The seeds have all been introduced, and now it is time for the bracket to begin. Over the next 15 days, you the readers will vote on your favorite moment until we have a #SunDevilMoments series champion. Our first matchup in the round of 16 features on paper, the most competitive battle.
Seed No. 8: Bobby Hurley Hired as ASU men's basketball coach
Following Arizona State bowing out of the NIT in the second round, head coach Herb Sendek was let go after nine seasons at the head of Sun Devil basketball. Sendek's tenure had mixed success, making a pair of runs to the NCAA tournament, but failing to permanently ascend the Sun Devils into the upper echelon of college basketball finally cost him following ASU's 18-16 season.
After a two week search, Ray Anderson announced the hiring of Bobby Hurley, who had led Buffalo to its first conference championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance in just his second season at the reins. While his limited coaching history bodes well, it's Hurley's pedigree as a player that made his hiring a national news story.
A point guard at Duke from 1989-1993, Hurley was the field general for a Blue Devils team that experienced an extraordinary run of success. Hurley went to three Final Fours in his time in Durham, bringing home a pair of championships en route to becoming the NCAA all-time leader in assists.
Hurley's NBA career is more notable for the near-fatal car crash he endured in his rookie season for the Sacramento Kings than it is the six years he spent with the team, but the former Blue Devil ranks as one of the greatest collegiate basketball players the game's known.
After retiring and spending a few years owning and breeding racehorses, Hurley returned to the game in 2010 as an assistant coach at Wagner, joining his older brother's staff. When Dan Hurley moved to Rhode Island in 2012, Bobby followed, and after a season of working as an associate head coach earned his shot at Buffalo. Two MAC East Division titles and a 2015 MAC Tournament championship later, Hurley had shown Anderson enough to warrant his hire at ASU.
Hurley's father Bob Hurley Sr. is a legendary high school basketball coach at St. Anthony High School in New Jersey, and won four of his 27 state titles with his son running point. In his introductory press conference, Hurley referenced both his father and his coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, fresh off another national championship, as major influences to his coaching style.
If he experiences success anywhere near that of the two Basketball Hall of Famers, this moment will go down as one of the best decisions made in program history.
Seed No. 9: Johnny Sewald goes viral
If you're looking for moments, there aren't many that were quite as shockingly impressive as what Johhny Sewald gave us on May 16th.
In the rubber game of a three-game series with Washington State, ASU held a 5-3 lead over the Cougars, and came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth looking to put the game out of reach. The Sun Devils put men on the corners, and sent Sewald up to bat with two outs aiming for an insurance run.
And then, it happened.
And just like that, Sewald had achieved unintentional "badassery". The ball was coming at him at high speed and Sewald just, you know, caught it in his friken elbow. Oh, and then he casually tossed it back to the Washington State pitcher as if to say "Here's the ball back, congrats on loading the bases."
The world stopped and took a minute to try and process exactly what it had just witnessed. ASU didn't add any more runs in the inning, but won the game in extra innings and won the Internet the day after.
Deadspin posted a video of the occurrence, then ESPN showed it on Sportscenter, and before he knew it Sewald had become the water-cooler talk of college baseball.
The Pac-12 Network announcers' reaction to Sewald's catch was almost as interesting as the hit by pitch itself, and the video and tale of Sewald's exploits made its way into viral lore. The win over a mediocre opponent in a low-consequence regular season game won't be remembered for long, but Sewald's moment will be, and that's why it's in contention for the Moment of the Year.
We saw this strange, yet awesome moment as the No. 9 moment of the ASU athletic year. However, it is up to the readers to determine how far this moment will go in our bracket starting next week.