ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Get to know the ASU men’s basketball roster for 2022–23

Nov 5, 2022, 11:11 AM
Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley talks to Marcus Bagley during the first half of the team's NCAA co...

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley talks to Marcus Bagley during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s a new year in Tempe and Arizona State men’s basketball has a lot of roster turnover to overcome if it wants to exceed national expectations this season.

Last season’s team stumbled in the first half, going 6-13 in its first 19 games. Then, after a triple-overtime victory over UCLA to improve to 7-13, the Sun Devils lost their next two.

However, the Sun Devils went 7-1 in their final eight regular season games and even held a double-digit second-half lead over Stanford to open the Pac-12 tournament. While they stumble in the final moments to fall against the Cardinal, they still finished on a relative high note considering they fell short of a postseason tournament.

This season, there are several new faces in Tempe that add intensity on defense as well as consistency from behind the arc.

There are also several key rotation pieces from last year’s team no longer around. Forward Jalen Graham left for Arkansas, guard Jay Heath left for Georgetown, while forward Kimani Lawrence and guard Marreon Jackson graduated.

Those four each played pivotal roles in the team’s nightly rotation, averaging at least 9.9 points per game apiece. Of players who appeared in a large majority of the team’s games, ASU does not return its second-through-fifth top scorers from a year ago.

With that in mind, let’s get to know the 2022-23 roster before the Sun Devils tip off their 2022-23 season against Tarleton State on Monday at 5 p.m. MST.

Listen to the opener on ESPN 620 AM, 98.7 FM HD-2, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

ASU basketball’s key returners

Marcus Bagley (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Bagley | F

A lot of this season’s outlook hinges on the health of Bagley, who has only 15 games under his belt in two seasons at ASU.

So far, he’s averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, shooting 35.3% from three-point territory.

Bagley came to ASU as the No. 31 recruit in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) in 2020, ahead of nine current NBA players. Among the nine NBA players are rival Arizona’s Dalen Terry and Bennedict Mathurin, who were both first-round picks this past summer.

The talent is there for Bagley, and he’s in position to make a significant nightly impact this season, but he’s got to stay on the court after knee issues limited him to three games last season.

D.J. Horne | G

The junior enters his second season with the Sun Devils after an up-and-down first.

Through his first 18 games last year, Horne shot 40% from three-point range and averaged 13.8 points per game. However, that dipped to 29.5% from three and 10.6 points per game in his final 12.

A couple of silver linings from his shooting woes include an uptick in his assists and decrease in turnovers.

The Sun Devils also went 7-5 in his final 12 games, including wins over UCLA, Oregon and Stanford.

Alonzo Gaffney | C

Like Horne, 2021-22 was also Gaffney’s first season with the Sun Devils.

However, unlike Horne, the Sun Devils’ winning ways coincided with positive regression from their big man.

In Gaffney’s first 18 games, he averaged 3.7 points on 16.7% shooting from behind the arc. He also only attempted four free throws, making one of them.

Though his improvement in his final 12 games yielded just 1.2 more points, his efficiency greatly improved. Once a 16.7% three-point shooter, Gaffney shot 52.6% from three over his final 12 games.

For reference, only 11 players in college basketball shot 15 or more threes and made a higher percentage. Only two of those 11 — Tulane’s Tylan Pope and Niagara’s Greg Kuakumensah — were either a forward or center.

While Gaffney’s success was across 12 games, and he shot 30.6% from three overall, his ability to stretch the floor paid major dividends in the team’s turnaround last season. Can he take another step forward?

Key transfers

Desmond Cambridge Jr. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Devan Cambridge | G

Desmond Cambridge is a fifth-year senior and joining his third college basketball program.

Most recently, the 6-foot-4 guard played at Nevada for two seasons, where he averaged 16.3 points on 36% shooting from behind the arc.

“[Desmond] is an explosive scorer — can put points on the board. That’s something we struggled with last year so he brings that to the table,” head coach Bobby Hurley told reporters at Pac-12 media day on Oct. 26.

His brother, Devan Cambridge, comes from Auburn, where he started 33 out of 60 games the past two seasons. While he’s not the same caliber scorer as Desmond, Devan’s impact will be felt pretty much everywhere else.

“Devan brings a lot of what Kimani Lawrence brought for us last year,” Hurley said. “A lot of ‘glue guy’ stuff, rebounding, loose balls, good on defense, communicating so he’s a good all-around player.”

Frankie Collins | G

Opportunities to make a major impact were scarce for Collins last season at Michigan.

In 31 games, he played more than 15 minutes six times. However, one of those six games was a March 17 start against Colorado State where he put up 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

In the guard’s six games of 15-plus minutes, he averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

“Frankie Collins has been a real plus,” Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “He’s a point guard that plays both ends of the floor. Probably my best pass-first point guard that I’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Warren Washington | F

Whereas Gaffney is an undersized stretch-five, Washington is a 7-foot, post-up power forward.

Washington comes to the desert by way of Nevada, where he spent two seasons as Desmond Cambridge’s teammate.

Like Cambridge, this is also his third college basketball program, as he broke into the collegiate scene averaging 7.8 minutes in 27 games for Oregon State in 2018-19.

At Nevada, he averaged 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Washington and Gaffney could create some interesting mismatches on offense, allowing Gaffney more room to operate on the perimeter while Washington can make his mark on the post.

“I like how we added some transfers to fill very specific needs,” Hurley told Bickley & Marotta. “Warren Washington, a 7-footer with great length and shot-blocking ability.”

Intriguing non-starter

UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, left, is fouled by Arizona State forward Jamiya Neal (55) (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Jamiya Neal | F/G

Neal is one of the best athletes on this ASU roster. He’s fast in the open floor and has an explosive vertical.

While his overall numbers last season may not suggest the kind of player he is capable of, his raw athleticism alone should improve his numbers with an increased role.

He’s a little bit taller, but his ability to cover ground quickly — especially with the ball — and elevate for the dunk is strikingly similar to former Louisville and current Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier.

Should he take a leap in his sophomore season, ASU’s bench unit also becomes intriguing matchup-wise.

X-factor

Bagley’s health

As previously mentioned, Bagley has the tools to be one of the best players in the Pac-12 this year, he just needs to play.

Keeping him healthy is imperative for ASU to find success this season, and return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018-19.

Having a lot of toolsy guards and forwards should alleviate some of the stress on Bagley. Perhaps even enough to ease him back into logging heavy minutes.

Potential surprise breakout candidate

Enoch Boakye | C

Boakye came to Tempe after de-committing from Michigan State last season. His major issue in 2021-22 was foul trouble (1.9 fouls per game, 6.0 per 40 minutes).

He also entered college basketball a year early and still is incredibly raw, but 247 Sports was very high on him coming out of George Harris Prep in Ontario.

Plus athlete and force around the basket due to sheer size and motor. Could improve his post moves and touch. Has upside as rim protector. Floor is college starter but has easy NBA upside.

With Gaffney and likely Washington ahead of him, there’s protection for the young center to be aggressive, especially on the defensive side of the court. If he can make a defensive impact without fouling this season, that only raises the ceiling of the Sun Devils’ frontcourt.

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Get to know the ASU men’s basketball roster for 2022–23