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ASU Basketball Backcourt Preview: Fresh talent adds depth to a solid returning backcourt

Take a look as to how the backcourt projects in 2015-2016.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We begin our look at the 2015-2016 ASU men's basketball team with a breakdown of the backcourt. Check back later in the week for more preview content in advance of the season opener on Friday.


Bo Barnes: The Scottsdale product and senior leader was known for his physicality on the court and his sweet spot from behind the arc. Barnes transitioned from a bench player at the end of the 2013 season and beginning of 2014 season, into a starter that catalyzed the Sun Devils offensively and aided in some of their most monumental wins last season.

In ASU's second straight upset of rival Arizona, Barnes had 18 points, was perfect from the foul line and sealed the win with a three. His presence and momentum-capturing toughness will be sorely missed this season.

Chance Murray: The combo-guard saw action in 29 games last season, seven more games than he saw his freshman season when he couldn't find minutes behind Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Bo Barnes in such a deep backcourt.

Last season was much the same, as Murray only averaged just over seven minutes a game and couldn't find consistency as a back-up point guard in former coach Herb Sendek's scheme, causing him to transfer at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

Roosevelt Scott: The junior college guard showed promise for ASU last year before being suspended three games for what Sendek called "a violation of team rules." Scott saw time in 20 games, starting five of them and 44.3 percent from the floor.


Gerry Blakes: The senior shooting guard is looking to be one of the most prominent figures under Hurley's new scheme and will play a major part in controlling the faster tempo. Blakes averaged 11.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, saw time in every game and started all but one of them. He finished his junior season with 28 steals and at 82 percent from the charity stripe.

Tra Holder: As an All-Pac-12  Freshman honoree last season, the sophomore point guard hopes to continue his success under Hurley in 2015. Holder was the most improved player on ASU's roster towars the end of last season.

He was fifth in the Pac-12 in assists per game in the 18 league games with 4.2 (76 total). Holder put up double-digit points in 13 games and showed his ability to draw fouls in the lane as well as his ability to create versatility with his ball-handling skills.

Kodi Justice: The 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard is coming off foot surgery from an injury sustained on January 25 last season following his best game against California where Justice put up 16 points. Justice plays a lot like Barnes with his ability to attack the basket and to sink shots from the perimeter, especially in big moments.


Andre Spight: The junior transfer from Burbank, California, looks to have tremendous potential for the Sun Devils at either of the guard positions this season. Spight saw ample minutes in the exhibition game against Western New Mexico where he finished the contest with 15 points, five boards and three steals.

Spight could be one of the best outside shooters the ASU possesses this season, something that will work well alongside either Blakes or Holder.

Shannon Evans: *Redshirting this season* Evans followed Hurley and transferred from Buffalo where he averaged 15.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, helping his team to an NCAA berth. Evans is said to be a role-model on the sidelines, as he is already used to Hurley's program, and now works to help his teammates become acclimated with the new system as well.

Maurice O'Field: The 6-foot-5, 210-pound sophomore is versatile enough to be both a backcourt or a front court player. In junior college O'Field averaged 15.8 points per game, 2.9 assists, five rebounds and through 28 games shot better than 50 percent from the field. Hurley is now faced with the challenge as to where to put O'Field for the Sun Devils' maximum potential.

Torian Graham: *Redshirting this season* The Durham, North Carolina, product and transfer also followed Hurley to ASU, but will have to sit out this season due to the transfer. Graham played two years of junior college ball at Chipola where he scored in double figures in seven games and recorded 20+ points in four games.


Fans and reporters alike are watching to see what Hurley does in his first year with this Sun Devil program. Hurley possesses some strong returners, as well as some new transfers that seem to stack up to make for a pretty deep and up-tempo backcourt. ASU scored 102 points, backed by this new up-tempo play and behind key backcourt contributors in Blakes, Spight and Holder, in their exhibition last Saturday.

With Barnes gone, Justice has an opportunity to step up in his absence and take over as the leader from beyond the arc. Blakes has the ability to increase his totals and has potential enough to be one of the Pac-12's leading scorers if placed in the right combination, something Sendek struggled with last season.

Holder has the chance to have another breakout season and the bench has the ability to increase its production with so many strong shooters, something the Sun Devils lacked and were in sore need of last season.