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Jahii Carson allows Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils to play faster

Under head coach Herb Sendek, Arizona State basketball is not really known for being a fast-paced, high-scoring team.

However, that’s not exactly the case anymore.

The 4-1 Sun Devils are averaging 79.2 points per game this season, a mark that is good for 39th-best in the country. A guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday, Sendek said it really comes down to personnel.

“We talked about wanting to play this way last year and then with some guys not being with us that we expected we had to adjust midstream,” the coach said. “But right now it’s a style that fits our team very well. It’s fun and I think it’s really what our team needs right now.”

The Sun Devils are led in scoring by freshman guard Jahii Carson, who is pouring in 21 points per game along with nearly three rebounds and five assists. He’s shooting .484 from the floor and .462 from three point range.

Having a player of that caliber, Sendek said, certainly helps.

“Obviously with a guy like Jahii, coupled with the guys around him, this is a good fit for this team,” he said about the style of play. “We’re trying to get better at it.”

Sendek added that the Devils, for as much running as they’re doing, still must be able to execute in half-court sets. Though people may point to Carson as the impetus for the switch in style — and Carson makes it all possible — it still comes down to the players around him being able to get the job done.

“Jahii has a big place in it because he’s our point guard, and it also takes the other players as well,” Sendek said. “We talk about football: everybody loves the passing game, everybody loves sending five wide receivers out, but if you have an option quarterback that may not be the best thing to do, and it’s not a function of your philosophy or your coaching strengths, but it’s a function of personnel.”