Oct 24, 2014 - 06:23 pm - The following is an ASU Athletics Media release
TEMPE -- The American Heart Association and The Paul Bear Bryant Awards’ Title Sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation today announced the watch list for the coveted Coach of the Year Award and Arizona State University head coach Todd Graham was among those named. The winner of the award will be revealed at the 29th annual event on Jan. 14, 2015 in Houston.
The coaches on the watch list for the 2014 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award include (alphabetical order):
• Art Briles, Baylor University
• Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
• Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
• Huge Freeze, University of Mississippi
• Todd Graham, Arizona State
• Mark Helfrich, University of Oregon
• Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University
• Doc Holliday, Marshall University
• Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame
• Gus Malzahn, Auburn University
• Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University
• Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
• Gary Patterson, Texas Christian
• Bo Pelini, University of Nebraska
• Mark Richt, University of Georgia
• Rich Rodriguez, University of Arizona
• Nick Saban, University of Alabama
• Bill Snyder, Kansas State University
• Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma
• Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah
Graham has led the Sun Devils to a 5-1 record to open the 2014 campaign and the Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back wins over AP-ranked opponents for the first time since the 1997 with the team’s most recent victories over USC and Stanford.
Arizona State is 18-5 in the last 23 games, the second-best record of all Pac-12 teams in the most recent 23-game span behind only Oregon (19-4). Of all the coaching hires made prior to the 2012 season, Graham has posted the fourth-best record at 23-10, half a game behind UCLA’s Jim Mora at 24-10 with only Urban Meyer (29-3) and Kevin Sumlin (25-9) ahead of them.
The Sun Devils have won six straight road games and Todd Graham is 9-5 on the road in his time at ASU. Graham has eight Pac-12 road victories under his belt already, tied for the second-most among all ASU coaches since 1980 behind only Bruce Snyder’s 18 from 1992-2000. In four seasons prior to Todd Graham, ASU was 5-13 in conference road games while Graham has led the squad to a 8-3 record in such games in his three seasons at the helm.
Legendary Alabama Football Coach, Paul Bear Bryant
In December, a finalists’ list comprised of five to 10 coaches will be announced. Finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 14, 2015 at the Hilton Americas Houston, where the winner will be announced live. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor voted on after all of the bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Last year’s winner was Gus Malzahn of Auburn University.
January’s event will also recognize Jimmy Johnson, one of the most respected and accomplished football coaches in NCAA and NFL history, as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Paul “Bear” Bryant. Among the past recipients of the award are R.C. Slocum (2014), LaVell Edwards (2013) and Hayden Fry (2012).
The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, contact Jimmy Comerota at 713-610-5026 or visit www.bryantawards.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @ahahouston and #bryantawards.
Oct 24, 2014 - 01:32 pm - In what has become a weekly occurrence, there were crucial games throughout the land last week that had a huge impact on the Sun Devils, particularly in the Pac 12 and a run at the championship.
Notre Dame lost a close game to Florida State, which doesn’t help ASU. However, UCLA and Utah won conference games against North opponents which strengthens the status of the Pac 12 South. SC also improved their record with a victory over Colorado.
As always, ASU's number #1 strategy is to win out in the South. This weekend has many more big match-ups. Let's have a look.
The Pac 12 Standings Entering Week 9
#6 Oregon @ California (Friday)
The Ducks have found their groove after a hiccup against Arizona and are looking to secure a spot in this year's four-team playoff for the National Champion.
Cal can score, especially at home, but the Ducks can do it better. The Devils skip the Quack Attack this year. We want Oregon to win big and continue to advance in the polls.
#25 UCLA @ Colorado
Usually we want a ranked conference team to beat an unranked team and help advance the Pac 12 nationally, but that is not the case here.
Yes, if UCLA stays relevant and wins, it makes ASU's big loss to the powder-blue look just a little less "big." However, the Bruins still hold a tiebreaker over the Devils, so we're pulling for the Buffs to deliver UCLA another loss in the South.
As a side note, ASU pounded the Buffaloes in Boulder. If they were to beat the Bruins, in a round about way ASU would still look like a better team than UCLA at this juncture with the Devils' loss to the Bruins looking like a Sun Devil fluke. Go Buffs!
