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2012 Arizona State Basketball Season Preview: The Backcourt

The Arizona State basketball season is right around the corner and House of Sparky is beginning a position-by-position preview of the 2012-2013 Sun Devil men's basketball team.

Up first in our series of season previews for Arizona State men's basketball is the backcourt, which returns only two players from the 2011-2012 squad. Led by newcomers Jahii Carson and Evan Gordon, the backcourt will be leaned on heavily this season.

The Returners

Chris Colvin (7.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG in 2011-2012)

Colvin is the only returner who saw extended minutes last season. The senior from Chicago alternated between starter and reserve last year, and Colvin saw all of his statistics rise over the final 15 games of last season. Colvin's scoring average rose from 4.9 PPG to 8.7 PPG in the final 15 games and he shot over 40% from the field in that span.

Colvin will be a valuable backup this season, as he can play both guard positions and he can dish the ball around. Colvin averaged five assists per game the last half of last season.

Dave Whitmore (0.6 PPG, 0.3 RPG in 2011-2012)

Whitmore may see the court more in his junior season. The Corona del Sol product hasn't seen too much action during his first two years on the team. However, as we stated earlier, with only two players returning in the backcourt, Whitmore may seen some more playing time as an upperclassmen.

The Newcomers

Jahii Carson (32.2 PPG, 6.6 APG in 2010-2011 at Mesa HS)

Carson comes to Tempe with high expectations as the redshirt freshman was one of the most dominant high school basketball players Arizona has ever seen. Carson is a playmaker that can attack the basket and finish around the rim. Carson can also hit the outside shot and has a knack for finding open teammates on the floor.

Carson will run the offense and when he is on the court, the ball will be in his hands. He will likely play around 35 minutes per game this season and most of Arizona State's success will be on his shoulders.

Evan Gordon (14.4 PPG in 2010-2011 at Liberty University)

Gordon will likely start in the backcourt beside Carson at the shooting guard position. There is little doubt that Gordon can shoot, as he he scored 832 carrer poins at Liberty and shot 34% from three point territory his sophomore year.

Gordon will be relied upon for offense this season. Gordon can shoot and with Carson as his point guard, he should have ample opportunities to hit open shots.

Bo Barnes (6.9 PPG in 2010-2011 at Hawaii University)

Barnes, originally from Scottsdale, is a transfer who sat out last season. He appeared in all 32 games as a freshman at Hawaii including eight starts during the 2010-2011 season. While at Hawaii, Barnes had a 38% three-point percentage and made 57 triples.

Barnes will come off the bench this season and wil be relied upon to make shots from the perimeter. He will be in the mix at shooting guard and should give ASU a sharp-shooter off the bench.

Position MVP: Jahii Carson

Much of ASU's upcoming season depends on what Carson can do with this roster. He is clearly the star and the face of this team without playing a minute in the Maroon and Gold. Carson will be relied on to score and set up his teammates with good shots.

Position Breakout Player: Evan Gordon

Gordon is an X-factor for the Sun Devils this season. He put up solid numbers and proved he could hit the outside shot, but that was at the mid-major level. Gordon will have to prove he can score against the defenders of the Pac-12.

Gordon's game will be helped by Carson, who should be able to find Gordon open on the perimeter when he drives to the basket. This is on display during the Maroon and Gold scrimmage, when Gordon had 14 points including several long threes.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our ASU basketball preview., when Ben Haber breaks down the bigs on Monday.