The ASU basketball season is just over a week away from tipping off, which means its also time for the annual maroon and gold scrimmage on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena. Don't expect head coach Herb Sendek to reveal too much to the crowd, but it will be the first time fans see this season's unit function as a whole and the closest the team will go at full speed before the first game on Nov. 14 against Chicago State. This team will be one to watch, if for nothing else than watching them try and find a true starting rotation with the numerous junior college players joining the program.
The battle at point guard
Tra Holder seems to have the early lead here, but JUCO transfer Gerry Blakes and freshman Kodi Justice will all see time on the floor Friday. They both bring different skills to the table and one advantage Blakes has is three inches over the height of Holder, meaning Blakes might provide some better matchups on taller guards this season.
What happens in the paint
Eric Jacobsen has noticeably put on some muscle at 6-foot-10, 255 pounds. Freshman Connor MacDougall is only 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds but provides a little more athleticism in his game. Jacobsen is the tallest player on the team and the rebounding may look promising Friday night but keep in mind they will be doing it against each other, not an actual opponent. Watch not necessarily who gets the rebound but how many guys are attempting to go to the boards after a shot. This should be a decent indicator of how much rebounding has been stressed in practice so far.
Where's Willie and Savon?
As in where do the Sun Devils put Willie Atwood and Savon Goodman on the floor? It's been noted before that Atwood tends to be a stretch four and while Goodman only stands 6-foot-6, he can be very physical in the paint. Atwood has the talent to be out there on a consistent basis but is a bit of "tweener" and could fit at either spot while Goodman seems like he would be more of a three in Sendek's system. Atwood meanwhile lends himself more to a four, especially when Jon Gilling is on the floor, but if Sendek wants a more athletic lineup then the three could be a landing spot as well.
It's just a scrimmage
Don't put too much weight into who Sendek puts on the floor to start the scrimmage, they will be running sets just like in games, but players have even switched jersey colors in the middle of this event before. If Sendek is trying to figure out a rotation, he has to start with the players he knows, which are Gilling, the junior Jacobsen and seniors Bo Barnes and Shaquielle McKissic and most likely Holder. Then work in the newer guys and see how they fit within different lineups. That's the beauty of a scrimmage, they can try out all kinds of different combinations and the new players also get a chance to feel what it's like playing in Wells Fargo Arena with some fans inside.
Peery on the bench
Every coach has a different style, they can be high energy and verbally communicate with the players or stand and watch the players play and have more faith in them. While he was in Tempe, Eric Musselman was always a very physically and verbally active coach on the bench. He'd get up and get on a player's case if they did something wrong because Sendek has to pay attention to what's happening on the court. He has a lot of trusts in his assistants to manage his players and teach on the bench at the same time while occasionally offering advice about the game. I've never seen Peery coach before so I'm interested to see what his style is like.
The schedule for the scrimmage is as follows:
5:30 p.m.: Men's team signs autographs
6:30 p.m.: Women's team scrimmage
7 p.m.: Men's team scrimmage
A dunk contest will follow men's team scrimmage