The Sun Devils may not know who they're going to start at guard yet, but if national attention is any indication of talent, then replacing Jahii Carson may be an easier task than many originally thought.
Freshman guard Tra (pronounced "Trey") Holder, a 3-star recruit from Los Angeles, California has turned the heads from those in the national media.
Coming into the Sun Devils' program, Holder was ranked as the No. 132 player in the country. He averaged 22.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season as a senior at Brentwood High School.
The NBC Sports college basketball arm just named Holder one of their high-major players to watch. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports also recently wrote about Holder's chance to have a large impact. Here is what Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek told Rothstein about Holder's role.
He's got a real chance to be our starting point guard and if he doesn't, he'll be a major factor in our rotation," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "He's going to have a huge role either way.
Sendek has stated that positions will be more fluid this season, but Carson's production clearly needs to be replaced and that could start with Holder and how he plays.
He and Carson are nearly identical in terms of physical appearance. He is listed as three inches taller than Carson, but Holder gained 15 pounds this offseason and now sits at 180 pounds. That's the same weight Carson was listed at last season, but he isn't nervous about living up to Carson's contributions at Arizona State.
"It's only pressure if you put pressure on yourself," Holder said. "I'm just going to go in and play my game and if I live up to expectations then that's going to be great."
Holder and Carson also have similar quick, agile playing styles, which is necessary in the Sun Devils up-tempo offense which they plan on continuing this season. Holder said he's watched Carson play and has learned a few things from his game.
"I just looked at his spots and the way he got his teammates involved and the way he scored," Holder said.
While Carson averaged 18.6 points and four points per game last season, Holder said he tries to imitate the game of NBA players Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving on the basketball court. If Holder can come anywhere close to that, its good news for the Sun Devil faithful.
Holder also mentioned that he worked on his verbal communication in the offseason, something Sendek consistently stresses in practice. He is trying his best to keep his mind open to the possibility that his role is still in flux. Junior college transfer Gerry Blakes is also still very much in the mix to start come Nov. 14 against Chicago State.
"It's really open to anyone," Holder said. "We've still got about a month left of practice so I'm just going to go out there and play my hardest."