Andy Katz: ASU men’s basketball is dark horse candidate for Final Four

Oct 18, 2020, 9:00 AM | Updated: Oct 19, 2020, 8:36 am
Arizona State guard Remy Martin, foreground, dribbles around California guard Paris Austin during t...
Arizona State guard Remy Martin, foreground, dribbles around California guard Paris Austin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Berkeley, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Arizona State men’s basketball team has some national attention entering the season. Multiple analysts rate them in the top 15 of preseason rankings, and head coach Bobby Hurley acknowledged that this is, on paper, the best Sun Devil team he’s had.

Just how far can this group go?

NCAA correspondent Andy Katz thinks ASU is a dark horse team to reach the Final Four.

In his March Madness 365 Podcast on Oct. 6, Katz listed ASU with Texas Tech, Rutgers and Creighton as four teams he sees as sleeper picks for a Final Four appearance. The NCAA March Madness Twitter account expanded this list to include Texas, Richmond and UCLA.

Senior guard Remy Martin is one reason for the Sun Devil optimism. Martin is fifth on Katz’ list of National Player of the Year candidates.

Katz described Martin as an experienced leader and “big-shot maker,” and said the guard has the chance to lead ASU to “potentially win the Pac-12, get to the tournament, maybe make a deep run.”

Now a senior entering his fourth year of play, Martin has as much NCAA experience as anyone else in Div. I hoops. The continuity between him and veterans who have multiple years of college basketball experience including Alonzo Verge Jr., Kimani Lawrence and Taeshon Cherry will be beneficial for the team.

What could make this team different, though, is the depth. While the four aforementioned players may all be starters, head coach Bobby Hurley has options to mix up the lineup.

Five-star freshman guard Joshua Christopher and four-star freshman forward Marcus Bagley have both earned rave reviews from Hurley. It would be no surprise to see Christopher, the highest-ranked ASU prospect ever, get a starting nod, and it sounds like Bagley is in the mix at a forward spot.

Forward Pavlo Dziuba and guards Jaelen House and Holland Woods are expected to get playing time, and Jalen Graham will start at center. That gives ASU 10 players of Div. I rotation quality.

“I really like Arizona State as a whole. I love what Bobby Hurley has done. I love the fact that they’ve got experience back,” Katz said. “The addition of Josh Christopher, I think that takes them to another level.”

That depth and experience from the leaders gives him optimism about the team.

“Experience will matter. They’re going to have their backcourt back. They’re going to have leadership,” Katz said. “It’s a team that I really believe will be right there to potentially win the Pac-12.”

Penguin Air

Arizona State Basketball

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
6 days ago
Arizona State guard Shannon Evans II (11) celebrates with the cheering crowd after a making basket ...
Wills Rice

ESPN’s Gasaway: ASU, Arizona’s best basketball transfers wins

ESPN’s John Gasaway took a stab at what he thought to be the best transfers in and out of each basketball program in Pac-12 history.
1 month ago
Pac-12 logo on the field during the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tempe, ...
Associated Press

Pac-12 Conference suffers 36% decrease in revenue in 2020-21

The Pac-12 suffered a 36% decrease in revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to pandemic-related cancellations in football and basketball.
2 months ago
Frankie Collins #10 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against Fatts Russell #4 of the...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State lands Michigan transfer, former 4-star recruit Frankie Collins

Point guard Frankie Collins will transfer to Arizona State after playing one season at Michigan, he announced on Twitter.
2 months ago
Andy Katz: ASU men’s basketball is dark horse candidate for Final Four