TEMPE, Ariz. — A week into preparing for the upcoming season, head coach Herb Sendek welcomed back an important, familiar face to the team: point guard Jahii Carson.
The talented sophomore out of Mesa High School was on the court, as a full participant Monday for the first time since practice began on Sept. 30.
Carson, who averaged a team-high 18.5 points and 5.1 assists last season, had missed the first week because of a stress reaction in his right leg.
“He did some 5-on-0 and some minimal shooting at the end of last week,” Sendek said of the reigning Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year. “He says he feels great; all the discomfort that he had is gone. It seems like it was a good path to take and just giving him a couple of weeks to feel better.”
Carson had been going non-stop all summer between invitation-only camps (Nike Point Guard Skills Academy featuring Deron Williams and Kyrie Irving, LeBron James Skills Academy and adidas Nations Global Challenge) and the team’s August trip to China.
“One thing about Jahii, I think, is he loves the game. He loves to be in the gym and he loves to play and he loves to practice,” Sendek said.
This is likely Carson’s final season at ASU, where expectations have never been higher, at least in terms of the Sun Devils looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
“(Carson is) tremendously driven with basketball,” Sendek said Monday. “He wants to be, not only the best player at ASU that he can be this year helping us win as many games as possible, but ultimately he wants to be the best NBA player he can be.
“Basketball is really important to him. He takes this seriously. He looks at this as a centerpiece in his life. He wants to leave a great legacy here at ASU, and then beyond that he wants to play in the NBA for as long and as successfully as he can. Basketball is important to him.”