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6 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: Arizona State Sun Devils Preview

Arizona State got a First four win last season, can they take a step further?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Arizona State vs Buffalo Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Head Coach: Bobby Hurley (5th Season) | Overall: 73–58
  • Last Season: 23-11 (12-6) | Post-Season: NCAA First Round
  • Pac-12 Media Preseason Poll: 6th (187 Points)

Projected Starters

  • Remy Martin (Guard - Sophomore)
  • Rob Edwards (Guard - RS Junior)
  • Romello White (Forward - RS Sophomore)
  • Taeshon Cherry (Forward - Freshman)
  • Kimani Lawrence (Forward - Junior)

The Skinny

Arizona State has gotten off to very fast starts for the past couple seasons, including two wins over top ranked Kansas teams, but has wilted when it comes to conference play. They’ve managed to limp into the NCAA Tournament field both years based on the strength of their early season play, but were eliminated in the first four in 2018, and won a first four game before being knocked out in the first round in 2019.

If the team is going to take a step forward this year, it’s going to be from a few key returners taking their game to the next level. The team’s backcourt looks set, with Remy Martin the team’s leading returning scorer. Martin might just be the best point guard in the conference; he was named to the Pac-12 Preseason All Conference First Team. Last year he finished with 12.9 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Arizona State vs Buffalo Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Shooting guard Rob Edwards is also returning. Edwards is the team’s best returning three point shooter, hitting 51 during the 2018-19 season. Martin and Edwards should give the Sun Devils a great perimeter shooting threat despite the loss of Luguentz Dort to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The situation with the forwards is a little less sunny.

Zylan Cheatham has left to be a New Orleans Pelican, so Kimani Lawrence will probably step up and play more minutes at small forward. Lawrence is solid, with good shooting and good defensive skills. Taeshon Cherry will be a big question mark. Cherry was a five-star recruit, and was expected to contribute right away, but his lack of defensive skills hurt the team down the stretch.

Also expected to take a step forward is Romello White. After a great freshman season, he took a step back last year, performing worse in nearly every statistical category despite playing more minutes.

The biggest name in the Sun Devils’ reserves is Khalid Thomas, a JUCO transfer from the College of Southern Idaho. Thomas is a 6’ 9” forward, and gives ASU another big weapon in the paint. He should see a lot of time on the court, and should grab a few starts; maybe more than a few if the other forwards underperform.

If Cherry and White regroup and play up to their early promise, this is going to be an incredibly dangerous team. Even if they don’t, the Sun Devils should still have a solid front court with a ton of size and a very dangerous backcourt. That might be enough to get back to the NCAA Tournament, but if they want to make a deep run they’ll need that size up front to start paying dividends.

Four Non-Conference Games To Watch

  • 11/23 v. St. John’s (Hall of Fame Classic in Uncasville, CT)
  • 12/14 v. Georgia
  • 12/18 v. St. Mary’s (Phoenix, AZ)
  • 12/21 v. Creighton