ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Bobby Hurley ‘far from disappointed’ with Sun Devils squad this season

Feb 16, 2021, 1:09 PM
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley talks with his team during the first half of an NCAA College ...

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley talks with his team during the first half of an NCAA College basketball game against Oregon State, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Entering this season, the Arizona State Sun Devils were garnering quite the hype.

Combining the freshmen duo of Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher with the veteran prowess of senior guard Remy Martin, ASU looked ready to make a run at the conference title and beyond.

Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, the season hasn’t quite mapped out like many had thought.

Eight postponements, one cancellation and too many injuries to count can sum up the majority of the season for the Sun Devils.

But despite the issues the squad has faced throughout the year and being near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings entering Tuesday, Hurley has been pleased with how the Sun Devils (7-9; 4-6 Pac-12) have collectively responded to the adversity.

“There might be a fraction — or I don’t know what the percentage — of Sun Devil nation that feels that this is a disappointing season. I feel that pain and I understand that sentiment. It is not a disappointment to me,” Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday. “What our team has done this year so far is far from a disappointment. Just what these young men have had to go through this year and the struggles they’ve had and all the injuries and all the protocols and the postponements and the stoppages.

“The way they’ve been able to maneuver through this and keep a positive attitude and keep battling is something I’m so proud of. Although disappointing might be the term that people might want to pin to this team this year, I am so far from disappointed with the group that I’ve had this year.”

After losing five-straight contests, including back-to-back defeats to the Arizona Wildcats, the Sun Devils bounced back, winning three of their last four games.

They’ve done so shorthanded, as both Bagley and Christopher have been dealing with an ankle sprain and back contusion, respectively.

ASU could be forced to take the court without one or both freshmen against USC and UCLA.

“I ran into Marcus over at COVID testing this morning and he was moving a lot better and said that he’s making some strides. He’ll be on the trip with us, we’re going to continue to evaluate him. He’s most likely not going to practice today but we will see what he looks like tomorrow,” Hurley said. “He’s kinda day-to-day. I don’t think it’s so significant of an ankle sprain that he’s going to miss long-term but the season is winding down. We’re hoping he can get the necessary treatment and get back out on the floor.

“As far as Josh, I think it’s a similar situation. His is more of a lower-back contusion when he blocked the shot against Oregon and he landed right on that back. … I think he’s doubtful to practice today but we’ll certainty take and look and see what he looks like tomorrow.”

Hurley added that the duo could get some more work in Tuesday night when the team gets up some shots at USC before they get revaluated Wednesday. While their statuses are up in the air, Hurley anticipates one or both will play at some point this week.

Free Throws

Hurley on junior forward Taeshon Cherry, who has been away from the team due to personal reasons.

“Good frame of mind. Couple of good conversations. He’s easing his way back into things again. He missed a few weeks, so we’re going to take it slow with Tae. You can’t underestimate the impact this has had psychologically. The pandemic and the stress and everything related to that. I’m glad he’s feeling better and that’s the most important thing.”

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