Oregon State @ Stanford
This game doesn’t matter so much for ASU. Both of these teams are stuck on four wins, and it is unlikely that a victory would put either team back into the rankings.
We should pull for Stanford to get back on track which would bolster the Devils' win over the Cardinal last week.
#15 Arizona @ Washington State
This game will be close. Washington State can score points as well as anyone behind their record setting quarterback, Conner Halliday.
This sold-out game is being played in Pullman with temperatures in the 40’s. We all gain satisfaction when the cats lose, and this game is no exception. Go Cougars!
#20 USC @ #19 Utah
This is by far the most complex match-up in the conference.
On one hand we want USC to win and climb in the rankings because we have already beaten them. On the other hand we want Utah to win and come into Tempe as potentially a top-15 team next week.
With a close-fought battle right to the end it's also possible, slightly possible, that the loser remains in the top-25 nationally. A physically and mentally taxing game could bode well for ASU as Utah comes to Tempe next week.
In years past, when the Utes have lost this type of game at home, they have tended to sputter down the stretch. We want Utah to be at their best moving forward, with ASU pulling out the win next Saturday.
ASU and Utah victories this weekend will set up a national showdown in Sun Devil Stadium next Saturday on Homecoming weekend.
#14 Arizona State @ Washington
The fact that the Devils dominated Stanford after losing nine defensive starters from last year further proves the legitimacy of Coach Graham's program, but Saturday's game in Seattle is positioned as a “let down” for ASU.
The Devils anticipate a ranked Utah team at home next week before hosting Notre Dame, arguably the most hyped game on their schedule. These Huskies at home are not to be overlooked.
This is a "purple-out" game for Washington who can be dangerous in spurts. Regardless of the split time between QB's Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici, should the defense plays like it has the past six quarters this could be win #6 for Arizona State.
I am so excited to watch how things unfold the next few weeks as the stakes get higher. Don’t forget, we are still pulling for Notre Dame until they come to Tempe. ND blew their chance to enter Sun Devil Stadium as the #1 team, but if both the Devils and the Irish win their next two contests we could be preparing for a clash of two top-10 teams in the House of Heat on November 8.
Man, I love college football!
Oct 16, 2014 - 02:39 pm - Well, last week was another fantastic weekend among the Pac 12 Conference. With losses by UCLA and Arizona the Sun Devils find themselves right back in the thick of things in the Pac 12 South with a chance repeat as champs of the South. The road won’t be easy and the Devils need some help but this is another week with huge games that not only impact the race to the Pac 12 Championship but also have huge national implications. Let’s see what is on tap for on Saturday.
#20 Utah @ Oregon State (Thursday)
The conference is littered with teams with a 4-1 record and two of these teams match-up against each other on Thursday night as the Utes travel to Corvallis to take on the Beavers. I have been telling everyone I know for the past month to watch out for Utah because I still believe they will determine who wins the South. Both of these teams have a great shot at a bowl but I would really like to see Utah climb in the rankings before coming to Tempe for a huge game with the Devils. Let’s root for the Ute to continue to win and take care of business in Oregon.
#23 Stanford @ #17 Arizona State
This is a revenge game for the Devils and it scares me to death. ASU simply does not match up well with Stanford, which was proven last year with two blowout losses. However, the Cardinal don’t appear as dominant this season, already having lost two games. Word is that ASU will play both Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici at the QB spot in order to mix things up offensively. Stanford is still favored to win in Sun Devil Stadium but let’s hope the Devils can do just enough to get a much needed win.
UCLA @ Cal
For the first time all season UCLA goes into a game unranked. They are looking to get back on track after losing two weeks in a row but are traveling into Berkeley to take on a pesky Bears team. I am still upset at Cal for blowing a late lead to Arizona and it would be good for the conference for the Bruins to climb back into the national rankings to make the Devils loss to them not look so bad. Let’s pull for UCLA here.
