his coaches, even some NBA executives, Carson decided to stay at Arizona State for at least one more season.
''I really didn't know,'' Carson said Tuesday night. ''I just took some time after the season to try to get some space, just to take some time, get some quiet, to get some shots up and just be a normal kid for once.
''I just wanted some time to try to get away with myself, but as the moment started coming up I started talking to my parents and coaching staff about it and I came to a decision.''
Coming off a stellar first season in the desert, Carson filed paperwork last week to be evaluated by NBA executives, leaving open the possibility of returning to the Sun Devils.
A week later, he announced his decision at an on-campus news conference that included a DJ, a slide show and was attended by season-ticket holders and ASU students.
''It was really more my decision,'' Carson said. ''I had positive feedback. I was happy with everything. I just feel like it was the best thing for me to come back and try to continue something here at Arizona State that I started.''
Carson was one of the most heralded in-state recruits in Arizona State history and lived up to the hype after sitting out last season for failing to meet NCAA academic standards.
The 5-foot-10 guard had no trouble adjusting to the college game, playing with confidence and using his quickness to beat some of the conference's best defenders off the dribble.
Carson led the Sun Devils in scoring at 18.5 points per game, second-best in Arizona State history for a freshman to Ike Diogu's 19.0 in 2002-03 and seventh all-time by a freshman in Pac-12 history. He also led Arizona State with 5.1 assists and his 177 assists were most by a freshman in Sun Devils history, sixth all-time in the conference.
Carson set other school freshman records, including points (647), field goals made (231) and attempted (488), assists (177), minutes (1,303) and 20-point games (18).
He also scored a freshman-record 34 points against Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament and was the conference's co-freshman of the year with UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad.
Led by Carson, Arizona State won 22 games and set a school record with 16 home victories, but was left out of the NCAA tournament and had to play in the NIT after finishing tied for sixth in the Pac-12.
Taking the Sun Devils deeper into the postseason was one of the reasons Carson came back.
''Since we had a little bit of a successful season this year I think we know what it takes a little bit more to be successful,'' he said. ''I think we're going to be a bit grittier, not take things for granted, and just build on the positive chemistry and the positive energy we had this year.''