Among the Pac-12 last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils ranked in the bottom three in rebounding margin (-7.1), defensive rebounding (32.6 per game) and blocked shots (3.2 pg).
Last season’s tallest starter was 6-foot-8 Obinna Oleka. Because of this, the Sun Devils suffered, finishing seventh in the Pac-12 with a 7-11 conference record and 15-18 recaord overall.
This year, it’s not an issue.
Romello White (6-foot-8, 225-pound redshirt freshman forward)
White was academically ineligible last season and skipped two of Arizona State’s three exhibition games due to a violation of team rules; however, when he’s on the court, he’s ASU head coach Bobby Hurley’s highest praise near the rim. White ranked No. 77 in the ESPN 100 in the class of 2016 and he hailed from prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
In the one game exhibition game White did play in, he finished with a double-double, dropping 14 points and 10 rebounds against University of San Diego. White is expected to start for the Sun Devils this season, where he can make a serious impact down low.
Vitaly Shibel (6-foot-9, 210-pounds redshirt freshman forward)
The Ukraine native missed the 2016-17 season with an ACL injury, but is poised for a big freshman season behind his ability to shoot the ball, using his height and may be tough to defend being a left-hander.
It seems Shibel is next off the bench behind White, as he started at forward for Arizona State in both games White did not play in. With minimal minutes in all three games, Shibel contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds against in his best performance against Arizona Christian.
Kimani Lawrence (6-foot-7, 210-pound freshman small forward)
At No. 54 overall and the No. 11 forward in the class of 2017 ESPN 100, Lawrence boasts the highest rating of any player on the Sun Devils’ current roster. The Providence, Rhode Island native is a strong mid range shooter who can also help the Sun Devils near the rim.
Lawrence will likely be a starter for the Sun Devils this season, as he started at small forward in all three preseason games. Lawrence’s best preseason performance came against Arizona Christian when he went 7-for-8 shooting, scoring 18 points.
De’Quon Lake (6-foot-10, 225-pound junior power forward)
Lake was Hurley’s biggest pickup from the offseason, literally, in height and weight. With a big presence in the key, he averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, while shooting 67.6 percent from the field and Iowa Western Community College.
Lake is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands and moved to Newport News, Virginia where he attended Mencville High School. While he did not start in any three preseason exhibition matchups, Lake contributed eight points each in ASU wins over Arizona Christian and Northern State. The Sun Devils should rely on Lake to be an key player off the bench.
Ramon Vila (6-foot-8, 230-pound sophomore forward)
Because of Arizona State’s lack of depth last season, the Barcelona, Spain native saw nearly 12 and a half minutes per game in 2016-17, averaging 2.6 points and two rebounds per game. Vila should provide similar minutes to less minutes that he did last season, competing for a spot on the floor off the bench.
Mickey Mitchell (6-foot-7, 225-pound sophomore forward)
Originally an Ohio State product, Mitchell averaged two points and 2.8 rebounds per game in the 2015-16 season with the Buckeyes. Mitchell then ventured to Tempe where he must sit out until the spring semester (at least first 14 games).