Colorado @ #22 USC
This is a tricky one. On the surface it might look as if we should pull for the Trojans in order to climb the rankings and make our victory over them look that much more impressive. However, this is a battle of two Pac 12 South teams and ASU has already beaten Colorado. It would not be the worst thing for the Buffaloes to pull off an upset here and hand USC another loss in the South, which would almost eliminate them from contention in the Southern Division. Basically, this is a win-win game and I am hoping for a good battle but if I have to root for one team over the other I’m pulling for the Buffs.
Washington @ #9 Oregon
Here is an interesting battle in the Pacific Northwest. Washington is a very quiet 5-1 and would jump back into the rankings with an upset win here. However, the Ducks seem to be focused on climbing into the top 4 so they can get a spot in the coveted new playoff system. I am torn once again on whom to root for but I think we should pull for the Ducks. They need to continue to move up in the rankings and I am sure that Washington will pick up another win soon and become bowl eligible in their first year under new coach Chris Peterson. Aside from what appears to be a great game you might want to watch to see yet another uniform combination by Oregon, this one is a throwback version of the 1994 season, which feature the old logo and Donald Duck on the sleeves. I think the new unis are pretty sweet.
#5 Notre Dame @ #2 Florida State
Perhaps the biggest game outside of the battle ASU faces with Stanford is this match up of two top 5 teams. We want Notre Dame to keep winning before they come to Tempe on November 8. If the Irish keep winning and there are a few more slip ups at the top of the rankings there is a very real possibility that Notre Dame comes to Tempe as the number 1 ranked team in the land. With opportunities for the Devils to climb in the rankings with quality opponents the next few weeks things could set up for a monster match-up in Tempe. Go Irish
Wow! Another fantastic week to be a couch potato! So many teams and so many possible scenarios but one thing we know for sure is that the Devils need to take care of business against Stanford. Go Devils!
Apr 05, 2014 - 08:41 am - Rudy Burgess
In 2007, athlete Rudy Burgess completed an impressive career at Arizona State. In his bio, ASU describes Rudy as, “one of the most versatile athletes and one of the top all-purpose threats in the nation… having played wide receiver, tailback, cornerback, kickoff and punt returner..”
Five years after Burgess graduated, another dynamic athlete named D.J. Foster took Frank Kush Field. In just two years at ASU, Foster has also made a name for himself.
Let's compare these Sun Devils to get a perspective on both athletes.
Rudy & D.J. - Freshman Year
In 12 games, Burgess carried the ball 77 times for 404 yards (5.2 avg) with no touchdowns. In Foster’s freshman campaign which included 13 games, he ran the ball 102 times for 493 yards (4.8 avg) and 2 scores.
Through the air Burgess had 22 catches for 248 yards (11.3 avg) and 5 scores. Foster had 38 catches for 533 yards (14 avg) and 4 touchdowns.
Rudy & D.J. - Sophomore Year
In 2005, Rudy Burgess had his coming out party in 12 games for the Maroon & Gold. The dynamic sophomore carried the ball 145 times for 644 yards (4.4 avg) and 6 scores.
Last season in which he played in all 14 games, sophomore D.J. Foster showed steady improvement from his freshman year across virtually all categories. #8 rushed 93 times for 501 yards (5.4 avg) and 6 TD’s.
Through the air, Burgess caught 59 passes, accumulating 655 yards (11.1 avg) with 4 trips to the end zone. Foster caught 63 passes for 653 yards (10.4 avg), also scoring 4 touchdowns.
While Rudy Burgess holds the distinction as one of college football’s most versatile players, he was unfortunately hampered by injury his junior year. In his senior season, Rudy bounced back. Coach Dirk Koetter used him mostly in the slot where he caught 34 passes as opposed to just 6 carries. That year, #3 gained nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage, 976 to be exact.
A notable difference between Rudy Burgess and D.J. Foster is on special teams, and Rudy reins supreme. He returned 99 kicks and punts in 4 years, collecting 1,750 yards. His younger counterpart has returned a single kick for 16 yards.
D.J. Foster’s body is still filling out. He's put on another 10 lbs, now weighing 205, and he's looking to add a few more while maintaining his quickness. Should he stay healthy in his upcoming junior season, D.J. could very well be at his best. It could be that his first two years in Maroon & Gold were simply a prelude to what’s coming this season.
