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ESPN’s Fraschilla: Bobby Hurley should stay at ASU over St. John’s

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley gestures to the crowd during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oregon on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State won 78-64.(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Fran Fraschilla knows what it’s like to pick between Arizona State and St. John’s.

The current ESPN college basketball analyst just knows it from another perspective compared to Arizona State men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley, who reportedly could have the option to leave Tempe for New York.

In 1998, after Fraschilla’s second year leading the Red Storm, he interviewed with former ASU athletic director Kevin White for the open coaching job with the Sun Devils.

Just doing that got him fired, as he tells it. The St. John’s president felt Fraschilla interviewed with Arizona State just to gain leverage for a raise.

That story aside, Fraschilla still believes that Hurley should remain at his current post.

“(ASU) should be concerned,” Fraschilla told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “If you ask me if it’s a better job (than ASU), I don’t really think it is.

“I think Bobby’s got a great job. I think it’s a great place to live,” Fraschilla added. “I think the expectations of Sun Devil basketball are extremely high, and he certainly has met those. You can argue about whether they should be better but I think it’s in a good spot right now. Unless he just feels the need to come home to the New York, New Jersey area, I would council him to stay where he is.”

St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin stepped down on Tuesday, days after university officials released a statement of support for him. Mullin cited an emotional decision for his departure; he lost his brother weeks before the Red Storm played ASU in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament.

According to multiple reports, Hurley is atop the list of candidates St. John’s would look at to replace Mullin.

Hurley, 47, grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, playing at St. Anthony High School for his father, legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr.

Moving back would allow Hurley to live closer to family, including brother Dan Hurley, the head coach at UConn.

Still, ASU has the backing, the money and potentially more to work with than St. Jones, Fraschilla believes.

Hurley was paid $2.4 million this year with retention bonuses built in, reports USA Today’s salary database. According to reports upon his hiring, Mullin was set at around $2 million.

“St. John’s does not have the facilities in many ways that a place like Arizona State has, especially if I hear that they’re going to remodel or at least re-do the inside of Wells Fargo (Arena), which definitely needs work,” Fraschilla said. “I can’t imagine that they won’t under (vice president for university athletics) Ray Anderson. I think that Arizona State’s a better job, actually, at a better place to raise your kids and live.”

All that said, Fraschilla admits he might be a little biased. He eyed the ASU gig before Rob Evans was hired in 1998, soon after losing his St. John’s job and admitting he never wanted to take it in the first place.

“It’s called Italian amnesia, guys,” he said. “I forget everything except the grudge.”


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