Head coach Bobby Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devil men’s basketball team had their first media open practice Tuesday afternoon. The squad opened up into two teams; Black and Gold. The media was only allowed to see so much, but here were the guys on the court for the majority of what we saw.
Black team: Freshman guard Luguentz Dort, freshman guard Kyle Fiet, redshirt senior Zylan Cheatham, sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence, freshman center Uros Plavsic.
Gold team: Sophomore guard Remy Martin, redshirt junior guard Rob Edwards, freshman guard Elias Valtonen, redshirt sophomore forward Vitaliy Shibel, redshirt forward Romello White
The black team won the inter-squad scrimmage, and the gold team had to run sprint afterwards.
Hurley injury update
Hurley opened up his press conference with an injury update.
Senior forward De’quon Lake — Lake suffered a minor knee injury in the team’s first practice on Sunday. Hurley said it shouldn’t be more than a 10-day deal and they’re just being conservative with it.
Freshman forward Taeshon Cherry — Cherry also hurt his knee, but again nothing major. He’s been out the last few weeks and should be back within the next two according to Hurley. Hurley also said the freshman has had a great summer.
Junior forward Mickey Mitchell — This seems to be the most serious of the injuries Hurley updated on. Mitchell has been dealing with a back injury throughout the summer and will continue to deal with it going forward. There isn’t a timetable for his return according to Hurley and that he will be out for awhile.
Last season, “Guard U” took over the college basketball world for a little bit. However, with the exits of Shannon Evans II, Tra Holder and Kodi Justice the Sun Devils are going to look a little different. In comes a much larger recruiting class and a few transfers who can play this year, the group is now calling themselves “Big Guard U.”
“Last year we were smaller at the guard position. This year we got some power guards that can take a different load. It’s definitely a different look,” Cheatham said. “I think Hurley has his work cutout for him. We shot a lot more threes than I think we will this year, only time will tell. We have more inside presence this year.”
“We’re not going to be the same team, we’ll be different,” Hurley said. “We played smaller lineups, and certainly we have a lot more length and athleticism on this year’s team. We have great depth, we’re bigger and more athletic than any team I’ve had. I think it has the potential to be the best defensive coach that I’ve coached anywhere I’ve been.”
Martin seemed to be the spark in a lot of games last season when Arizona State needed one. Coming off the bench for most of the season he averaged 9.6 points per game, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals. No longer an asset off the bench, Martin is now the face of this Sun Devil team.
“Remy has had a great offseason. Just like most freshmen will improve, he’s going to improve,” Hurley said. “He’s had Luguentz everyday to go up against. Those guys have been battling a lot and they’ll play together. Remy does the right things. Great leader and he’s getting better like you hope he would.”
“The transition is the same as last year. My goal is to get the best out of my guys and just to win games here. I don’t think it’s any different. I’m a born leader. I’m just here to lead my guys to their most potential,” Martin said after being asked about the transition to being the “guy.”
There’s been a lot of talk about this freshman class coming into this season. A major reason why there’s is an expectation that ASU program takes another step forward this season. Hurley has plenty to say, things as far that Lugentz Dort may be the best defensive guard he ever coaches.
“Lou has soon as he got here — immediate impact in everything that we do. Got such presence in practice, (he) affects practice in a lot of ways. He attacks the basket. His mind is very good too,” Hurley said.
“They’re just focused. They get in the gym, they do what they got to do. The sky’s the limit for them,” Edwards said.
The Sun Devils have their first exhibition game on October 30th against Arizona Christian.