Maybe in 5 years (hopefully sooner) we'll be comparing the next great athlete to D.J. Foster and his accomplishments at ASU. Perhaps D.J. is just warming up.
Check out our comparison of Sun Devil receivers Jaelen Strong and Derek Hagen.
Mar 31, 2014 - 07:34 am -
Fueled by a lead annual gift from new Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson the Sun Devil Club 2014 Membership Drives are off and running. To date the Sun Devil Club has completed two, 10-day long membership drives using grass roots fundraising tactics by utilizing participation from volunteers throughout the community.
The Sun Devil Club first focused on volunteers that are active in the Sun Devil Club Young Professionals organization and who are all under the age of 40. The goal of the Young Professional group is to create awareness of the Sun Devil Club through a younger demographic. During the Young Professional Membership Drive 21 volunteers assisted in collecting 138 new members, while renewing 41 current members. Through this effort $77,245 in annual fund pledges was collected.
The Young Professional’s effort was followed by the employees of Sun Devil Athletics volunteering time outside of their regular responsibilities to increase the Sun Devil Club membership base. The Sun Devil Athletics Staff Membership Drive included 47 volunteers who pulled together 165 new members, 102 renewals, and collected $224,639 in annual fund pledges.
The Sun Devil Club is completing two more membership drives one of which includes ASU fraternities Lambda Chi Alpha and Delta Sigma Phi. The Sun Devil Club and Sun Devils Athletics are excited about collaborative effort in maintaining the Sun Devil Club as the largest fundraising organization of our kind in the Pac-12.
Mar 25, 2014 - 11:21 pm -
Conrad Bradburn is the Manager of Game Day Expereince at ASU. Specifically, he handles the video board in Sun Devil Stadium on game days. After serving the same role at Vanderbilt University, Conrad came to ASU in 2010.
Can you tell us about some of the changes that have occurred since you came to ASU?
Over the past few years, we’ve made a much stronger commitment to the game entertainment and the experience for the fans. What the fans want and the traditions that they expect to see are very important to us.
When I came to ASU in 2010, the iconic Stomp the Bus video was really big here, but then it lost some momentum for some reason. So we got together with the administration before 2012 and made sure to bring it back in a big way. It really resonates with the fans.
In the past, some fans have complained about the sound system in Sun Devil Stadium. Can you tell us about that?
We had the same problem at Vanderbilt. It’s not necessarily a problem with the equipment, but rather a matter of acoustics. All of our speakers are in the south end zone at ASU, so everything is pushed out of that location. We have done some equipment upgrades, but fans can have a different experience depending on where they sit in the stadium.
Currently, we have sound guys that come in every game to address the issue. It’s a concern, and we're constantly tweaking it to provide fans with a better experience.
Will that type of problems go away once Sun Devil Stadium goes though the new upgrade?
It should. People handling the project have come to us to see what we are looking for to improve the production level in the stadium, and the speakers and other equipment are a part of that.
Since the renovations to Sun Devil Stadium will employ video panels around the structure, I’m assuming that’s an extension of your department. How will those be used?
One of the ideas we have discussed is that for pre-game tailgating, that external video panelling can present scores and updates as they happen around the conference. It may also be used to promote upcoming events such as ticket availability for the next home game and other helpful information for fans.
What has been one of the more significant changes in your department?
Before the 2012 season, we overhauled our video crew and contracted with a professional company called Graystone Media based in Vancouver, Washington. In the deal they basically became our video board operator, and we have a full-time rep who operates right here out of the valley. As compared to the past when we were primarily concerned with having all of the content and information prepared for each game, now we are already thinking about more creative ideas in April for a game that will be played in September.
There was a pretty enthusiastic fan reaction to the “We are Young" video that played during a few games in 2012. How does something like that come together?
That came together as we began working with Graystone. We started thinking about a specific in-stadium piece that would really resonate with fans during the game. We didn’t want to put it on YouTube or anywhere else. It would be exclusive to the game experience.
We started to focus on the “We are Young” song. We looked around the industry, and Fenway Park in Boston had recently done something similar for their one-hundredth anniversary. Josh Kelman, a producer at Fox Sports and ASU Alumn, really helped out in the process. It was about finding a song that the student section would embrace and yet would still appeal to the rest of the stadium.
