Bobby Hurley’s ejection from Arizona State’s loss to Arizona on Sunday afternoon is getting a lot of attention both locally and nationally. Some good attention for his passion and spirit and some no so good as the Sun Devils were close to getting within a possession of the Wildcats late.
No matter how you spin it, the display he put on in front of a national audience on FOX Sports 1 can do nothing but good for this program despite taking the loss. It was more big picture than just the result of a single game.
Watching Hurley in season one at the helm, his reaction to calls and referees like we saw over the weekend is nothing new. The problem is not enough butts have been in the seats to see it. Just a couple weeks prior to the Arizona game, I was in attendance to see the Sun Devils play Stephen F. Austin and watched his face turn a shade of red and was coming dangerously close to being T’d up. That game too was a close battle down the stretch.
Hurley had a platform on Sunday where everyone who gives a darn about college hoops in this state as well as casual fans were paying attention to him. It was really the first time all season where that was the case and yes, that includes their trip to Lexington last month. So whether or not he will tell you afterwards that his explosion at the end of this game was on purpose, know this. Hurley is out to take a strangle hold of this market to show that college basketball is a great product and will be under him. He is putting his foot down and saying he doesn’t care if there is a top-10 program down the road in Arizona, a mid-major in GCU who has been a great story this season with a home favorite coaching in Dan Majerle and even in his own back-yard, a buzz around an ASU hockey team which is in it’s first year at the division I level and plays at the same time as his team.
Ray Anderson has said repeatedly to the public and even from what I hear, to recruits recruits that he is investing in Hurley and the new basketball coach is screaming, though at the referees and not Sun Devil faithful, it’s time to invest your time, emotion and maybe even money in them as well.
Things are different in Tempe. Whether that ultimately results in wins or losses in the end, it is just different which is exactly what the program needed as we stand here today.