Arizona State basketball fans got their first look at their 2012-2013 Sun Devils Saturday morning at the team's annual Maroon and Gold scrimmage. The team showed fans its new offensive and defensive schemes and of course its premier player, Jahii Carson, was at center stage.
The scrimmage consisted of three 10-minute periods. The Maroon team was made up of ASU's projected starting lineup: Carson, Evan Gordon, Jonathan Gilling, Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski. The Gold team started: Chris Colvin, Bo Barnes, Kenny Martin, Richie Edwards and Ruslan Pateev.
The Sun Devils had a hard time finding an offensive rhythm early on. The Maroon team's offense went through Carson, who used his speed to get past defenders and drive the lane. The offense was at its best when Carson drove the lane and found open shooters on the perimeter, including Jonathan Gilling, who sunk an early three.
The Gold team had a hard time finding points, as they lost the first period 17-7. Forward Kenny Martin had a hard time finding his stride from beyond the arc, as the freshman missed multiple attempts in the first period.
The Gold team won the second period 10-9, behind Jahii Carson, who switched teams in the second session. The offense for both teams came alive in the third period, which the Maroon team won 21-16 with Carson and Chris Colvin in the backcourt.
Players Who Impressed
Jahii Carson - Carson shined on both sides of the ball Saturday, leading all scorers with 16 points (unofficial stats) and dazzled fans with some electric moves all over the court.
Early in the scrimmage, Carson attacked the basket and drove on his defenders. Although he was stopped inside on some early drives, he was able to get past whoever was defending him with relative ease most of the scrimmage.
Jonathan Gilling- Gilling, ASU's 3-PT specialist last season, was inconsistent from beyond the arc during the scrimmage. Gilling missed a couple open threes, including one following a beautiful pass from Carson.
However, where Gilling impressed was with his passing and defense. On multiple occasions, Gilling found his teammates for easy baskets, including finding a wide open Jordan Bachynski for a dunk and a nice touch pass that set up freshman forward Eric Jacobson for free throws.
Evan Gordon - The transfer from Liberty looks as if he has locked up the starting job beside Carson in the ASU backcourt. Gordon put up 12 points (again unofficial) in the scrimmage and did a nice job on the boards.
Gordon will be mostly a perimeter shooter for ASU, as he stayed around the 3-PT line most of the scrimmage and hit some long three's.
Players Who Disappointed
Kenny Martin - With Kyle Cain and Trent Lockett gone, Martin will be looked to as one of ASU's chief reserves in the front court. What makes Martin dangerous is he is a 6-9 forward who can hit from beyond the arc. Well the freshman did not show his 3-PT accuracy in this scrimmage has he missed at least five attempts.
Martin was also posterized by Carrick Felix and had some lapses defensively. Martin figures to improve as the season gets on but the first year player did not look too comfortable with his game.
ASU's Big Men - Jordan Bachynski and Ruslan Pateev both did not show much improvement from last season. Bachynski missed a few shots inside and gave up some rebounds. Pateev was inconsistent as well, and neither big showed that they can be a force inside during this season.
On what he was looking for during the scrimmage:
"Well we are always looking for effort, it starts and ends with effort, but obviously we want to execute, effort and execution. There's going to be a lot of things that we are going to identify that are a function of effort, and in many instances that relates to our conditioning."
On one player that really surprised him early on in the season:
"Carrick Felix has really emerged as a leader, he has just done a great job with leadership. Fifth year senior, a young man that has already graduated and is working on his masters program he has just been a real consistent voice for our team. He's been encouraging and he has been firm when he as to."
On Evan Gordon:
"One thing Evan can do is score, so he will take good shots, he really gives us a scoring dimension and today I think we saw a little bit of that.
On if he is happy one week into practice:
"Well I like our guys, I like our team. Obviously we have a huge amount of work to do. We have so much work to do, but I like our guys, I think they want to get better and it's fun going through the process.
On getting more comfortable running the offense:
"I definitely am, coach Herb (Sendek) just lets me play my game, that's one of the things he allows me to do, he just lets me play my game."
On if he is happy where the team is one week into practice:
"I'm never satisfied with where our team is. I just think we are in a happy place right now, we're comfortable, and I don't think we are ready to break that barrier yet. I think in a few weeks from now we will be ready to make that huge push."
On Evan Gordon:
"He's a guy who can still change the game and effect the offense. I think he is going to be a sleeper (player) and people need to watch out for him."
News and Notes
- Freshman guard Calen Robinson was not involved in the scrimmage today. Robinson was suspended by head coach Herb Sendek and has not been practicing with the team early in the season. It is not known when Robinson will return.
- The Sun Devils return only 34.2 points per game total in 2012-2013. Carrick Felix is the team's leading returning scorer with 10.5 PPG.
- Transfers Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes are eligible to play this season after sitting out last season. Gordon averaged 14.4 PPG his sophomore year at Liberty and Barnes averaged 6.9 PPG his freshman season at Hawaii.