ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL
ASU’s Bobby Hurley taking different approach than past years after tough losses
Arizona State men’s basketball head coach Bobby Hurley is well-known for his outbursts directed at officials on the sideline during games, and he admittedly used to take that same energy into the locker room following tough losses, such as those like the one on Saturday against USC.
Hurley told reporters on Wednesday said he resisted the temptation to revert to what he might have done during his early years as a head coach.
“We didn’t perform with the appropriate energy on defense and really struggled at that end of the floor, particularly in the USC game for 36 minutes,” Hurley said. “In the last four minutes of that game, we scrambled, forced some turnovers and played with effort.
“Usually, when that would happen, I would flip out and it would be mentally tough on the guys with mentally grueling film. Then a physical, track-style practice, but we didn’t do that.”
The game against USC was just days following a hard-fought loss to UCLA, who at the time was the No. 5 team in the country.
“Those games were emotionally and physically draining,” Hurley said. “The team has performed well through wide margins of the season.”
Arizona State (15-5, 6-3 Pac-12) had dominated conference play up to the loss against USC, with its only other defeats coming against UCLA and another in a hard-fought battle against then-fifth-ranked Arizona on Dec. 31.
“I don’t know what the UCLA game took out of us, but we certainly didn’t have our best in the USC game for sure,” Hurley said. “You could be really nasty, yell at everyone and take that approach. I chose a different direction, to be more supportive and thankful that the players have put together the season to this point.
“I noticed that guys were unhappy with our performance Saturday night and so there was no reason to belabor the point, other than for myself and the coaches to express to them the things we have to get back to doing in order to be successful again.”
The approach may have worked as Hurley said the team had good practices the past two days in preparation for their road game against Washington on Thursday night.
“I thought that was the best path to take and we were guarding with much better energy the last two days and I feel good about what we’re doing,” he said.
The game against Washington (12-9, 4-6 Pac-12) begins at 9 p.m. and can be heard on ESPN 620 AM, 98.7 FM HD-2, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.