Can you tell us about the video that was created for last season?
Last season, our team put together something a little different with the song, “Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Our goal was to pay tribute to the great fans by including pictures of younger and older fans from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s."
How do you see this concept evolving?
Our long term goal is to create something specific to use between the 3rd and 4th quarters. A example would be Wisconsin and how they use the song, “Jump Around,” with their student section so well.
With that in mind, can you give fans a taste of what you might be working on for 2014?
Sure. You might remember the USC game in September when Journey played the National Anthem.
Because of that, I wanted to feature some Journey songs in the stadium. Late in the pre-game I played, “Don’t Stop Believin'” and the students took off with it and sang it out loud. Then I got requests to keep playing it. Later in the year, ASU students came to us and said, “what would you think about using this for our song between the 3rd and 4th quarter?”
So if the students are into it, that has to be a big advantage..
A lot of people in the stadium take their cues from the students. So if the students embrace it and other fans see the students moving back and forth really singing that song playing on the speakers, it could be a great moment during games.
We haven’t determined the video concept yet and I can't make any guarantees, but because of our students we are very strongly considering that song.
Is there a message we can send Sun Devil fans:
We’re always looking for the next great fan story to highlight during the game. Those are one of my favorite things because everyone in the Sun Devil Stadium stops and turns to the video board. It’s a minute and a half when people get to hear a cool story and really be entertained.
We’ll continue using an innovative approach that capitalizes on social media. We can instantly share a photo and a message on the video boards that someone just tweeted out. At the same time, we will always respect the traditions of a great stadium and a great fan base that’s been around a really long time.
Fans can email Conrad with their own stories or ideas at Conrad.Bradburn@asu.edu.
Mar 23, 2014 - 09:21 pm - If you've been watching the NCAA Basketball tournament (and seriously, what are you doing with your life if you haven't?), you've likely seen the newest Coke Zero commercials, starring none other than Arizona State's 942 Crew. Yep... Coca-Cola has put ASU's 942 Crew on the National Stage.
ASU Basketball's student section is the focal point of two 15-second spots, painting them as the new kids on the block in college basketball's undergrad support.
942 Crew's signature move, the genius “Curtain of Distraction,” is featured as well as their future aspirations.
“We are the new kids. The Cameron Crazies, the Rock Chalk Jayhawks, those are great student sections that come out to their games. We try to be the cool little brothers.”
“Sometimes little brothers grow up to be even better than the big brothers.”
I'd like to give a shout-out to the 942 Crew and Bill Kennedy of ASU's Athletic Department. Kennedy supports the 942 Crew in all of their efforts to build a stronger fan base, and he continues to turn their big ideas into reality.
PS - You might notice that our friends at Coca-Cola have spent some time perusing our own DieHard Devil website when they close the ad with, "Are you a real fan? Prove it." -- We'd like to think so anyway!
Coke's commercials continue to run during the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament which has been narrowed to "the Sweet Sixteen" as of today.
Here are two of the :15 spots for Coke Zero
Mar 21, 2014 - 05:18 pm - NCAA Tournament
To dwell on the final play of last night's Arizona State - Texas basketball game would be unfair to what was a full fledged fight between two teams that competed at or near their highest levels.
We watched one hell of a basketball game. It was the NCAA tournament at its finest, and that's really the only way to describe it.
Neither ASU nor Texas was expected to make a significant run in the tournament. This game was about exposure, and in this case you could make an argument that both teams helped their programs last night.
Here's what I took away from the game while keeping ASU's season in perspective:
We see you, Jonathan Gilling
Gilling showed up big time last night, banging home 4 three's on his way to a 15 point, 2 rebound, 2 assist effort in 35 minutes off the bench. While we will focus on deficiencies in Gilling's game in future analysis, it was good to see a solid performance from one of the few primary rotation players that will be returning to ASU next season.
Draft stock update
Jordan Bachynski and Jahii Carson were terrific last night, turning in prime time performances (JB: 25 points, 7 rebounds, JC: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists) on a big stage. This was very important for two players that struggled mightily down the stretch for the Devils. I believe that this tournament game positioned Carson between pick 26 and pick 40 and potentially moved Bachynksi into the second round.
