Bobby Hurley says ASU men’s basketball has war-like practices

Oct 12, 2022, 8:15 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2022, 9:48 am

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during the second half against the...

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena on February 10, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Posting a 25-31 combined record over the past two seasons, Arizona State men’s basketball has a new sense of intensity at practice.

The best teams under head coach Bobby Hurley have had competitive practices. These practices helped prepare the team for battle on a nightly basis.

“My team with Lu Dort and Zylan Cheatham –– those practices were wars,” Hurley said after Wednesday’s practice. “I feel, kind of, in a similar way about this group just because of our athleticism, our length, our size around the basket and just some older guys that have played a lot of college basketball.”

That 2018-19 Sun Devils team with Dort and Cheatham ranked as high as No. 17 in the nation. However, this team isn’t getting the same kind of national attention despite Hurley’s feelings toward the roster.

That lack of national attention is creating a chip on the team’s shoulders this season.

“[The players] read the magazines and they see the projections and they don’t see their names mentioned,” Hurley said. “So I think there’s been an edge to what we’re doing and hopefully that carries over and throughout the next few weeks.”

Though the Sun Devils went 14-17 last season, they finished 8-4 after starting 6-13. Returning guard D.J. Horne said the onus is on him to carry those successes into this season.

“This is the year for us to make a big statement,” Horne said. “It’s big for me to instill those things that we were doing to end off the season last year and bring them onto this season –– the winning habits.”

Instilling those winning habits won’t come without challenge, as several key pieces of this year’s roster are new. Guards Frankie Collins, Desmond and Devan Cambridge and forward Warren Washington came to Tempe this season through the transfer portal.

Moreover, junior guard Marcus Bagley has played just 15 games in his two seasons in Tempe. Getting him re-acclimated, while teaching newcomers, makes gelling as a unit before the season more important. However, this team came together quicker than expected.

“This year’s team definitely came in and clicked a lot faster than last year’s team,” Horne said. “I think that will definitely show come game time.”

ASU opens the season at 5 p.m. MST on Nov. 7 against Tarleton State at Desert Financial Arena.

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