Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
2010-2011 was a rough season for the Arizona State Sun Devils but not as terrible as Herb Sendek’s first year at ASU when the team won just two Pac-10 games. This season should not be as miserable for the Sun Devils but they still figure to struggle even with the addition of highly-touted freshman Jahii Carson.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
Last Season: 10th, 4-14 in Pac-10, 12-19 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kyle Cain (So)/Jordan Bachynski (So)/Ruslan Pateev (Jr)
F: Carrick Felix (Jr)/Jonathan GIlling (Fr)
G/F: Keala King (So)/Chanse Creekmur (So)
SG: Trent Lockett (Jr)
PG: Jahii Carson (Fr)/Chris Colvin (Jr)
Gone: F-Richard Kuksiks, G-Ty Abbott, G-Jamelle McMillen, PG-Brandon Dunson (transfer-Azusa Pacific), SG-Corey Hawkins (transfer-UC Davis)
In losing three of their top four scorers, Arizona State boasts a very young roster featuring no seniors. However, the addition of four-star recruit Jahii Carson has ASU fans optimistic. Carson averaged more than 32 points per game his senior season of high school and is a game changer. Former Iowa State point guard and JUCO transfer Chris Colvin will back up Carson although I would not be surprised if Sendek started both players.
The team’s leading scorer a year ago, Trent Lockett will be relied heavily on the wing since the Sun Devils lack depth behind him. Lockett made the most of his increased role last season, doubling his scoring output. Sophomores Kaela King and Chanse Crerekmur will battle to earn the third starting guard spot if Colvin is not the guy. Liberty transfer Evan Gordon, who is the younger brother of the Clippers’ Eric Gordon, adds competition in practice but must sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
The frontcourt loses Richard Kuksiks who was able to stretch defenses with his three-point shooting. Sendek will have a decision to make regarding his starting five. ASU was not afraid to go small last year with Kuksiks and Kyle Cain who are both just 6-7. Cain figures to earn back his starting spot but who will join him in the frontcourt?
Small forward Carrick Felix had a rocky first season in Tempe but is the most talented of the options. If Sendek decides to go with a bigger look, either 7-2 Jordan Baachynski or seven-footer Ruslan Pateev will join the first five. Both guys bring a lot of size to the table, but lack a great deal of skill.
With only ten scholarship players able to suit up this season, ASU does not have much flexibility with their line-up. They will rely heavily on a rather inexperienced backcourt and have to hope several of their young players make major strides to avoid finishing in last place in the Pac-12 for the second straight season. Luckily for the Sun Devils, there are several other teams in the conference that are going through a similar youth movement.
Player to Watch: Jahii Carson
For a 5-10 point guard, Carson has some impressive athleticism. He is lightning quick with the basketball in his hands but also capable of knocking down triples. Sendek will likely hand the keys of the offense to Carson right away and he should immediately be ASU’s go-to weapon along with Lockett.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/18 vs. New Mexico
11/24 vs. Fairfield (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Dayton/Wake Forest (Old Spice Classic)
11/27 vs. Minnesota/DePaul/Texas Tech/Indiana State (Old Spice Classic)
12/3 at Tulsa
12/7 at Nevada
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraka Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
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 on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.