Individually the duo are opposites. Carson is a natural scorer born and bred in the American AAU system. He's been a highly touted recruit since middle school and has Youtube pages full of highlights dating back quite a few years.
Bachynski on the other hand, has been a project for Herb Sendek since he arrived. While Carson is vastly undersized at 5'10” (he's actually no taller than 5'9”), Bachynski towers at 7'2”. Carson's natural gifts will find him a home in the NBA, while Bachynski's size and work ethic will determine his basketball future. After a two year Mormon mission, Bachynski arrived at ASU with little to no fanfare but has advanced his game so much in Tempe that he should get his shot at a professional career.
It will be interesting to see where Jahii and Jordan go and to consider the impact of their performances on last night's biggest stage.
The Devils' skill and resilience were on display last night, and recruits and their families, boosters and the national basketball media should have taken notice. Performances like this one reflect positively on ASU Basketball and the university as a whole.
ASU Coach Herb Sendek, Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski at post-game press conference
Taking It All In
Despite ASU's first round loss, last night was by no means a failure. The Sun Devils had an amazing season, beat rival U of A in one of the best games in all of college basketball, pushed themselves further onto the national stage and achieved their first NCAA tournament birth since the pre-beard reign of James Harden.
Many good teams couldn't accomplish what Herb Sendek and co. did at ASU. It's important to realize that while the 2013-2014 ASU basketball campaign has ended in heartbreaking fashion, it was one hell of a ride this year for hoops in Tempe, Arizona.
This image took over Twitter after the game. March Madness exemplified.
Mar 19, 2014 - 04:51 pm -
The Arizona State Sun Devils will face the Texas Longhorns Thursday evening in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Though they stumbled through the finish line with losses to Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford (in the Pac-12 Tournament), the Devils were given a NCAA Tournament birth, and the tenth seed in the Midwest Bracket.
ASU is not expected to go far in the tournament, but being there is already quite the accomplishment for a program that has struggled in recent seasons. Even if the seventh seeded Longhorns dispose of Tempe's team with ease, the fact that ASU is on the bracket will pay dividends for Sun Devil Basketball.
Air time and exposure is gold for ASU. Under the national spotlight of the "Dance," the Sun Devil program will reach more sponsors, boosters, recruits and their families. March Madness also has a large international audience which will provide ASU a couple spots to bolster it's brand overseas.
For a program that is on the smaller side of division one hoops, this is a chance for ASU to be noticed on a grander scale. A first round victory over the Longhorns would bring ASU its biggest spotlight in recent memory.
The tournament is also a great showcase for Sun Devil Basketball's best player, Jahii Carson. Carson is capable of big things, and will likely be selected in the upcoming NBA draft. He was horrific against Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament (4-13 from the field in a 21 point loss), but he can improve his draft stalk with a good performance against Texas.
Lastly, this is a chance for the young Sun Devils to grow. With key players Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall, Jordan Bachynksi and Shaquille McKissic departing at season's end, this will be a good opportunity for Jonathan Gilling (Junior), Bo Barnes (Junior), and Eric Jacobsen (Sophomore) to experience the most pressured atmosphere.
Don't expect the Sun Devils to make a deep run in this year's tournament. They are too inconsistent and don't fare well enough on the road to advance into the later rounds. Instead, look for the opportunities and accomplishments already afforded to the program this season. Thanks to the efforts of the 2014 Sun Devil players and coaching staff, basketball is on the rise here in Tempe.
Mar 12, 2014 - 02:55 pm - Photo credit, ASU
Saturday's disappointing defeat in Corvallis marked the end of one of the more fruitful Sun Devil regular seasons in recent years. The 2013-2014 iteration of Sun Devil basketball finished with a 21-10 record, good for 4th in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils, while successful, were remarkably inconsistent.
At home in front of the raucous 942 Crew, the Devils were a solid 16-1. They beat (then #25) Marquette on a last second block by Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Jordan Bachynski, clapped Colorado by 21 points, and upset (then #2) the University of Arizona in double overtime thanks to a 29 point performance from swingman Jermaine Marshall.
