ASU Basketball: Why Fan Should Not Focus on Record
ASU basketball is 8-7 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play in Bobby Hurley’s second season. While the record isn’t pretty, it shouldn’t be the determining factor.
Arizona State finished last season 15-17 and a defeat to Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. With Hurley’s first recruiting class coming in this season, many were looking for the Sun Devils to take the next step.
However, this season has not gone as planned. The Sun Devils are 8-7 and 1-1 in Pac-12 play after an up-and-down non-conference season.
A main objective of Hurley’s when he took the head coaching job at ASU was to build a tough non-conference schedule. That came to fruition this year with games versus Purdue and Kentucky in neutral sites and a home game versus then-No. 9 Creighton.
The Sun Devils did not perform well in those games. After losing by only 14 to Kentucky in Lexington last season, Arizona State were beaten badly this season losing 115-69.
In New York, ASU faced Purdue in the Jimmy V Classic and they were dominated losing the game 97-64.
After the game, Hurley expressed his frustration in the team after displaying a poor performance on a national stage.
— SB Nation CBB (@SBNationCBB) December 7, 2016
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) December 7, 2016
Safe to say, the season has not gone the way Hurley and others expected. To add to the frustration, Arizona State’s highest recruit in this freshman class, Sam Cunliffe, is transferring from the program. Cunliffe recently took visits at Georgetown and Kansas and is considering those schools and Seattle on where he will play next.
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That definitely has taken the wind out of the sails, but this rebuild that Hurley took over from former head coach Herb Sendek was going to take time, and people need to recognize that. While the record isn’t what many expected this season, Hurley is still trying to implement his system with players he inherited from the previous regime.
The Sun Devils’ Achilles heal this season has been their defense. Despite averaging the third-most points per game in the Pac-12 (82.3), they have the worst defense in the conference allowing 82.4 points per game.
Even in ASU’s win at Stanford, they won the game 98-93. Earlier this season against The Citadel, they allowed 110 points in a 127-110 win. 110 points! That’s unheard of in college basketball.
Look. Arizona State doesn’t have a presence in the paint. They play small-ball and use their strength of shooting from the perimeter as a way to beat teams, but with perimeter shooting being hot and cold, it’s a dangerous life to live.
It appears the Sun Devils won’t make the NCAA Tournament this season, and that’s OK. Hurley is building Arizona State from the ground up and that’s something to look forward to.
You see the potential of guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans. That backcourt pairing will be back next season. Also, Arizona State hope forwards Jethro Tshisumpa and Romello White can provide the paint presence.
Arizona State is right now attracting a lot of the top transfers in the country as many are said to be considering ASU. Also, the incoming recruiting class so far features three 4-star prospects in forwards Kimani Lawrence and Kenneth Wooten, plus guard Remy Martin.
As it is in every rebuild, they take time. Rebuilds rarely include immediate success. Hurley appears to have Arizona State on the right track, and that’s something we could all get excited about it.