Video credit: Pac-12 Networks
Scouting report: Arizona State
Game info: 6 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: ESPNU (Dave Fleming and Sean Farnham).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Herb Sendek is 115-100 (.535) in his seventh season with the Sun Devils and 369-258 (.589) in 20 years a Division I head coach. Prior to joining Arizona on April 6, 2006, he spent 10 seasons (1996-06) at North Carolina State where he had a 191-132 (.591) record and made five straight NCAA tournament appearances. Sendek was 63-26 (.708) three years (1993-96) at Miami (OH).
Prediction: Picked to finish 11th in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Washington leads 38-36 in a series that began Nov. 28, 1977. The Huskies have won the past five games and they’re 21-14 in Seattle. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 18-5 against the Sun Devils. Sendek is 3-9 against UW and 1-5 in Seattle.
Last meeting: Washington led by 18 points at halftime and 24 early in the second half when Arizona State closed to within 11 with just over 11 minutes left. The Huskies never allowed the Sun Devils to get any closer and cruised to a 77-69 win to win the season series. Terrence Ross finished with a game-high 18 points.
Previous game: Arizona State defeated Washington State 63-59 Thursday in Pullman.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Jahii Carson (right) was worth the wait. The dynamic point guard was forced to redshirt last season after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. As a recruit, the 5-10 star at Mesa High in Phoenix originally committed to Oregon State. He had scholarship offers to Arizona, Memphis, Marquette, UCLA and Washington, but chose to stay close to home and resuscitate a struggling program.
Many questioned if ASU was the right fit for the explosive guard who thrives in transition and with the ball in his hands. In the past, the Sun Devils had been a low-scoring, half-court oriented squad that dabbled with the Princeton offense.
Carson changed all of that.
He’s one of two players in the nation averaging at least 36.5 minutes, 17.6 points and 5.3 assists. The other is South Dakota State senior Nate Wolters.
Carson has scored at least 20 points in 10 games. The only Sun Devil freshmen with more are James Harden (16 in 2007-08) and Ike Diogu (12 in 2002-03).
Normally it’s tough for freshman to play away from home, but Carson is averaging 22 points, 4.5 assists, 37.5 minutes and is shooting 51 percent from the field (49-of-96) in six road games. In the three Pac-12 road games, he’s averaging 21.7 points, 38.0 minutes and is shooting .500 (27-of-54) from the field.
— Senior wing Carrick Felix was the third-leading scorer for ASU last year and often he got lost in the melodrama that was the Sun Devils season. His emergence this season has been symbolic of the changes in Tempe. Carson gets the press, but Felix has picked up the awards. Three times he’s been named the Pac-12 player of the week, which makes him a MVP candidate.
Felix always had the talent – he initially signed with Duke as a junior college transfer – but the new offense has given him a platform to display his athleticism. The 6-6 guard/forward has a league best five double doubles against Pac-12 competition and 11 overall this season. He’s averaging 14.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.
— Arizona State is off to its best start in three decades. The Sun Devils last started 17-4 in the 1980-81 season. They’re riding a three-game winning streak. Three of four of ASU’s defeats have been against teams that are currently ranked – No. 8 Oregon, No. 10 Arizona and No. 21 Creighton.
— It was believed Sendek began the season on the hot seat following two losing seasons and a four-year NCAA tournament drought. The Sun Devils lost 12 scholarship players in the past four years and assistants Lamont Smith (Washington) and Scott Pera (Penn) also left the program before the season.
— Sendek needed to integrate six new scholarship players and two assistants Eric Musselman and Larry Greer with NBA experience.
— Turnovers were a big problem for ASU last season. It averaged 16.3, which ranked last in the Pac-12. This season, ASU averages 12.4, which is third in the conference.
— The Sun Devils are third in the Pac-12 in rebounding (38.5) and assists (14.9), second in field goal defense (.392), second in three-pointers (7.2) and fourth in three-point percentage (.457).
— ASU’s RPI is 60.
– Junior center Jordan Bachynski has blocked more shots than eight Pac-12 teams. His 4.3 blocks per game average ranks fourth in the nation. The 7-2 center has 90 swats this season and is 26 away from breaking the Pac-12 record of 115 set by former ASU player Devil Mario Bennett in 1994-95. Of Bachynski’s 90 blocks, 55 have resulted in direct possessions for ASU.
— Bachynski is also emerging as a versatile threat. During ASU’s 78-60 win over UCLA last week, he posted career highs in points (22), rebounds (15), field goals made (10) and attempted (12) and added six blocks. Surprisingly, it may not have been his best game. Earlier this year, he finished with 13 points, 12 points and 12 blocks against Cal-State Northridge. It was the first triple double in ASU history.
— Husky fans may remember sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling. He torched the Huskies for 20 points and drained 5 of 12 three-pointers during a 60-54 UW win last year at Wells Fargo Arena. Gilling was also on the receiving end of Tony Wroten Jr.’s monster slam.
— Liberty transfer Evan Gordon struggled shooting behind the arc early in the season. He was 7-of-34 (.206) on three-pointers in first six games. In the past 15 he’s 35-of-89 (.397). Gordon is heating up all over the court recently. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 39.2 minutes and is shooting 31 of 63 (.492) in the past five games.
— Six Sun Devils average double-digit minutes. Backup point guard Chris Colvin is the top reserve who averages 5.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.7 minutes. No other ASU player averages more than nine minutes and three points.
— ASU has started the same lineup in every game this year. In the two previous seasons due to injuries ASU used 23 starting lineups and 12 last season.
C – Jordan Bachynski, 7-2, 250, Jr. 10.2 ppg., 7.2 rpg., 4.3 bpg.
F – Jonathan Gilling, 6-7, 219, So., 9.1, 7.2, 3.0 apg.
G – Carrick Felix, 6-6, 220, Sr., 14.9, 8.3, 1.7 spg.
G – Evan Gordon, 6-1, 187, Jr., 11.2, 3.0, 1.6 spg.
G – Jahii Carson, 5-10, 175, Fr., 17.6, 3.2, 5.3 apg.
ROMAR ON ARIZONA STATE:
(On the Sun Devils) “Bachynski averages almost five blocks a game. He anchors their defense. You go down there, there’s not a whole lot available because he’s such a good shot blocker. He blocked nine in one game this year. He scores 22 and grabs 15 rebounds I believe against UCLA. That’s a pretty good effort.
“But Jahii Carson gives them an entirely different dimension then they’ve every had. James Harden went about his business in a different way than Jahii Carson. Derrick Glasser was a great player for them for four years. Set the table. Was a hard-nosed defender. Gave them somewhat of an identity. But Jahii Carson is a very dynamic little point guard and that’s something they didn’t have last year. But Carrick Felix has been the player of the week (three times). And he’s been getting a lot done. Evan Gordon is a (junior) he scores 28 in a game. And we know Jonathan Gilling. He hurt us last year. They don’t have a lot of depth, but those guys that play are really good. They changed the way they play. They play man to man and they play good man to man. They’ve held their opponents under 40 percent (shooting) in conference. So they’re a much improved team.”