ASU basketball is looking to start 2-0 for the first time since 2009 as they battle Florida A&M Sunday, and junior transfer Evan Gordon will be a catalyst in their efforts.
In Gordon's Sun Devil debut, he scored 14 points on 4-for-16 shooting, but logged an impressive eight rebounds and five steals. According to many experts, Gordon is considered to be a sharp shooter. Despite the low percentage in game one, Gordon received relatively easy opportunities that will normally connect.
Throughout the 2012-2013 season, Gordon may be the Maroon and Gold's best overall player. That is not supposed to be a jab at Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix or Jordan Bachynski, yet rather simply recognizing the talent Gordon posses.
After chatting with Gordon and watching him compete for only forty minutes, I could tell this kid meant serious business. His willingness and ability to play defense will provide ASU with an additional needed spark.
Coach Herb Sendek has already expressed numerous words of praise regarding Gordon.
"He really has been consistently our leading deflector in practice," said Sendek.
House of Sparky: After sitting out last season, what was going through your head as game time slowly approached Saturday?
Evan Gordon: "I was just trying to focus on what we needed to do for this year and all the things we worked in our walk troughs and everything. I mean it was anticipated, I thought about it. I sat out a year for a year, so I was ready to go."
HoS: Overall, how would you evaluate your debut?
EG: "We got the win, I don't think I played as well as I could've. But I think I did what I was supposed to do, and did my assignments and everything. So, I think we had a good game."
HoS: Growing up with older brother Eric Gordon, how did that impact the player you are today?
EG: "Just watching his work ethic and knowing how to work hard. Knowing the different drills and things you have to do to win. Just being around him and his demeanor kind of helped me develop into the play I am."
HoS: Defensively, Coach Sendek believes you are amongst ASU's top defensive players. What makes you an elite defender?
EG: "I've guarded a lot of guys throughout the years. I mean I've guarded my brother my whole life and he is pretty hard to guard. Just constantly being a defensive player and learn how to guard guys like that has just helped me throughout the years."
HoS: The combination of Jahii Carson and yourself in the backcourt could be potent. What is it like playing alongside him?
EG: "It's great. He's a talented point guard. Even though he's a freshman for this year, he plays like a veteran. So I think once we build a little more commodity and look for each other it can end up being something nice.
HoS: Jordan Bachysnki had a dominant performance on Saturday. Is the offense going to feature him more often this season?
EG: "He has been developing since I first got here. He has gotten to be a monster; you saw the game he had. He had a big game for our first game and we will be looking to go to into him for our second game."
HoS: Going forward, what particular aspects of your game need improvement as Coach Sendek stares you down?
EG: "Staying on defense and helping out and that aspect of the team. Knowing our assignments each game, our roles change a little bit. Sometimes it's for me to score and sometimes it's me to guard their best offensive player. So I just have to adapt what we need."
HoS: I know it's very early on, but what is the biggest difference between basketball at this level compared to at Liberty?
EG: "It hasn't been a big change necessarily, the speed of play is about the same. But the length and athleticism has changed a little bit. I've adapted to it last year playing with our guys, having Carrick and Jordan. You have big guys you need to score over; it has been a big change in that aspect. As far as everything, it has been a smooth adjustment."
HoS: What are some points of emphasis in practice heading into the Vegas tournament Sunday?
EG: "Florida A&M gets it up and done, they are a really wild team. They force you to play at their tempo. We have to stay into what we are supposed to do and what we do best. If we stay to what we do, I think we'll win."
HoS: Lastly, what are the team goals this season and some of your personal goals as well?
EG: "Goals for our team this year is to win games. The last two years we haven't won too many games. We are just trying to win games, that is the number one goal and compete for the Pac-12 championship. Me personally, I'm just looking to make sure every guy gets better and then I improve myself. I don't have any specific number wise goals for each thing. But defense is one thing I know can help the team out with and scoring is as well. Doing those things for our team is something I looked forward to."