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Vitale has Sun Devils basketball in preseason Top 25

Last month, Arizona State Sun Devils point guard Jahii Carson decided to forgo the NBA Draft and continue his collegiate career with the Sun Devils.

For ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, Carson’s return after a stellar freshman campaign spells a preseason Top 25 ranking for ASU.

“Jahii Carson is a super soph who deserves more national exposure,” Vitale wrote.

Averaging 18.5 points and 5.1 assists in 37.2 minutes per game while making 47 percent of his shots, Carson surely deserves more national attention.

Vitale, who has ASU at No. 21 in his preseason projections, doesn’t seem to believe senior swingman Carrick Felix’s departure will hurt the Sun Devils much in the coming season.

Felix contributed 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 35.3 points per game, posted 13 double-doubles and earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors three times this year.

Instead, it is apparent Vitale thinks an experienced returning group for ASU combined with incoming talent is all the Sun Devils need.

Aside from Carson, ASU will bring back guards Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes, who will be able to complement Carson’s fast paced style of play. The Sun Devils’ top three-point shooter in 2012-13, forward Jonathan Gilling, will also be back along with senior 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski, who will return after recording 207 rebounds as well as a team-high and Pac-12 single-season record 120 blocks in his junior year.

Also, ASU is set to welcome a couple of two-star recruits — 6-foot-3 shooting guard Chance Murray and 6-foot-5 small forward Egor Koulechov — along with a junior college recruit — 6-foot-7 small forward
Sai Tummula — to Tempe in the fall. Tummula was a National Junior College Athletic Association third-team All-American at Salt Lake Community College last season.