The Pac-12 basketball preview series continue with Arizona State at #11. Sorry these haven't been more frequent. My school/work schedule this fall has given me minimal time to do much of anything (but don't worry once the basketball season starts I will be on top of my game).
Record: 21-11 (10-8 Pac-12)
Pac-12 Finish: 5th
Recap: The Sun Devils were a scary matchup for every team in the conference, and were one defensive rebound away from defeating Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Jahii Carson led the Sundevils in scoring with 18.6 points per game and after forgoing his final two years of remaining eligibility and going undrafted by the NBA, he is now playing for the Wollongong Hawks in Australia. Jordan Bachynski earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4 blocks, and Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall averaged 15.1 points in his one year of remaining eligibility. Head coach Herb Sendek switched to a faster paced offense with his multiple scorers and the Sundevils averaged 75.3 points per game, the most by any of Sendek's teams during his tenure at ASU.
Shaquielle McKissic- 9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists
Jonathan Gilling- 7.7 points, 43.4 3-point %
Bo Barnes- 4.5 points, 2 rebounds
Biggest Departures (Stats listed in recap)
Cameron Gilbert- Prescott, Ariz.
Kodi Justice- Mesa, Ariz.
Connor MacDougall- Tempe, Ariz.
Austin Witherill- Gilbert, Ariz.
Tra Holder- Los Angeles, Calif.
Junior College Transfers
Willie Atwood- Connors State
Gerry Blakes- San Bernadino Valley College
Savon Goodman- Indian Hills C.C. (UNLV)
Best Case Scenario
ASU's plethora of junior college transfers are ready to contribute at a high level and Herb Sendek's fast paced offense once again makes the Sun devils a scary matchup for any team in the conference. Shaq McKissic turns into one of the conference's most improved players and becomes an all-conference type performer, leading the Sun Devils to a top half finish in the Pac-12.
Worst Case Scenario
The Sun Devils deeply miss Carson and Marshall's scoring and Bachysnki's defensive presence. ASU fails to find a go-to scorer or a defense presence that can defend the post, and the Sun Devils travel to an unfamiliar territory as one of the Pac-12's cellar dwellers.
Sixth-Year Shaq- After walking with the seniors on senior day for the Sun Devils last season, Shaq McKissic was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and looks to be the leader of the Sun Devils on both ends of the floor this season. McKissic starred alongside Gonzaga guard Gary Bell at Kentridge, H.S. and also took Edmonds Community College to an NWAACC championship appearance. I've gotten the chance to play with/against and talk to McKissic and really hope he flourishes during his final year in Tempe.
Big Shoes To Fill- With Bachynski graduating, the new big men for the Sun Devils have big shoes to fill, but ASU currently rosters only two players 6 foot 10 or taller. Junior Eric Jacobson (6'10) averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10 minutes a season ago, and freshman Cameron Gilbert (6'10) is unproven on the college level.
UWDP Staff Predictions
Erik Erickson- 9th
Tige Stromire- 10th
Chris Landon- 9th
Other UW Hoops News
Multiple reports surfaced Sunday that class of 2016 point guard Jermaine Haley decided to re-open his recruitment and decommit from the Huskies.The 6 foot 7 guard from Burnaby, B.C., is listed as a four-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals.
Are the Sun Devils the biggest unknown in the Pac-12 this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.