After two seasons of sub .500 basketball, ASU basketball is making a resurgence and head coach Bobby Hurley is a big reason why.
College basketball has traditionally been dominated by blue-chip programs Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA to name a few. But these powerhouse teams don’t paint the entire picture.
What makes the game so intriguing is the variety and spontaneity that comes with it yearly. Whether it be a team turning things around after a disappointing season, a Cinderella run through the NCAA Tournament, or dominance from an annual contender; college basketball continues to keep us on our heels.
In recent memory, Arizona State has not been synonymous with those storylines. The team has been above average, hanging around with quality teams yet unable to pull off the upset or producing underwhelming victories over opponents of equal standing.
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Since 1981, the Sun Devils have made the NCAA Tournament five times. Five appearances in 35 seasons is not a benchmark of success.
Despite a recent lack of national relevance for ASU basketball, head coach Bobby Hurley has the program moving the right direction.
Since coming to Tempe in 2015, Hurley has kept the Sun Devils hovering just under .500 with a primarily makeshift roster. Though a small sample size, it appears that the 2017 season is the beginning of an upward trend in the Hurley era.
His third campaign at the helm has opened with a bang. Sun Devils have started off 6-0 scoring 95 points per game. Hurley has coached this them into what appears to be a top-four Pac-12 team.
The Sun Devils have the look and feel of an elite team led by a veteran backcourt that has taken tremendous strides under Hurley. Seniors Tra Holder, Shannon Evans II and Kodi Justice have shown developments in their respective game and maturity that have fueled ASU early in the season.
His third campaign at the helm of ASU basketball has begun with a bang. The Sun Devils have started 6-0 while posting 95 points per game using a blistering pace and plethora of scoring options to wear down opponents.
Offensive outbursts aside, a key that separates this team from either of the past two seasons is resiliency and that is a testament to both Hurley and his team. In convincing wins over both San Diego State and Kansas State, ASU faced second-half deficits of nine points. Then- No.15 Xavier led the Sun Devils by 15 in the first half before a 31-point swing by the final buzzer.
Between explosive shooting, hard-nosed defense, and a refined level of passion on the court, the Sun Devils are receiving well deserved attention. Hurley has the team ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 2009.
What was once a bleak past has since become one of the most promising futures in college basketball as Hurley continues to propel Arizona State into the national spotlight.