ASU’s Bobby Hurley: ‘I know this is where I want to be’
Bobby Hurley’s life read like a movie script before his time coaching Arizona State.
A Duke hero who still owns the NCAA career assists record, he was off and running as a rookie with the Sacramento Kings before a car crash altered his career path. The point guard would remain in the NBA for four more years before he stepped away and took on horse racing as his new career.
Reuniting with his brother, Dan, on a college coaching staff was his entry back into basketball before Hurley took the head coaching job at Buffalo, and then, at Arizona State.
Take in all of that, and consider that he said this about Arizona State’s 9-0 start to the season:
“It’s been the most rewarding thing,” Hurley said Tuesday while visiting with Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “This whole season for me has been as good as anything I ever did as a player.”
Moving forward, the fear for ASU fans is that Hurley sees greener pastures elsewhere.
A Blue Devil by blood, his name will surely crop up when schools with bigger basketball reputations begin looking for new head coaches. Hurley tried to put that to rest Tuesday.
“I love it here. We’ll take care of that, believe me,” he said. “I know that this is where I want to be, so I have no issues saying that, 100 percent. We’re building something special here. I’m loving the way we play, the style — it’s exactly what I had a vision for in terms of how we entertain people in addition to winning basketball games.”
Considering the path here, building it himself might mean more to Hurley.
He took on a team devoid of talent three years ago, leading ASU to just 15 wins in his first two seasons. Injuries, transfers and youth bogged the Sun Devils down, but behind a senior guard trio that bought in, Hurley’s team has broken through this season.
Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice have teamed with Hurley’s younger recruits to create an identity that reflects its leader to a T.
Wearing warmups that read “Guard U,” ASU has tired opponents with an entertaining, speedy and perimeter-oriented style.
Arizona State looks like a lock for the NCAA Tournament, barring any major setbacks. The Sun Devils, while knocking off No. 2 Kansas on Sunday, at times used four guards — the senior trio plus freshman Remy Martin — and outscored the Jayhawks by 21 points in that span.
Why has it been so rewarding through just nine games?
“I just think because it’s very personal when it’s you and your plan,” Hurley said. “It’s kind of only you. It’s kind of your thing that you’re doing. When you’re head coach, you’re responsible for all the players in your program and the success that they have, and to share in that and to see how far these guys have come as people and as players, and to see the success they’re having, it’s just satisfying to see their families travel to Lawrence and celebrate with them after the game.
“It’s more than just yourself. I’m kind of living it through their eyes.”
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