If you asked every guard in the Pac-12 who is the toughest player to defend, you’d get a lot of respondents who answer “Jahii Carson.”
The Arizona State sophomore was a tough assignment for everyone last season, as evidenced by his 18.5 point per game average and his Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year Award.
But Carson might have an even bigger advantage this season, and it’s not experience.
Pac-12 officials will put an emphasis on eliminating hand-checking on defense, making staying with the blur from Mesa High even more difficult for opponents.
“Well, Jahii is already tremendous at drawing fouls and getting to the line. Everybody knows he’s really quick and hard to keep in front off the dribble. And to be honest with you, until today, I guess I didn’t realize how much this hand checking rule seems to be a point of focus and how much they’re going to emphasize it,” ASU head coach Herb Sendek said at Pac-12 Basketball Media Day in San Francisco Thursday.
As a freshman last season, Carson shot 207 free throws, 45th-most in the country and second in the Pac-12 to only Spencer Dinwiddie of Colorado.
“Let’s see what actually happens when the games starts. But I know this: When we go back and start practice, we have got to call our practices much more closely,” Sendek said. “Because of the way it was presented this morning in our coaches’ meeting, it could really have almost a revolutionary effect on the game if they’re going to take it to the extreme that it was described today.”