Focused, Hungry ASU Basketball Wanting More

Outside of an overflowing media area for their mid-week press available, it was business as usual for the unbeaten and fifth-ranked Arizona State basketball team as they prepare for the Vanderbilt Commodores Sunday at noon at Wells Fargo Arena.

Less than a week after dominating Kansas in famed Phog Allen Fieldhouse, the Devils (9-0) have all but forgotten about the past two bumpy seasons and are enjoying the ride as one of the most refreshing turnaround stories in college basketball, without taking their eye off the big picture which lies ahead.

“It’s great to be here,” senior guard Shannon Evans said. “I had my doubts just like everybody else. But at the same time I believe in the guys in my locker room. They work tremendously hard. It happened for a reason.”

ASU’s sudden rise to near the top of the college hoops rankings has come as somewhat of a surprise to Bobby Hurley who felt improvement over last year’s 15-18 (7-11 in Pac-12 play) was eminent but maybe not to the peak hit after thumping the Jayhawks 95-85.

“You feel like you have a good group and team that is going to be very competitive in any of these games,” Hurley explained earlier this week. “I had a strong feeling because I knew how much better the [ASU] guards were getting and how much better they looked. I knew we had the balance with the inside game that we lacked last year. You don’t expect, necessarily, when you look at a schedule to run the table up to this point and beat the type of teams that we’ve beaten.” 

After hosting Vandy, the Devils have two more non-conference home games (Longwood, Pacific) before opening Pac-12 play December 30th in Tucson against the University of Arizona.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.