#143 Arizona State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Arizona State Sun Devils

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #143
Conference Rank: #10 Pac-12

Arizona State Team Page#143 Arizona State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Arizona State Basketball Tickets

Arizona State lost some big time players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, but the news that Shaquielle McKissic was granted a sixth year of eligibility gives the Sun Devils a shot at playing this March. McKissic, a 6-5 forward, averaged 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds during his first year with ASU after playing at the junior college ranks. He is a superb athlete who can play above the rim and that is what Coach Herb Sendek wants to do more of this year.

2013-14 Record: 21-12, 10-8
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Herb Sendek
Coach Record: 141-121 at Arizona State, 395-279 overall

Who’s Out:
Three players averaged more points per game than McKissic and all three are gone. Jahii Carson led the way with 18.6 and dished out 4.6 assists per contest. Jordan Bachynski totaled 11.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and an amazing 4.0 blocks per game, while shooting guard Jermaine Marshal tallied 15.1 points per game. Replacing that production will be nearly impossible, which is why Coach Sendek plans to play more up tempo without a 7-2 shot blocker like Bachynski plodding up and down the floor. Egor Koulechov, who averaged 14 minutes per game, and Brandan Kearney are the only other two departures.

Who’s In:
With such good luck from the juco ranks with McKissic, Arizona State is going back to that well for more. And this is where the more athletic players are coming into the mix. Gerry Blakes, Roosevelt Scott, Willie Atwood and Savon Goodman are all junior college transfers who can get up and down the floor. Blakes could prove to be most important this year since he can help replace Carson at the point. Although he is also a good enough shooter to move off the ball as needed. Goodman, who started at his collegiate career at UNLV, will not be eligible until December, but expect all four junior college transfers to make a pretty big impact on this team. But not every newcomer is a junior college transfer, Tra Holder, Kodi Justice and Connor MacDougall will be right in the mix for playing time as well. Holder and Justice will attempt to hold down the starting point guard spot, with Holder being the higher regarded of the two coming out of high school. MacDougall, a 6-8 big man, should have some time to develop his game, but he can come in and play some defense right away.

Who to Watch:
Much of the returning talent for Arizona State is in the frontcourt. Jonathan Gilling, a versatile 6-7 senior, was fifth on the team in scoring with 7.7 points per game, fourth in rebounding with 3.8 and second in assists with 2.7. Most of Gilling’s offense comes from long range where he connected on 43.4 percent of his attempts and he can be a tough matchup for many opposing forwards. Gilling also will fit in nicely if the Sun Devils do indeed play smaller and faster. The tougher frontcourt player is Eric Jacobsen. The 6-10, 235 pound junior spent last year backing up Bachynski and will give this team another serious defensive threat in his increased role. Small forward Sai Tummala did not have a huge impact after transferring in from Salt Lake City Community College, but he is a superb talent with a couple years left at ASU and will compete with the newcomers for minutes on the wing.

Final Projection:
Like last year, Arizona State will need some time to settle all of the new faces. But unlike last year, there are not leaders like Carson and Bachynski to hold everything together. This team does have talent, but it is asking a lot from the junior college transfers to immediately turn into major contributors. There are a couple of other returnees in the backcourt, sharpshooter Bo Barnes and sophomore Chance Murray, but neither will crack the starting five if all goes as planned with the newcomers. With much more experience out there in the Pac-12, the Sun Devils are going to take their lumps.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Tra Holder, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Gerry Blakes, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Shaquielle McKissic, Senior, Forward, 9.0 points per game
Jonathan Gilling, Senior, Forward, 7.7 points per game
Eric Jacobsen, Junior, Forward, 2.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.3 (60th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.4 (155, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.1 (127, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (85, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.1 (27, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.0 (24, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (185, 8)
Rebound Margin: -2.4 (268, 12)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (63, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (88, 6)


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