After adding JUCO big-man, Chris Osten had one remaining Scholarship, assuming that both Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr return. What I did was ask James Kohout, (@_jameskohout_ on Twitter) for a breakdown of Dziuba, a 16-year-old 6’8″ Forward from Ukraine.
“The functional athleticism, handle, and ability to efficiently get his shot off in different ways from someone that young and that size reminds me of Franz Wagner of Michigan, on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively there are concerns. He moves well on the offensive side but was a bit slow reacting at times. He makes up for it for the most part with positive instincts. I’ve seen some people call him a center and I would disagree with that sentiment and actually imagine he plays most of his minutes as a perimeter/trailer stretch 4 who’s occasionally allowed to do some self-creating. He’s likely going to be very good at some point given how unique his combination of tools and age is, but I do have some worries about his lack of strength keeping him from being a helpful defensive presence in the early part of his Arizona State career.
Great analysis from a great Basketball mind, and one day a great scout, please give him a follow on twitter (@_JamesKohout_) he’s truly great.
Based on what James said, this is quite the intriguing add, but you saw Bobby Hurley try out a stretch-4 last season with Khalid Thomas who was the #2 JUCO prospect but just didn’t work-out for ASU, he was a bad defender and that really killed his playing time. He is a great shooter but was also suspended by Coach Hurley for multiple games so that definitely didn’t help his cause on getting more playing time. He transferred to Portland State at the conclusion of the season.
This isn’t your Romello White replacement, but I don’t think Hurley was ever looking for that soon-to-be sophomore Jalen Graham seems to have really earned the trust of the coaching staff. Graham played sparingly this season but he was great when he did play, he averaged 3.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1 blocks per game in 10 minutes per game. He played his most minutes in his First Game when Romello White was suspended for violation of team rules in the PAC-12 China game against Colorado. Graham had 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 Blocks. If Graham can produce defensively like that he’s going to be huge for Arizona State this season and he can step right into Romello White’s role.
Let’s look at that lineup going into next season:
PG: Remy Martin (Testing Waters)
SG: Alonzo Verge Jr
SF: Joshua Christopher
PF: Kimani Lawrence
C: Jalen Graham
Bench: Jaelen House, Taeshon Cherry, Marcus Bagley, Pavlo Dziuba, Caleb Christopher, Chris Osten
This is poised to be ASU’s best team under Bobby Hurley, Remy Martin will likely be the pre-season PAC-12 Player of the year. Alonzo Verge Jr is one of the most underrated players in the Nation, he also had the most 20-point games off the bench in the power-6. Joshua Christopher is a Top-10 recruit and can really score and will be a highlight-reel player. Marcus Bagley joins him, with the kind of vicious dunks they throw down it’ll be an unreal combination. Cherry hasn’t lived up to his top-50 recruit billing, he’s a solid defender and a big guy overall and has a nice jump-shot but isn’t consistent at all with it. At this point, he should focus on being a Power Forward rather than a wing guy. His 6’8″ frame and athleticism just plays better at that spot. Osten is a very good defender and shot-blocker, I spoke with Chris when he committed and he wants to be known as a defender and that’s exactly what Bobby Hurley’s team needs. Jaelen House is a pesky defender although very skinny, his offense is not near developed right now, but his father, Eddie House probably wants to change that and will. Caleb Christopher is another guard, who’s most known for shooting although he barely played last season.
A potential decision that needs to be made? Portland State Transfer, Phoenix Native Holland Woods II is a sit-out transfer, that could get a waiver. I don’t think he’ll choose to use it even if he gets it, I think he opts to sit-out and play with Ohio State Transfer, Luther Muhammad in 2021-22, when Martin, Verge, Christopher have all moved on. Although if either Martin or Verge don’t return this season he absolutely will try to play for the Sun Devils this season. If he does choose to use his Waiver to play this-season with Martin and Verge, I’m curious to see what his minutes will look like, as he’s a guy who had 17 points and 5 assists per game for the Vikings last season.
Is this a make-or-break season for Hurley in Tempe? Some may see it that way, but he’s already probably the most successful coach in the Arizona State Basketball program history. If there was a tournament played they would’ve made it for the 3rd straight season, something that hadn’t happened since the ’70s. The issue? The 2 seasons The Sun Devils have made the tournament under Hurley, they were both First Four appearances and lost in 2017-18 to Syracuse, and in 2018-19 they beat St John’s, but then they lost to Buffalo In the Round of 64. Can they go-over-the the hump this season or will it be another quick in-and-out of the tournament for Hurley’s squad? I think this team has Final Four potential. They have immense talent but guys need to play their role. Josh Christopher isn’t in High School anymore, he might not be the best player at Arizona State and that’s a role he will need to buy into, for some guys that can be tough.