Another day in March, another day without any basketball, I know it sucks. But I hope to keep your interest in the college basketball landscape going with these recaps, and today I’m joined by Hod Rabino from devilsdigest.com to recap the Arizona State Sun Devil’s 2019-2020 men’s basketball season.
Q: If March Madness was being played what were your realistic expectations for this team?
A: Even though Arizona State won 8 of its last 11 regular-season games, and I expected them to have a pretty deep run in the Pac-12 tournament, but realistically I wouldn’t expect them to win more than one game in the NCAA tournament. Granted as a projected 10-seed they would be getting a somewhat comfortable opponent in the first round but then playing a 2-seed in the second round would probably be too tall of a task for the Sun Devils to handle.
Q: In one word, how would you describe this past season?
A: Perseverance. This team had a pretty rough non-conference slate especially in the month of December followed by an anemic 1-3 start to Pac-12 play. And still they finished the season with 20 wins ranked third in a Pac-12 conference that was considerably better than last year. This is no small feat.
Q: What was best moment of the season and what was the worst?
A: The best moment was coming back from a 22-point deficit to beat arch-rival University of Arizona with the winning shot, coming with less than nine seconds on the game clock. The worst moment was without a doubt a 40-point defeat by St. Mary’s, in the game that was a quasi-home contest being played in downtown Phoenix. It was beyond a pipe dream at that point to think that ASU was going to even be sniffing a bid to March madness.
Q: Besides the graduating seniors, are you anticipating any outgoing roster movements this offseason?
A: I’d rather not name names in public but if you look at the stats of some of the current sophomore or older players it’s not hard to figure out which ones are likely to depart the program.
Q: The Pac 12 was one of the most competitive conferences this past year, who do you think has the advantage next year?
A: Because of the rumors of the NCAA possibly granting an additional year of eligibility for players, even if it’s just the seniors, it may be difficult to accurately project who’s coming back on what team. ASU right now is poised to have a recruiting class of three players who are Top 40 prospects. So, if that were to happen you definitely put them as a strong possibility to finish again in the top four in the league. Both USC and UCLA are going to have formidable recruiting classes coming in. Oregon is a team that you can never count out and I think a dark horse for next season at least judging by their recruiting class is Utah.
Q: Right now there is only one recruit coming in, can we expect more players (including transfers/grad-transfers) or is that it?
A: Josh Christopher and Cliff Omoruyi are the two Top 40 prospects that I project will join five star Marcus Bagley in ASU’s 2020 class. Seemingly every coveted transfer who announced their intentions this week is also being pursued by ASU so that’s another market that they are exploring. All in all I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw as many as four, five newcomers on this team next year.
Q: Remy Martin should return for his senior year, what can we expect from this team and him next year?
A: Remy Martin can definitely take his game to even a higher level even though he was voted first-team Pac-12. With the anticipated infusion of talent around him, I think his distributor role can improve over previous seasons, but he will still remain a talented scorer and difference maker that will never be afraid to take the last shot in the game.
That was the Arizona State season recap, huge thanks to Hod Rabino for answering these questions, make sure to go check him out at devilsdigest.com.