ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL
Here’s why Arizona State should extend Bobby Hurley’s contract
Mar 20, 2023, 8:02 PM | Updated: 8:03 pm
(Arizona Sports/Jeremy Schnell)
Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley has one year remaining on his contract after taking over the Sun Devil men’s basketball program in 2015.
After eight years at the helm, Hurley has amassed 141 wins for ASU, with half of those seasons garnering 20-plus victories and three NCAA Tournament appearances — which would’ve been four had COVID-19 not canceled the 2020 edition.
The back-to-back March Madness visits were the school’s first since the 1979-81 seasons and the 2019-20 campaign would’ve also been a third consecutive trip to the Big Dance, a feat which has not been accomplished in Tempe since John F. Kennedy was president.
Those three tournament appearances are the most by a single coach in ASU history since Ned Wulk took the program dancing nine times over the course of 24 seasons (1957-81).
Hurley also had Arizona State ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll in 2017-18 after defeating then-No. 2 Kansas on the road at Allen Fieldhouse. That ranking is tied for the highest in program history and marks the only top-10 appearance since the Sun Devils went 24-4 and finished ranked No. 3 in 1980-81.
Hurley’s teams have also been ranked in four different seasons over the last six years, which is the most for any coach in program history not named Wulk.
And of ASU’s 12 20-plus win seasons since 1980-81, Hurley accounts for four of those, all of which have come in the last six years. He is also responsible for three straight 20-win campaigns from 2017-20, which has only been done two other times in program history (1960-63 and 2007-10).
Then there are his three wins over top-five ranked opponents, which include the aforementioned Kansas win, followed by another victory over the then-No. 1 Jayhawks in Tempe the season after and a triple-overtime win over then-No. 3 UCLA at Desert Financial Arena a year ago. Not to mention the Miracle at McKale over then-No. 7 Arizona on Feb. 25, which marked the first time an unranked Sun Devils squad beat the Wildcats in Tucson in 30 years.
But a coach can only go as far as his players take him, and Hurley has had four players leave his program and get time in the NBA: Josh Christopher (Houston Rockets), Lu Dort (Oklahoma City Thunder), Rob Edwards (two games for OKC) and Zylan Cheatham (five games the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz). And while he hasn’t had an All-NBA talent like James Harden come through the doors in his tenure, only three active NBA players can call Arizona State their alma mater: Harden, Christopher and Dort.
Hurley is coming off his second 23-win season in five years, which is tied for the fifth-most wins in a single campaign in school history. And following the heartbreaking loss to TCU in the NCAA Tournament in which ASU led for 25 minutes and held the Horned Frogs to 35% shooting, the head coach put it bluntly and simply:
“Did you watch the game? That’s the state of the program,” he said.