ASU head coach Bobby Hurley’s connections run deep in this Final Four

Apr 3, 2024, 12:46 PM | Updated: 1:18 pm

Bobby Hurley looks on during an ASU-Arizona basketball game...

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts during the first half of the college basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center on January 12, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona State men’s basketball head coach Bobby Hurley would love to be one of the four teams heading to the Final Four in Glendale this week.

For anyone in his position, that’s the dream goal.

But while the disappointment over this past season and hunger to return to the NCAA Tournament are still very much there, Hurley is getting a nice consolation. Several familiar faces who played a part in his coaching journey are getting a chance on the biggest stage.

“I’m close to the Final Four literally because it’s here just a few minutes from where they’re going to have the event, but I also feel like there are people that I’ve been connected to that I’m extremely happy for that I’ve worked with that are doing it,” Hurley said Wednesday. “In the back of my mind, as far as it might appear that I am from getting to the Final Four as a coach, that’s a part of what drives me.

“The reality is I’m grateful, I’m thankful for the having the opportunity to coach with my brother (UConn head coach Dan Hurley) for three years, to coach with (Alabama head coach) Nate Oats for two years, to have had (NC State guard) D.J. Horne in my life for two years and what he did for me at Arizona State and helping us get to the NCAA Tournament,” Hurley added. “There’s Joel Justus and Levi Watkins that helped at certain stages build the Arizona State basketball program that are assistants at NC State.”

Oats was Hurley’s assistant at Buffalo from 2013-15 before a 2015 tournament appearance bumped Hurley’s coaching stock to take the ASU job. Oats took over for the next three seasons before his success landed him with the Crimson Tide.

Horne was a double-digit scorer at ASU the past two years, and Hurley has expressed the significance of losing him in the transfer portal this season.

But the ties begin with his brother, whose Huskies need just two more victories to repeat as NCAA champions.

It’s a feat only a select group of players and coaches can say they achieved, with one of those being Bobby Hurley.

As a player, Hurley was part of Duke’s run from 1991-92 that included a showdown with the Fab Five and a Most Outstanding Player honor for the now-Sun Devil.

He knows a thing or two about what goes into making it this far in a tournament in back-to-back seasons and believes his brother has the makeup to pull off a run of his own.

“I think Dan really has tunnel vision. There’s going to be a lot of people pulling at him,” Hurley said. “There’s going to be media, there’s going to be a lot of hoopla surrounding this event, but I think he stays in the moment and focuses on what is important and that’s getting his team ready to play this weekend. Once that game starts, he’s going to be ready to go. That’s what I know about him.”

If anything, the Huskies know the doors are wide open in Tempe.

“We’re the home school, so he’s got free reign to use any of the facilities here,” the ASU head coach added. “It’s the red-carpet treatment here at Arizona State for my brother.”

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ASU head coach Bobby Hurley’s connections run deep in this Final Four