I like Bobby Hurley as the head coach of Arizona State basketball. I hope he sticks around.
Hurley has had more than a good run with the Sun Devils. Anyone who is holding this year’s disastrous season over him simply hasn’t been paying attention to what was inherited in 2015 and where the program is six years later.
103 wins and a couple of NCAA postseason appearances may not seem like much to some, but for those of us who have watched the mediocrity of the program for the last thirty years, the on-the-court product is on the right trajectory. Local talents Jaelen House and Jalen Graham are playing in Tempe. Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley were viewed as top of the class talent when they signed the dotted line.
Hurley did it while playing in an arena that was in desperate need of a makeover 10 years ago. Yet, he convinced players to come. If not for the unexpected transfer of center Romello White to Ole Miss (he’s had a good year in Oxford), the 2020-21 season was set up for a deep run in March.
Even with White leaving, Hurley had horses. Problem is the Sun Devils couldn’t dodge COVID-19 and injury, Remy Martin really struggled off the court, Christopher and Bagley could never really get together because of injury or the pandemic dropping games. Soooooooo, now what? Both freshmen will almost certainly turn pro and the once-promising season that we were all looking forward to seeing, will go down as a “what if?” year. That stinks.
Hurley’s name as usual, will come up for jobs outside of Tempe. His son is finishing high school, he’s done the college thing for the last eight years. Does he have an itch to scratch on an NBA sideline? Some believe that he does. Jobs on the college front like San Diego State could come open.
Minnesota reportedly is on the verge of firing basketball coach Richard Pitino. Will SDSU's Brian Dutcher, who went to Minnesota and whose father coached there, be its No. 1 target? https://t.co/oupKAa5HlD
— Mark Zeigler (@sdutzeigler) March 6, 2021
Other than the money Hurley is currently being paid, I could easily make the argument that SDSU is a better job than Tempe simply by the arena that the Aztecs play in.
That doesn’t mean that he’s looking to leave, but the dilapidated house he’s coaching in continues to be a real problem that doesn’t have a concrete solution in place here in March 2021. The buyout if he wanted to leave Arizona State before his deal expires wouldn’t be a roadblock ($2 million dollars).
One other thought on this year’s team. The Sun Devil basketball players (both men and women) have been tested for COVID-19 every day since late October. EVERY DAY. The testing usually takes place in the early mornings (7 am, 8 am). If you don’t think that would take a toll mentally on an 18, 19, and 20-year-olds, then you’re not dealing with reality.
Between baseball being canceled last spring by the pandemic (number one overall pick Spencer Torkelson was on that team), football barely getting out of the starting blocks before COVID hit, and the struggles of basketball, Arizona State has had a bad run.
If not for a blowout win in football over an Arizona Wildcat team in total disarray, there’s been very little on the bright side. Like many of us, pushing reset on the last year is the only way for ASU to get out of this stretch. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ray Anderson has to search for a new head basketball coach in the coming months. I hope that’s not the case…