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ASU’s Bobby Hurley preaching trust and consistency to talented roster

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley applauds the team's lead against UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

It’s no secret Arizona State’s men’s basketball team is stacked with talent.

AP preseason All-American guard Remy Martin, Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year guard Alonzo Verge Jr., Portland State transfer guard Holland Woods and a strong recruiting class including top-ranked duo Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley are just a few of the standout names on this top-tier talent team.

Head coach Bobby Hurley’s challenge now is helping all this talent learn to work together.

“It’s been more preaching a consistent effort, valuing doing the little things, setting a good screen, blocking out, getting back on defense immediately, instantly and rebounding the basketball,” Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Wednesday.

“It’s been talking about trust and trusting each other to make the right play and sharing the basketball.”

Distributing the basketball will be a key tactic for a team made up of high-level scorers. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game last season, Verge 14.6 and Woods 17.7 on his way to being named to First Team All-Big Sky Conference at Portland State.

Veteran leadership is also an important aspect for Hurley. He said the importance of players buckling down and showcasing a strong work ethic will rub off on teammates and ultimately make the team more solid.

“If your best players have that, then you’re in pretty good shape in terms of your team having success because it kind of puts pressure on everyone else to fall into line,” he said.

Verge has already stepped up as a veteran in the preseason and is sharing any advice he can with the newest crop of Sun Devils.

“He’s been one of our best players day in and day out,” Hurley said. “Best thing he’s done is communicate. He’s really taken some of the freshmen under his wing and is always talking in huddles.”

Not to be forgotten is the impact of Martin, who in recent intersquad scrimmages has shot efficiently and shown off his ability to move the ball

“Our last one yesterday, he had nine assists and one turnover and really did a great job distributing the ball,” Hurley said. “I think if he does that (in the season) it’s going to be infectious throughout our team … He will get our other guys to really buy into moving the basketball and sharing it and getting a great shot.”

ASU has appeared in the NCAA tournament 16 times since 1958, the last two under Hurley.

However, since joining the Pac-12 conference in 1978, the Sun Devils have yet to win a regular-season conference championship.

Based on media projections, this could be the year ASU reaches that goal.

“The options are plenty right now,” Hurley said of the talent on his roster. “Knock on wood we’ve been able to remain relatively healthy through this.

“We’ve had to put our foot on the gas and really try and get as much as we can in and in that process you always hope that you can stay healthy, and we’ve been able to do that so far.”


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