2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: Arizona State

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Arizona State Sun Devils (Last Year: 23-12, 9-9 in Pac-12)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Jordan Bachynski (Sr)/Eric Jacobsen (Soph)

F: Richie Edwards (Sr)/Sai Tummala (Soph)

SF: Jonathan Gilling (Jr)/Brandon Kearney (Jr)/Shaquielle McKissic (Jr)/Egor Koulechov (Fr)

SG: Jermaine Marshall (Sr)/Bo Barnes (Jr)/Chance Murray (Fr)

PG: Jahii Carson (Soph)

Gone: G/F-Carrick Felix, G-Chris Colvin, C-Ruslan Pateev, SG-Evan Gordon (transfer-Indiana), PF-Kenny Martin (transfer-Arkansas-Fort Smith)

2013-14 Outlook:
The Arizona State Sun Devils only return three rotation players from a year ago. However, Herb Sendek brings in a few key transfers who should help Arizona State contend for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Jahii Carson will undoubtedly lead the charge this season. After sitting out a year, he posted monster numbers during his freshman campaign earning All-Pac-12 honors and sharing the conference 2012 Freshman of the Year award. Despite standing just 5-10, he is an explosive guard, though he has been dealing with a stress reaction in his tibia that has slowed him down some at the start of practice.

Carson loses his second and third bananas in Carrick Felix and Evan Gordon, but Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall should step into the complementary scoring role without the Sun Devils missing much of a beat; he averaged more than 15 points per game last season for the Nittany Lions. Michigan State transfer Brandon Kearney becomes eligible after the first semester and will provide some offensive firepower off the bench while Bo Barnes, JUCO transfer Shaquielle McKissic, and freshmen Chance Murray and Egor Koulechov compete for playing as well.

Stretch four Jonathan Gilling also returns to provide a perimeter threat. He played a lot power forward last year, but should slide to his more natural position at the three due to the presence of Valparaiso transfer Richie Edwards, who is also capable of stepping out and knocking down jumpers. Junior college transfer Sai Tummala is a former Michigan commit who will add some depth and athleticism in the frontcourt.

Inside, 7-2 Jordan Bachynski returns to provide Arizona State with a true shot-blocking presence. He also made strides with his offensive game during his junior season to give the Sun Devils some sort of low post presence. Seldom used Eric Jacobsen is the only other player on the roster taller than 6-7, so he will be used to give Bachynski a rest when needed.

With seven newcomers on the roster, the chemistry of this Arizona State Sun Devils team will be something worth keeping an eye on during non-conference play. Carson will be the catalyst, but with guys like Marshall, Bachynski, and Gilling surrounding him, Sendek has the talent in his starting five to finish in the upper half of the Pac-12.

Player to Watch: Jahii Carson, PG
Carson made offseason noise by pretty much already declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft. He is lone true point guard on the roster, and if his offseason injury lingers into the season, it could be crippling for any hopes Arizona State has of making a move up in the conference.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/19 at UNLV
  • 11/25 vs. Marquette
  • 11/28 vs. Creighton (Wooden Legacy)
  • 11/29 vs. San Diego State/Charleston (Wooden Legacy)
  • 12/1 vs. Marquette/Cal State-Fullerton/Miami/George Washington (Wooden Legacy)
  • 12/6 at DePaul
  • 12/21 vs. Texas Tech

  • Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 6th

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