Last week, we published a portion of our interview with ASU point guard Jahii Carson. He talked about his relationship with coach Herb Sendek, how to navigate the muddled waters of Twitter as a student-athlete, and what went wrong last season for the Sun Devils.
Now, we bring you the rest of the interview. Carson talks about season tickets, his all-time favorite NBA player, Bo Barnes and Evan Gordon, and expectations for 2012.
Speaking of Twitter, it sounds like you spend a lot of time at the gym. Can you walk us through a Jahii Carson workout?
When I am in the weight room, I do whatever our strength and conditioning coach has us doing. One day, probably bench press, incline bench, pull-ups, and the next day is probably squats, deadlifts, and lower body. When I am in the gym, working on my game, I try to get as many shots up as I can to get the muscle memory built and make sure my form is right. I try to work on the basic ballhandling fundamentals, I try to run up and down to get my endurance up. When someone is guarding me, I work on moves - between the legs, behind the back, just to get my game better. I try to be in the gym as often as I can.
You've been spotted in the ticket office this year, talking to season ticket holders on the phone and answering questions about the team. What was the most interesting conversation you had?
Some people aren't believers yet. They say they want to see us winning before they come out to games or before they buy season tickets. I say to them: I was out last year and I wasn't able to play. Evan Gordon was out, he wasn't able to play. The freshmen weren't here, they weren't able to play.
There was a lot of adversity last year and we didn't get over it the best we could. I try to explain that this is a totally different team from last year's team. Totally different team. A lot of people are happy about that, but some say "you were supposed to play last year and were supposed to have a great year last year." I think that's fair. Before you want to go out and spend your money on a team, you want to see a winning record. We're just going to have to give [ASU fans] a winning season and then hopefully they will become ticket holders for the next year.
When you were younger, who was your favorite NBA player?
I've always been a big fan of Allen Iverson. I think for his size, he's one of the best scorers to ever play the game. He knew how to get his shot off at any time and against anybody. I didn't like some of the things he did off the court, but on the court he was one of the people I looked up to.
There's plenty more after the jump...
Do you feel any pressure going into the 2012 season? Does missing a year make you anxious to contribute on the court to the program?
I feel a little bit of pressure. A lot of people are calling me the savior of the program and looking for me to do great things. I've always been pressured and held to high standards and I take that as motivation. I want to have the pressure, and I thrive on it. When the pressure is on and the lights are on, I think I play that much better.
What are you studying at Arizona State?
I haven't decided a major yet. I will probably be in the process of doing that sometime around the end of the first semester. I think I want to be a history major or a communications major so I am doing classes affiliated with those two.
Tell me about Bo Barnes and Evan Gordon.
Bo Barnes has an ankle injury and he's recovering from that. But I see the will that he has to get back. Bo Barnes shoots the ball. If he shooting eight three-pointers in a game, I'm thinking he's going to make all of them - that's how good of a shooter he is. He knows a lot of people put the name on him, "shooter, designated shooter." He's been maneuvering his game so that if you close out terribly on him, he's going to hit the jump shot. If you close out too strong on him, he's going to put the ball on the ground and make some dribble moves. Barnes' game has really improved since I've first stepped on the court at ASU.
Evan Gordon is from the Midwest. He's very strong and crafty with the basketball. A lot of people sleep on his game - he may be one of the top guards in the country and people are going to get to see that. He has a mid-range jump shot, a floater; He has an older man's game. [Gordon] thinks before he makes a move. A lot of young guys nowadays, they don't think before they make a move. They don't take what the defense gives you. Gordon takes what the defense gives him, whether that's a jump shot or driving past the defense. He's an all-around great player.
Finally, lets talk about expectations for 2012. What are your goals for the Sun Devils in your first year?
Honestly, I don't want to lose a game. I know that's being a little bit extreme, but I don't want to lose. I prefer to be at the 20-win mark. I think we're capable of winning every game, or losing only 5 games. I think we've got the personnel to be a top-3 team in the Pac-12 this year. I am putting high expectations on this team because I am putting high expectations on myself.
Once again, we thank Jahii Carson for his time and wish ASU basketball the best of luck in 2012.