Wells Fargo Arena was abuzz two Saturday mornings ago with the new season of Arizona State Sun Devils Men’s Basketball just about to tip-off the 2012-13 season with the annual Maroon & Gold Scrimmage. The 30 minute scrimmage featured two new, up & coming stars to the Sun Devil faithful; redshirt freshman guard Jahii Carson and junior guard Evan Gordon who transferred from Liberty University.
Carson, the phenom from local Mesa High School was ranked as high as No. 33 by Rivals.com and was being heavily recruited nationwide. He was Arizona’s top in-state basketball player in decades and was a Parade Magazine Second-Team All-American. In the 2011 Class 5-A Tournament, he scored 37 points in the opening round, 38 in the second and an amazing 58-point effort including 25-38 from the field. Carson set school records his junior year in points per game and assists per game and then went on to break them the next year with 32.2 ppg and 6.6 apg.
In the scrimmage, Carson switched from the maroon team to the gold team and back to the maroon for the three 10-minute periods with his squad winning each period. He finished with 18 points and played nearly the entire scrimmage.
“I was just happy to be out here playing with my teammates that I didn’t get to play with last year,” said Carson, who was deemed academically ineligible in 2011-12. “Coach Herb, he let me play my game. That’s one of the things that he allowed me to do — he let me play my game, and that’s to get into the paint and make things happen.”
Another standout in the scrimmage was junior guard Evan Gordon. The younger brother of NBA player Eric Gordon, Evan recently transferred to Arizona State after playing two years at Liberty where he led the team in scoring his sophomore year. Gordon finished with eight points and led the Maroon team to a 47-33 victory.
Head Coach Herb Sendek thanked the fans for coming out and relayed the following message:
“This is a team that’s going to be easy to cheer for,” he said. “We have great guys on the team, they’re going to give a great effort, they’re going to play well together — it’s going to be an exciting style of play.
“I think it’s going to be a season we can all be proud of.”
I, for one cannot wait to see what the Sun Devils have when it comes to playing a rather tame non-conference schedule before embarking on taking a very tough Pac-12 Conference schedule. Their non-conference schedule begins November 11 at home vs. Central Arkansas and includes a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Las Vegas for the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational where they open up against the Arkansas Razorbacks and the winner will go on to play against either the Wisconsin Badgers or Creighton Blue Jays.
The Devils will open up their Pac-12 schedule at home for the first time since the 2007-2008 season against the Utah Runnin’ Utes on January 2nd and then host defending Pac-12 Tournament Champion Colorado Buffaloes four days later. The dreaded stretch comes two weeks later when they host the No. 12 ranked Arizona Wildcats on the 19th of January and the No. 13 ranked UCLA Bruins on the 24th. This tough conference will truly test the mettle of the team and I am confident that with the addition of two rising super stars in Carson and Gordon, things in the desert aren’t as bad as once believed.
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