ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

ASU has ‘good feeling’ Remy Martin can play through injury vs. St. John’s

Mar 18, 2019, 11:17 AM | Updated: 1:30 pm
Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) passes as he is pressured by Southern California defenders duri...
Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) passes as he is pressured by Southern California defenders during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley feels optimistic about the health of point guard Remy Martin’s injured groin heading into the Sun Devils’ NCAA Tournament First Four matchup against St. John’s.

Martin tweaked his groin Friday in a Pac-12 Tournament semifinals loss to Oregon but continued playing.

The muscle injury appeared to loosen up as Martin fought through it, and Hurley told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that it had improved more as of Sunday.

“He looked terrific yesterday,” Hurley said Monday. “The game isn’t right now so we’re going to be very careful with him. He’s got plenty of reps under his belt. It’s been a long season. He’s in a great shape so we’re going to monitor him closely, really be careful with what he does on the floor between now and Wednesday night.

“He’s a gamer. He was already moving really well yesterday and in our conversations led me to believe he’ll be his regular self.”

That said, Hurley has good reason to express optimism heading into the Sun Devils’ Wednesday matchup against the Red Storm, which will air on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Martin is averaging 13.4 points and 5.1 assists per game and is one of the team’s most explosive scorers.

Making sure coach Chris Mullens and the St. John’s staff accounts for him perhaps is a bit of gamesmanship.

Then again, Martin did play through his injury. But Hurley admitted Martin’s groin issue affected ASU in the 79-75 overtime loss to Oregon.

Martin scored 14 points in 31 minutes but went 3-of-10 from the field as his lack of explosiveness hurt him off the bounce and limited his ability to move laterally on defense.

“It’s unfortunate,” Hurley said. “We were playing so well.”

The Oregon loss likely bumped the Sun Devils into a First Four game in Dayton, but consider the circumstances, and there’s reason to believe ASU will do everything to have Martin game-ready.

He could be the foil to Red Storm junior Shamorie Ponds, who is averaging 19.5 points, 5.2 assists and 2.6 steals per game. The 6-foot-1 guard is shooting 46 percent from the floor and is a 36 percent three-point shooter. According to ESPN, he is a top-50 NBA prospect.

Perhaps with that thought in mind, Hurley doesn’t sound like he will hold Martin out against St. John’s for precautionary reasons and look ahead to welcoming him back for a potential Friday matchup against No. 6 seed Buffalo.

“The thought crossed my mind that if we were in Dayton that I might just sit Remy and hope we could get through the game and have him ready for later in the week,” Hurley admitted. “When your season’s on the line, your thoughts could change very quickly. That could be the case on Wednesday night.

“It’s just my conversations with Remy — I trust him when we talk. He’s telling me he’s getting so much better every day so I have a good feeling he’ll be close to 100 percent by Wednesday night.”

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ASU has ‘good feeling’ Remy Martin can play through injury vs. St. John’s