As Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.'”
You don’t have to remind Jahii Carson.
The former Mesa High star guard who was forced to sit out his first season at ASU after not being cleared by the NCAA a year ago hits the practice court with the rest of the new-look Devils who look to flush back-to-back 20-plus loss seasons and stay out of the Pac-12 cellar.
Many experts believe as Carson goes, so will the Sun Devils who will abandon some of Herb Sendek’s staples in hopes of shaking things up in Tempe and getting the Devils back to NCAA tournament as they did during the James Harden Era.
Although the Devils will be without leading scorer Trent Lockett who transferred to Marquette for his final season eligibility to be closer to his ailing mother in Minnesota, Carson believes newcomers like Hawaii transfer Bo Barnes and Evan Gordon (Eric’s younger brother) from Liberty will help pick up the scoring slack.
“Bo’s a three-point shooter,” Carson told Brad Cesmat Friday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “He’s able to stretch out the defense. That will help me…when I get in the paint the defense can’t collapse when you have a sharpshooter in the corner. I think [Evan] is going to be one of the top guards in the Pac-12. He has a strong frame. He’s very intelligent with the basketball.”
Carson said he expects to play point guard early in the season to help set the up-tempo style Sendek is transitioning to, but believes steady senior Chris Colvin and Gordon can take some of the pressure off him if he transitions to off-guard.
One aspect of the game he worked on over the summer was not playing too fast. As the floor general he wants to get out on the break, but understands his decision-making will be key for the Devils to turn around their bad fortune of years past.
“I’m of course hyped for the season,” Carson explained to Cesmat. “As far as my speed and me wanting to get out there and show everybody what I got, I have to know that I need to [fit the system] and not try to do too much.”
The 2011 Parade Magazine Second-Team All-American averaged over 32 points and 6.6 assists for the Jackrabbits his senior season.
He chose ASU over UofA, Washington, St. John’s and several others.
The Devils officially open their season November 10 against Central Arkansas in Tempe.