ASU Basketball Preview: Jahii Carson leads new-look backcourt

Jahii Carson will lead a new-look Arizona State backcourt this season. - USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State basketball season is right around the corner and House of Sparky is beginning a position-by-position preview of the 2013-2014 Sun Devil men's basketball team.

Entering 2012, the Arizona State basketball program was in dire need of a hype transfusion. And then Jahii Carson (finally) happened.

Carson, a local, high-profile recruit, instilled life in a program that in the two seasons before his arrival managed just 22 wins total. Last season, with Carson at the helm, the Sun Devils won 22 games, made the NIT and won a game in the Pac-12 tournament for the first time in four years.

Carson set freshman records in minutes played, field goals made, points, assists and total minutes. He averaged 18.5 PPG, and became the first Arizona State freshman to start and play in 35 games.

This season, Carson returns to the Arizona State backcourt as the only familiar face; Chris Colvin has graduated and Evan Gordon has transferred. The Sun Devils brought in two players from the Big-10 that figure to be key components on this year's squad.

Senior guard Jermaine Marshall comes to Tempe after averaging 15.3 PPG last season at Penn State. Junior Brandon Kearney, who will be eligible mid-season, has spent the past two seasons coming off the bench for Michigan State. But Carson get enough help to have some breathing room to operate? Let's investigate:

The Returners

Jahii Carson - 18.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.7 RPG

There is little doubt who makes the Sun Devils tick. Carson was the leader of the Sun Devil offensive attack last season and this year figures to be no different. In his final 10 games of the season, Carson averaged 20.6 PPG. In four postseason games last season, he averaged 24.3 PPG.

With Marshall playing beside him, Carson may be set up to become more of a facilitator this season. Expect the sophomore to improve on his assist numbers this season as he looks to get his teammates more involved in the offense.

Jarett Upchurch - 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.3 APG

The senior from Scottsdale, Arizona, has not seen much playing time during his time in Tempe. Last season, Upchurch averaged just 1.3 minutes per game. Upchurch did not see any action during Pac-12 play and only saw minutes in three games last season.

The Newcomers

Jermaine Marshall - 15.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.6 APG (Penn State)

Marshall has been a steady contributor for the Nitney Lions for the past two seasons. Because he has already graduated, Marshall is eligible to play right away under NCAA transfer rules. Herb Sendek has already announced that Marshall will start alongside Carson in the Arizona State backcourt.

Marshall finished sixth in the Big Ten in scoring last season, posting nine games of at least 20 points. He is the leading candidate to replace the scoring production lost by the graduation of Carrick Felix.

Calean Robinson - 18 PPG, 4 APG, 4 RPG (Corona Del Sol HS)

Robinson sat out last season due to personal reasons to he enters this season as a redshirt freshman. He led Corona del Sol to a state championship in his senior season and was rated as the 18th best PG in the nation by ESPN.com.

Robinson figures to be the backup point guard behind Carson. It will be Robinson's duty to run the offense when Carson leaves the court. Sendek may play the two guards together in the backcourt, giving Arizona State the speed he wants to play his up-tempo style.

Egor Koulechov - 16.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG (Junior year at Sagemont HS)

Koulechov joins a long line of international recruits brought in by Sendek. The freshman was born in Russia and moved to Isreal at age seven. He spent the summer of 2013 competing with the U-18 squad from Isreal, competing in six different countries over the summer.

Chance Murray

Murry comes to Arizona State from Prince High School in Southern California. Murray at one point had scholarship offers from UCLA, USC, UNLV and Washington. It is unknown how much playing time Murry will receiving this season, but he adds depth to the ever changing backcourt at Arizona State.

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