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Rothstein: ASU basketball’s breakout could happen in 2018-19

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley calls to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State basketball program might have found its footing this past season.

While that came in the unspectacular form of a 15-18 record and an undersized starting unit that bought in with little depth behind it, the Sun Devils continued putting the puzzle pieces together this summer.

Still, for an NCAA Tournament-caliber product, patience will be required.

Three transfers in Carlton Bragg (Kansas), Rob Edwards (Cleveland State) and Zylan Cheatham (San Diego State) won’t be eligible this coming year as they sit out due to NCAA transfer rules. But when they become eligible for the 2018-19 campaign, Hurley’s team should finally be in good shape to earn a postseason berth, writes FanRag’s Jon Rothstein.

The former Duke point guard has instilled a blue-collar culture during his first two seasons in the Pac-12, but has yet to have a roster that’s been able to be in contention for the NCAA Tournament.

That will likely happen in two years.

Hurley has recruited well and will add three Top 100-caliber recruits next season in freshmen Kimani Lawrence, Romello White, and Remy Martin. That trio will be three key foundation pieces as Arizona State looks to become an annual player in the Pac-12.

Look for these three guys to gain valuable experience during the upcoming season as this program gradually climbs the ladder in its own conference.

Lawrence and Martin, both 4-star prospects, will next season add perimeter depth that was lacking in 2016-17 behind then-junior guards Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice.

White, who was academically ineligible this past season, was a 4-star prospect in the 2016 recruiting class and with a healthy freshman forward Vitaliy Shibel will give Arizona State the size it was lacking this past season. Throw in Ohio State transfer Mickey Mitchell at small forward — he is eligible for the latter half of the year — and the talent base is growing.

Add Bragg, Edwards and Cheatham in two years, and there’s quality depth, especially in the frontcourt.

Projected 2018-19 roster

PG: Remy Martin

SG: Rob Edwards

SF: Kimani Lawrence, Mickey Mitchell

PF: Carlton Bragg, Zylan Cheatham, Vitaliy Shibel

C: Romello White, Ramon Vila, De’Quon Lake