ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

ASU head coach Bobby Hurley finds silver lining in Sun Devils’ season

Feb 26, 2022, 11:47 AM | Updated: 5:40 pm
Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during a college basketball game a...
Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during a college basketball game against the Creighton Bluejays at CHI Health Center on December 14, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Despite Arizona State’s 11-16 record, head coach Bobby Hurley has found a silver lining in the team’s play as the home stretch of the season rolls around.

The Sun Devils have seen their program take a dramatic change in culture with almost a completely new roster this season, but Hurley said the team is playing its best basketball at the right time.

“People say you’re better than your record,” Hurley told 98.7 FM Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta during Newsmakers Week. “You are what your record says you are, but we’re playing far better than that right now. We beat a really good team on the road (Colorado) in a really tough place to play.”

Arizona State once held a 7-15 record before wins over Washington State, the Oregon schools and Colorado.

The only loss in the last five games was to No. 12 UCLA on the road, splitting the season series with the Bruins. ASU faced a 17-point first-half deficit before cutting the lead to one, something the head coach praised his team for despite the loss.

Hurley attributed the team’s evolution of play to maturity and toughness as the punches have rolled in for the Sun Devils.

“We have been through a lot as a team and have talked about the adversities we have been through,” Hurley said. “You played one of the toughest schedules in college basketball, that has prepared us to play our best basketball of the season right now.”

Although the team has picked up chemistry with every game under their belt, Hurley said that senior Kimani Lawrence has been one of the rocks of this program.

Lawrence will break the record for most games as a Sun Devil with 133 in Saturday’s contest against Utah after getting an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.

In his fifth season, the forward is averaging career highs in all five major categories with 10.3 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.9 blocks and steals.

Hurley did not have enough adjectives in his dictionary to describe what Lawrence meant to this team.

“He has been a guy that has just been so loyal, reliable, a great team guy who is about winning, does all the dirty work and does all the things the others don’t want to do,” Hurley said.

The head coach explained that after an emotional win over a good Oregon team, he knew the Sun Devils needed to bounce back and there was one guy to turn to.

“Kimani is a guy I immediately went to, to give me assistance and get the group back so we were ready to compete that Saturday against Oregon State.”

With Lawrence graduating after this year, Hurley laid out a plan for how this program will get back to the status it once held as short as two seasons ago.

The Sun Devils had the third-best recruiting class in the Pac-12 for 2021 and currently hold the sixth-best for 2022, according to 247Sports.com.

“We are excited about our class and were going to continue to build around the core we have,” Hurley said. “We’re going to look at the transfer portal, the junior college ranks and continue to get better.

“When we have been able to stay in a consistent routine and rhythm, I think we have shown were able to play some really good basketball. Im hoping we continue to do that the rest of this year and get the program back to where it was prior to COVID.”

Catch ASU and Kimani Lawrence in action at Utah at 8 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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