Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have fallen on hard times in recent years. They are a combined 10-30 in Pac-12 play the past two seasons. Herb Sendek once again lost several players to transfer during the off-season but does get Jahii Carson eligible.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
Last Season: 10th, 6-12 in Pac-10, 10-21 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 11th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Jordan Bachynski (Jr)/Ruslan Pateev (Sr)
F: Jonathan Gilling (So)/Kenny Martin (Fr)/Eric Jacobsen (Fr)
G/F: Carrick Felix (Sr)/Bo Barnes (So)
G: Chris Colvin (Sr)/Evan Gordon (Jr)
PG: Jahii Carson (Fr)/Calaen Robinson (Fr)
A big reason for the Sun Devils’ struggles last season was the absence of prized recruit, Jahii Carson. Because he did not qualify with NCAA’s eligibility center, Carson was forced to sit out all of last year but was able to practice with the team. The 5’10 point guard was an elite scorer at the high school and will immediately become the face of the program at ASU.
Sendek will have options in the backcourt this year as Carson could end up starting alongside last year’s starting point guard, Chris Colvin who brings some experience to the floor. The team also added some scoring punch in transfers Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes. Gordon, the younger brother of Eric Gordon, led Liberty in scoring as a sophomore averaging 14.4 points per night. He can play either guard spot but will probably see more time at the two this season. Barnes comes to Tempe from Hawaii where connected on 39% of his triple tries as a freshman. Calaen Robinson will try to earn some minutes at the one but won’t likely factor into the regular rotation.
Carrick Felix is the team’s top returning scorer and will start at forward with three-point specialist Jonathan Gilling. Felix is at his best off the bounce while 129 of Gilling’s 165 field goal attempts last season came from beyond the arc. Freshmen Kenny Martin is another stretch four and considered the best of ASU’s incoming freshman. Eric Jacobsen is more of a back to the basket player but needs to get stronger before he can really make an impact at the high Division One level.
Sendek also picked up a transfer in Valparaiso forward Richie Edwards. He must sit out 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules but when he becomes eligible the following season will bring some versatility and energy to the forward spot.
The Sun Devils have size inside with 7’2 Jordan Bachynski and 7’0 Ruslan Pateev. Bachynski showed solid growth last season, becoming more than just a big body inside which is pretty much at Pateev is.
Even though the Pac-12 is once again down this season, I can’t see ASU making a major jump quite yet. With only one senior on the roster and having to integrate several new players into the rotation, there will be another year of transition for Sendek.
Player to Watch: Jahii Carson
Arizona State will go as far as Carson takes them this season. That’s a lot for a true freshman to accept but he is easily the team’s most talented player (dude scored 58 points in a state semifinal game and the team still lost.) We’ll see if sitting out and being an observer from the bench for all of last season serves as an advantage or if there will be a warming up period needed.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/23 vs. Arkansas (Las Vegas Invitational)
11/24 vs. Wisconsin/Creighton (Las Vegas Invitational)
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)