ASU did not come close to matching their home excellence on the road with a disappointing 5-9 record. The (then #20, now #13) Creighton Bluejays outscored the Devils by 28 points in the second round of the Wooden Legacy Tournament. ASU finished the season with two road losses to the Oregon schools.
This is not a good trend for ASU's tournament hopes. The Sun Devils often do not get a complete effort on the road. All-Pac-12 First Teamer Jahii Carson is often the only guy who consistently shows up while getting sub-par efforts from fellow starters Jordan Bachynski had 4 rebounds at Oregon State on 3/8, 5 points and 6 rebounds at Utah on 2/23, and an abysmal 4 points and 3 rebounds at Colorado on 1/25. Jermaine Marshall had 4 points and 2 rebounds at Washington on 1/2, and 5 points (1-12 shooting) and 2 rebounds at Oregon State on 3/8.
For the Devils to have any shot at a deep tournament run, Marshall and Bachynski will have to be consistent. We know they are capable. Marshall and Bachynski must deliver some big-time performances.
With the Pac-12 Tournament kicking off today, will the Sun Devils play like Las Vegas is home or away? Every team is in the same boat, and most games should be contentious.
Will Jahii, Jordan and Jermaine show that they can have some success in the NCAA Tournament? Well tomorrow night at 8:30pm in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, they can prove it by taking down Stanford.
Mar 12, 2014 - 10:13 am -
When you think of Arizona State University, a few things come to mind. A beautiful campus, great night-life and of course the sun, but now you can add sand to the mix as we welcome ASU's Sand Volleyball program.
Sand volleyball is an emerging NCAA sport, and it is in its inaugural year at ASU. Jason Watson, the head coach for the indoor volleyball team has assumed the role of head coach for the sand team as well.
This season will prove to be a test for Coach Watson in having the responsibility of heading both teams; however, it is a responsibility that the coach is embracing.
“I’m having a wonderful time coaching at ASU, I’m growing as a coach and hopefully the athletes are growing, learning and getting better. There is no magic to this, just hard work," Coach Watson said. Nevertheless, the addition of the sand program will require a few adjustments.
Photo Credit, ASU
“We have to relearn a game that we thought we already knew. This blended model of both indoor and sand is very tough. We are taking this opportunity to get our indoor team better through sand volleyball but still maintain a competitive indoor team.”
“A big advantage for us is that my athletes can play more volleyball and get more practice. Plus, the more time you have with your athletes the more you can solidify those relationships.”
As for the future of beach volleyball, the sport is continuing to grow. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have shed a lot of light on the sport for women. USA's prolific duo won Olympic gold an unprecedented three times.
ASU Sand Volleyball Team
“Three to five years from now I hope that beach volleyball is playing for an NCAA Championship,” said Coach Watson. "I want Arizona State to have an independent sand program, where scholarships can be offered. We want to continue to advance the sport.”
Coach Watson ended with a message to all sports fans. “We want fans to learn that volleyball is a sport that lends itself to really getting the crowd involved. Our athletes are incredibly appreciative of any support they can get. People looking for a sport to follow or looking for role models, the athletes we have at ASU are remarkable."
* * *
There are a total of 10 girls who play in five groups of two on the sand team. As the season progresses, keep an eye on these key players: Jordy Checkal, Bianca Arellano and Bethany Jorgensen.
ASU's 2014 Sand Volleyball Schedule
Mar 11, 2014 - 01:54 pm - Rising.
Today, College Football Performance Awards talked with Sun Devil, Will Sutton.
Check out this video. There's lots of good stuff including Will's comments about ASU, Phoenix, his parents, favorite music and movies, his personal style, diet, his earlier challenges at ASU, his advice to young players and his respect for Sun Devil Fans.
Content like this makes a pretty big statement about how the Sun Devil Football Program is shaping the lives of young men. If you are a DieHard Fan or Alumn and you haven't joined the Sun Devil Club, it's time you did. It's the simplest way to send a message that you support the advancement of ASU Football & Athletics.
Forks Up, Will! We're glad you stayed your senior year.