ASU’s Bobby Hurley: ‘It’s been a unique experience for all of us’
Between injuries to key players and three missed games – one canceled, two postponed – it hasn’t been an easy December for Arizona State’s men’s basketball team.
“It’s contradictory to everything that we believe in as coaches: structure, routine, habits, not having the ability to practice normally, prepare a team normally to go play games,” Hurley told reporters via Zoom Wednesday. “It’s been a unique experience for all of us.”
The team’s latest postponement, Thursday’s matchup against Washington State, was due to recent coronavirus developments within the Sun Devils program.
Another missed game is a blow to a team trying to shake off a devastating 76-63 loss to UTEP back on Dec. 16.
Following the loss, Hurley said he was starting to feel full team attention and a different energy from his players as they were preparing for their matchup against Utah. The Dec. 22 contest was then postponed.
Now, as the team is stuck in a “holding pattern” as Hurley calls it, the head coach has been reminding his players that they will get back on court despite the setbacks and to keep focusing on the improvements they were making.
“You got to be mentally tough, you got to push through things,” he said. “You have to be able to be adaptable and flexible to what’s happening and just try to convey to them to stay positive, to stay in their routine and knowing that on the horizon, we’re going to be playing games.”
ASU is hopeful to travel to Washington for Saturday’s scheduled matchup, but a decision has not yet been announced.
If they do, junior forward Taeshon Cherry will not be with the Sun Devils, as he is out for the week, not due to injury or disciplinary reasons, Hurley said.
Associate head coach Rashon Burno and director of scouting & player development Brandon Rosenthal are also both away from the program for “undisclosed medical” reasons.
When Sun Devil games eventually resume in the new year, ASU will be bringing a new motto with them as well.
Players have not been happy with their performance so far, according to Hurley, and know they can bring a higher level of play to the court.
The head coach said in order for that to happen, focus will need to shift.
“Overall, our new theme needs to be that we need to play for each other. … It’s hard enough to beat an opponent if you’re beating yourself, so we need everyone kind of pulling in the same direction,” Hurley said.
“If they ever just imagined how they could utilize each other during the course of the game the way it’s necessary, then really, we have a very high ceiling. But until we realize that, we’re going to be struggling.”