By Ben Wong for DieHardDevil.com
Tempe, AZ – While much of Sun Devil Nation remains transfixed on the gridiron, ASU basketball coach Herb Sendek is building a roster that will be worth watching in seasons to come.
Sendek, who convinced current Houston Rocket All-Star James Harden to play his college years in Tempe, netted five players in the last 5 months. The 2004 ACC Coach of the Year trekked out to Florida to pick up small forward Roosevelt Scott, but also took time to catch Corona Del Sol standout Connor MacDougall.
Sendek also received commitments from three guards. Gerry Blakes, Tra Holder, and Kodi Justice will try to follow in redshirt sophomore Jahii Carson’s footsteps and bring talent, options, and depth to this year’s Sun Devil squad.
Let’s take a closer look at the future of Sun Devil Basketball.
Connor MacDougall: 6’8”, 200 lbs, Tempe, AZ
MacDougall is Sendek’s highest-ranked recruit. The power forward/center stands at #91 in the “Rivals Top 150 Prospect Rankings” and committed on November 20th.
MacDougall starred at Desert Vista High and Westwind Prep before joining forces with Casey Benson (verbally committed to Oregon) and Dane Kuiper (verbally committed to New Mexico) at Corona Del Sol in his senior year.
Tra Holder: 6’, 170 lbs, Brentwood, CA
Just a few spots past MacDougall sits Tra Holder. While his 2012-13 stats speak for themselves (22.9 ppg, 5.4 apg, 1.4 spg), a look at Holder’s most viewed Youtube highlight video reveals a silky handle and soft touch around the rim.
While I recognize how extremely unfair it is to compare a high school basketball player to a professional, when Holder glides into the lane and scoops a tricky layup over a taller defender…for a second I think I’m watching Tyreke Evans’ 20-5-5 Rookie of the Year mixtape again.
Kodi Justice: 6’3”, 160 lbs, Mesa, AZ
Justice, who verbally committed to ASU after an unofficial visit his freshman year, heads into his senior season with championship aspirations. “Individually, I want to become a leader and try to take that mentality to Arizona State and eventually help the Sun Devils win a national championship,” Justice told Pros2Preps.com.
Roosevelt Scott (JuCo transfer): 6’4”, 190 lbs, Indian Hills Community College
Scott will come to the Sun Devils from Indian Hills Community College in southeast Iowa. He averaged 16.9 ppg as a high school senior, and draws high praise from IHCC coach Barret Peery for his athleticism, slashing ability, and “fantastic” defense. All of that will be of use to the Sun Devils, who will lose bigs Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall at season’s end.
Gerry Blakes (JuCo transfer): 6’4”, 180 lbs, San Bernadino Valley College
Blakes is a player who fits the same mold as the aforementioned Kodi Justice: a tall guard who can distribute the basketball.
Blakes previously committed to Hawaii, but chose ASU because of the success of previous Sun Devil stars. “Pretty much, seeing what James Harden and Jahii Carson did at ASU with these coaches, I want to be the next guard to do big things there,” Blakes told ASUdevils.com.
If you’re quiet enough, you can hear it coming. With the Sun Devils returning recently from an eleven-night trip to China and the announcement of five new recruit commitments, basketball season is heating up in the valley of the sun.
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