ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Arizona State basketball’s Alonzo Gaffney credits hyperbaric chamber for quick recovery

Nov 29, 2023, 7:00 AM

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats drives against Alonzo Gaffney #32 of the Arizona State Sun...

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats drives against Alonzo Gaffney #32 of the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half of a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Upon conclusion of a 23-win season and a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022-23, the departures of several key players left Arizona State basketball (3-2) in a sudden rebuild.

Head coach Bobby Hurley was left to start from scratch in the transfer portal, and after an eventful offseason that included six incoming transfers and a three-man recruiting class, Hurley knew that he still had to rely on his three returning players, Frankie Collins, Jamiya Neal and Alonzo Gaffney to lead the team.

With a determined group despite receiving no votes in the preseason AP poll, the season got off to a rough start when Gaffney went down with an ankle injury during a preseason scrimmage against San Jose State.

A significant blow to a roster with unfulfilled chemistry, Hurley began weighing other lineup options as Gaffney was expected to miss the start of the season.

“They were giving me all the options … I might need surgery, might not need surgery. It was just all going to come down to the X-rays,” Gaffney said. “And after the X-rays, they were just talking about three-to-six weeks.”

Miraculously, Gaffney was ready to go for Arizona State’s season opener against Mississippi State. He credits his recovery to the use of a hyperbaric chamber.

“It was just a pretty fast recovery and I wanted to play really… I didn’t want to miss any games, so I wasn’t going to,” Gaffney said. “It was something that coach (Hurley) brought to my attention and it became an NIL deal for me, so I got to do that … It was it was life changing for me.”

According to Gaffney, one session takes about one-to-two hours and it took about three sessions for him to feel results. He did the therapy six times prior to the season opener.

Although he recovered fast enough to play right away, he began the season in a slump. He went 7-for-31 combined in the team’s first four games while struggling beyond the arc, hitting one 3-pointer in 17 tries.

Needless to say, something sparked on Friday against Vanderbilt.

Gaffney shot 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in just the first half, stunning the Commodores with a career-high 19 points in the team’s 82-67 win.

“I just felt the need to get up a lot of shots … I was feeling it,” Gaffney said. “I was feeling it at the beginning and I felt comfortable out there to make my shot. So I was just letting it go.”

The Sun Devils take on the Sam Houston State Bearkats (4-3) on Wednesday, their first of a three-game homestand as Gaffney looks to continue his sudden reemergence from deep.

“They’re a feisty team, they’re scrappy. They force over 17 turnovers a game, so they’re going to challenge us,” Hurley said of Sam Houston State. “They’re a team that won a lot of games last year, is used to winning (and) has that winning culture. They were in a one-possession loss at Ole Miss, so they’re certainly not going to be intimidated in this round.”

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