ASU Basketball: Bobby Hurley to become top candidate for St. John’s opening, according to reports

Minutes before Monday night’s National Championship, reports connected ASU basketball’s Bobby Hurley with the head coach opening at St. John’s.

Would Bobby Hurley consider leaving the desert?

Before Monday night, there wasn’t reason for speculation. But after Chris Mullin’s reported resignation at St. John’s, rumors have since circulated with Arizona State’s coach.

Just before tip-off in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s National Championship game, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that Hurley was expected to be “at the top of St. John’s list” to replace Mullin for the same position. The news was backed by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman and the New York Times’ Adam Zagoria, who claimed that Hurley was “the top target” for the Red Storm.

Based on current information, it appears that the interest is one-sided. Hurley has previously stated his contentment in Tempe, and reports haven’t yet indicated a reciprocated intrigue.

However, there are factors that could pull the 47-year-old away. St. John’s Athletic Director, Mike Cragg, previously worked as Duke basketball’s senior administrator for 31 years, including Hurley’s playing career from 1989 to 1993. There, Hurley won two national championships (1991, 1992) and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 1992.

St. John’s, which is located in Queens, New York, is also a 34-minute drive from Jersey City, New Jersey, where Hurley was raised and played at St. Anthony High School. Under his father, Bob Hurley Sr., he won four consecutive Parochial B state titles from 1985 to 1989, including a senior year where the team went 32-0 behind his 20 points, eight assists and three steals per game.

In four seasons with Arizona State, Hurley has led the Sun Devils to a 73-58 record, reaching a No. 3 national ranking and consecutive NCAA Tournament trips for the first time since 1980-81. This year, ASU finished with a 23-11 record (12-6 Pac-12) and won its first NCAA Tournament game since 2009.

Ironically, that victory came at the expense of St. John’s in the First Four, 74-65. The Sun Devils then advanced to face Hurley’s former protege, Nate Oats, and No. 6 Buffalo in the Round of 64, where their season came to a close in 91-74 defeat.

After the loss to ASU in Dayton, Mullin told The New York Post he was “100 percent” on returning to St. John’s next season. Cragg reaffirmed this on Saturday afternoon, posting the following statement on Mullin’s future.

“Let me be clear, and [as] I said from the start, Coach Mullin is our head coach and we are not looking for another head coach.”

Two days later, reports of Mullin stepping down emerged on social media. In four seasons coaching his alma mater, he posted a 59-73 record (20-52 Big East).

Hurley’s name was previously affiliated with the UCLA opening in January. He seemingly shut that notion down, stating his love for coaching at ASU.