“Many people picture the Buddha as being big and fat. The commercial imagery surrounding us say’s so. At the same time, some lesser-known statues depict the Buddha as an emaciated, slow and even sickly figure. Truth is the historical Buddha was quite trim, agile, and elite. He picked his battles and actually consumed a steady balanced diet. ASU Basketball Coach Bobby Hurley needs a steady offense and a balanced diet of Pac-12 wins.
Bobby Hurley is an athlete, he ran over 1.63 miles of sprints in front of his players before the OT win over Arizona last week, but that does not make him a wise coach.
Hurley can’t go out and play for his kids. He is “Coach Hurley,” not Senior Guard #11 Bobby Hurley from Duke. He has charge of a young Arizona State Sun Devil Basketball team that needs his wisdom, not his emotions or playing resume. Bobby can’t put on his Letterman’s Jacket and tell a young athlete about the good old days under Coach K.
Hurley has to translate his experience and wisdom to his squad putting the likes of Dort, Martin, and Edwards in the best position to succeed.
His team looks lost in stretches, and last night against Washington State, Sun Devil Hoops looked hopeless! As I suggested, Washington State threw different formations at them all night long. The Sun Devils looked confused and lacked potency and direction.
Before the game, I learned Arizona State Sun Devil Men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley “fasts” on game-day. True or not, it is a very Zen-Master approach to losing games consistently in Pac-12 play for his team.
Buddha himself would eat during certain hours throughout the day, and then not eat at all afterword. Pretty simple stuff; eat when your body demands it then fast. Historically Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils don’t know when to eat, when to fast, or when to slow down and create balance. We have put great teams on the ropes by applying pressure for 40 minutes.
Against Washington State
Last night, we let a less than average Cougar team destroy us at The Bank. Playing the Washington State Cougars on your home floor is considered to be a “Quad 4” game in bracketology vernacular. Losing to Washington State 91 – 70 essentially means the “jig is up” for the Sun Devils.
The “Fasting Buddha” statue portrays an event taking place before the Buddha’s “enlightenment.” On his spiritual quest, Buddha tried many aesthetic practices, including starving himself. Eventually, he realized mental cultivation and insight, not bodily deprivation, would lead to enlightenment.
Perhaps Bobby Hurley, the passionate, energetic, neophyte coach should start eating some protein and stop depriving his mind of vital nutrients. This loss was embarrassing, and Coach Hurley can’t hide from his inconsistent record any longer.
Hurley’s studs need to eat and attack but can only achieve consistency with his guidance. No walk-off tantrums by Coach in the huddle under the guise of “motivation.”
He must pick and choose his energetic displays, and then get down and dirty in the “X’s” and “O’s” when his kids are throwing up 18 missed 3 point shots in a row! Hurley’s offensive play calling as a whole has been lateral and impotent, and his players deserve better for their gritty effort.
Basketball is a “copycat” game. When one offense is potent and successful, other teams naturally emulate it. The geometry of play dictates there is is a likelihood of a number of particular outcomes exist for any given situation. Statistics support this with hardcore math.
To limit unsuccessful outcomes takes discipline, not prayer, meditation or fasting.
“Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.” -Dean Smith
The Sun Devils are not disciplined, and that is not on the players. It’s on their emotional coach who scored a technical last night instead of calling a timeout and organizing his teams best attack. The result was dysfunction.
Five players were doing five different things. Arizona State had 17 turnovers and looked like the Keystone Cops on offense. Luguentz Dort, had 1 assist and 5 turnovers, and for the season has 54 assists to 71 turnovers while shooting 28 percent from the three-point line. The Arizona State Sun Devil starting five was 3 – 24 from three-point range and NEVER stopped jacking up the bricks. I have no problem with shooting through a slump but would design movements to get my guys the ball in a squared up position where, statistically speaking, success is better guaranteed.
The “Eye Test?”
Watch Duke, Tennessee, Michigan, or any other Top 10 team play both offense and defense. Watch their consistency despite winning or losing a game. Observe when and where their coaches call a timeout and make adjustments. Now do the same while watching a replay of ASU vs. WSU (if you can stomach it), or any game in which ASU lost a big lead over the past two years.
Arizona State is more talented one through nine than the Michigan Wolverines, but John Beilien’s system and on-time coaching adjustments make the team from Ann Arbor a perennial powerhouse.
This is Bobby’s fourth year at Arizona State University, a college with 71,946 students in the Valley of the Sun. With the location, facilities and outright wealth of the Athletic program and Alumni base, Coach Hurley is not being paid to “learn” on the job, in this, his sixth year of coaching between Buffalo and ASU. My fear is he is learning on our dime and will leave the second he has a big season and a bigger basketball school comes calling with a larger payday. Arizona State did not think it was paying for a winning percentage resting at 54 percent when Herb Sendek was fired.
To take it one step further. Watch the Nevada vs. ASU game once more! The Sun Devils had the Wolfpack on the ropes due to the talent and passion of the players that ran up the score, not the Arizona State Coaching Staff. It was a lack of guidance that allowed Nevada to come back and steal the win.
The Litmus Test reveals Hurley can recruit, but statistically, he is no better than his predecessor at ASU, Herb Sendek.
ASU could not hit the broad side of a large barn and never went inside against Washington State. It was textbook Bobby Hurley, “letting his guys play” rather than setting them up for success as a coach. Belief in potential is one thing as a coach or mentor, but at some point, a leader has to show each young athlete the way.
Bobby Hurley is a passionate human being, but he needs to look deep down inside feast or famine! His team needs HIM to be, “The Buddha.”
Zen-like yogi’s never fast when a feast is vitally important! They believe the only way to achieve ultimate dominance and success is by undergoing terrible penances such as gazing into the sun until their eyes melt or say, watching Washington State Forward Lawrence Frank drop 31 points on ASU at The Bank.
Bobby’s teams continue to come up short against long zone defenses, and of course, that’s what Coach Mike Hopkins and the Washington Huskies are bringing to Tempe Saturday Night. It’s the same 2-3 zone that has made Jimmy Boeheim a basketball legend at Syracuse for more than 30 years!
Against Syracuse in the round of 68 last March, Hurley made one late adjustment, and it was probably the first time in two months we witnessed the Sun Devils attack the middle of the defense. They needed this attack against quite a few lengthy Pac-12 squads that had played successful zones against the Sun Devils. Of course, the Sun Devils lost the game, one that I believed would be put in the Win column.
LIVE: Coach Bobby Hurley and student-athletes address the media after Washington State https://t.co/7V5r56fPi3
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) February 8, 2019
The Bottom Line
ASU is now 15-7 with another ugly loss on its tournament resume. Right now we are playing like an average NIT team, and it could get ugly down the stretch! We have to beat Washington and do so convincingly in my opinion. At this rate, Coach Hurley needs to win nearly all remaining games and at least two in the Pac-12 Tournament to become a tournament team.
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