When freshmen enter their first collegiate season — or any athlete for that matter — there is a game on the schedule that is highlighted from day one.
For most teams, the rivalry game becomes the thought in the back of their mind as it steadily approaches.
ASU freshman guard Jahii Carson has eyed the Sun Devils’ game on January 19 before he even stepped on the court at Wells Fargo Arena.
“I’m excited, chomping at the bit,” Carson said about his first match-up with Arizona on Saturday. “That’s one of the games that you look forward to as a kid growing up wanting to play college basketball is the rival.”
Like many college athletic programs, playing the rival becomes the biggest game of the year, and Carson doesn’t see it as anything less.
“If you’re a guy that wants to go to Duke, you dream about (North) Carolina, Michigan you dream about Michigan State, and Arizona (vs.) Arizona State is one of the games I’ve been looking forward to since the season started,” Carson said.
Carson said his mindset will be key to help the Sun Devils take down the No. 7 team in the country.
“I just got to go in there just thinking it’s a regular game,” Carson said. “If I think about it in a positive state, just thinking about it as a must-win, and not that it’s UA that we’re playing against, I think I’ll maintain my focus.”