Jahii Carson's experience at Arizona State has been a roller coaster ride. When he committed to play for the Sun Devils, Carson was considered one of the best point guard prospects in the nation and was the crown jewel of Sendek's 2011 class.
Due to academic ineligibility, Carson was sidelined last season as the ASU program struggled to a 10-21 record. In the past year, Carson has practiced with the team and has bonded with incoming transfers Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes.
Naturally, I was enthusiastic to talk to Jahii. He had a tough transition to the collegiate level, and it's important to see how a young man approaches and deals with adversity of that kind.
My first impression of ASU's point guard: Character. Fortitude. A lot of people would have thrown in the towel or acted like the world owed them a favor. From my conversation with Carson, his head is in a much better place. He spoke highly of his teammates, praised the coaching staff, and has worked hard in both the classroom and the weight room to become the best player he can be for the upcoming season.
Here is the first half of my interview with Jahii Carson. More
will come in the near future can be seen in Part 2 of our interview. This is a kid Sun Devil fans can really get excited about.
Cory Williams: You've mentioned in the past year that staying close to home for college can cause distractions. How have you handled those distractions since coming to ASU?
Jahii Carson: I just try to keep my focus. I know what I am here for at ASU. I am here as a student-athlete; basketball and school are a top priority. Friends and extracurricular activitites can be put on the back burner until everything is completed as far as workouts, study hall, training, and weightlifting. I try to make those my top priority so I don't lose focus.
What is your relationship like with Coach Sendek?
It's great. Coach Sendek understands the type of game I like to play. He has the coaching style to help me flourish in the system he is putting together. I think he is really cool and he has a great personality. He's a tough guy. If things aren't done his way, he's going to let you know about it.
[Coach Sendek]'s not going to insult your intelligence or beat around the bush with it - he's going to get straight to the point and let you know how he wants it done. He's not afraid of getting on me either and I'm not afraid of asking questions. Our relationship is great as far as head coach and point guard.
Jahii talks about last season's struggles and Twitter after the jump.
ASU basketball has struggled in recent seasons. For fans of the program, it can be hard to determine what exactly is going on. What do you think went wrong last year?
A lot of guys didn't hold themselves accountable. When a team's losing you guys cannot blame each other. You need to look in the mirror and say "whose fault is this?" and hold yourself accountable for certain things. If you're missing your defensive assignment, don't be looking for help. Instead, say "I'm going to keep my man in front."
If coach has set up a game play for you and have broken down the keys to this team's offense and defense and you're missing assignments, you have to hold yourself accountable. You also have to hold your team accountable. If you're doing something correctly and your teammates aren't, you have to let them know. You can't be afraid to tell them what they are doing wrong.
I think a lot of people were just worried about their individual accolades. A lot of guys weren't holding each other accountable. This year, that's something we're trying to do.
Based on your highlight reel clips on YouTube and across the internet, you're a very talented ball handler. You've also discussed with other reporters that you needed to work on your left hand. How much progress have you made in that regard?
I try to do moves with my right hand tied behind my back, just using my left hand and getting a feel for it. When I am passing in open gym, I try to use my left hand to get it as strong as I can. I get the feeling that if my left hand is as strong as my right hand, I am going to be pretty hard to guard. If my left hand is strong, I'll be even more dominant in the college game.
You have nearly 6000 followers on Twitter. What is your opinion on the immediacy of social media? Many athletes have gotten into hot water for things they have written online in the past.
There are a lot of eyes on me. I gotta watch what I say. A lot of people haven't met me yet, a lot of people don't know my character, and they'll judge my character based on some of my tweets. That's understandable, as that's the way it is nowadays.
A lot of people have Twitter. Alumni, older people who are basketball fans now have Twitter and they're starting to be fans of mine and follow me. I have to watch what I say, what I retweet, and what I reply to. But I don't think it's a big problem, I think that my character allows me to not express certain things and not respond to certain things.
I have to recognize that I can't be out there tweeting all the time and that I need to smart with my tweets.
Part two available now!Thanks again to Jahii Carson for spending time with us.