Men's Basketball Begins Season Nov.1

Oct. 31, 2000

The Arizona State men's basketball team will take to the floor on Nov.1 and Nov. 6 in exhibition games to begin the 2000-2001 season. ASU,under third-year head coach Rob Evans, takes on the CaliforniaSouthwest All-Stars on Wed., Nov. 1, and then takes on a Lithuanianteam on Mon., Nov. 6. Both games begin at 7 p.m. and will be carriedon KFYI 550 AM and XTRA 910 AM in Phoenix with Tim Healey(play-by-play) and Vic Cegles (color) providing the call.ASU will play in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Classic on Nov. 10-11, 2000, at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., along with three 2000 NCAA Tournament teams. ASU is scheduled to meet Tulsa (32-5 in 1999-2000) while North Carolina will take on Winthrop in the other first-round game. The winners/losers will meet the next evening.

Wed., Nov. 1 vs. California Southwest All-Stars (EX) 7 p.m. Tempe XTRA 910 AM/No TV
Mon., Nov. 6 vs. Lithuanian Team (EX) 7 p.m. Tempe XTRA 910 AM/No TV

NABC Classic at Dean Smith Center (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Fri., Nov. 10 vs. Tulsa (32-5 in 1999-2000) 9:30 EST/7:30 MST Chapel Hill, N.C. XTRA 910 AM/Fox Sports Net Arizona
Sat., Nov. 11 vs. North Carolina or Winthrop 6 or 8 p.m. EST Chapel Hill, N.C.

ASU opens its 2000-2001 exhibition season on Nov. 1 and then opens its regular season on Nov. 10 in the NABC Classic against Tulsa, and yes those dates are very early. ASU has never had an exhibition game before Nov. 5 and has never had its first regular season game before Nov. 13. As recently as 1992-93, ASU had its first exhibition game on November 20 and its first game on Dec. 1. Also, the preparation time between the first exhibition game and the first regular season game isn't as long as it used to be. In 1989-90, ASU played its first exhibition game on Nov. 10 but did not open the regular season until November 30. A look at the earliest season lid-lifters in Sun Devil history:

Year Head Coach Regular Season Opener Exhibition Opener
2000-2001 Rob Evans Nov. 10 Nov. 1
1998-1999 Rob Evans Nov. 13 Nov. 5
1997-1998 Don Newman Nov. 16 Nov. 5
1999-2000 Rob Evans Nov. 20 Nov. 10
1994-1995 Bill Frieder Nov. 21 Nov. 13
1996-1997 Bill Frieder Nov. 22 Nov. 12

The Arizona State men's basketball team (19-13, 10-8 in Pac-10) posted its best season since 1994-95 in Rob Evans second year at the helm of the program in 1999-2000. The young ASU team, with six true freshmen combining for nearly 96 minutes per game and having just one senior on its roster, posted a Pac-10 road sweep for the first time since 1996 to begin the second half at WSU/Washington and notched a home sweep of the LA schools for the first time since 1986 a week later. It was ASU's first four-game Pac-10 win streak since 1995. ASU also was 3-1 in overtime, all Pac-10 road contests, and was 3-3 in games decided by three points or less after going 1-5 in 1998-99. ASU went 6-3 in the second half of Pac-10 play after going just 2-7 the previous season. The Sun Devils posted 19 wins for just the fourth time in the past 17 seasons, as ASU was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll but finished in a tie for fourth with NCAA-bound UCLA (a team ASU beat 104-75 on Feb. 17 to end a 22-game losing streak to the Bruins) at 10-8, sweeping four Pac-10 teams along the way (California, Washington State, Washington and Oregon State), its most sweeps since the 194-95 team also had four.

Rob Evans (119-110/.520) will enter his third season in 2000-2001 (ninth overall) as the head basketball coach at Arizona State after being hired on April 7, 1998. The 1997 SEC Coach of the Year spent six seasons at Ole Miss, compiling an 86-81 (.515) record. He led the Rebels to a 42-16 record in his final two seasons, winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1937-38. The 54-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams, is a 1989 inductee of the NMSU Athletic Hall of Fame and was named to the school's All-Time Basketball team. He is 33-29 (.532) entering his third year at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as a tough man-to-man teams which ranked 13th in the nation and second in the SEC in 1997-98 in rebounding at +6.6, despite the fact that no player was in the top 30 in rebounding. Ole Miss held opponents to just 30 percent from the three-point stripe, best in the SEC, and to just 40.6 percent from the field. He is 75-45 (.625) in the past four seasons.

How impressive was ASU's 3-1 record in road overtime games? ASU just missed matching the NCAA record for road OT wins, which is four. Four schools notched 4-0 marks in road overtime games in one season, including ASU in 1980-81. Others were Delaware (1972-73), Cal State Fullerton (1988-89) and New Mexico St. (1993-94). ASU won road overtime games at California, Washington State and Oregon State and fell at USC after going just 1-3 in overtime in 1998-99.

ASU is scheduled to return 56.3 points per game after averaging a league-best 79.3 points, which accounts for 71 percent of the scoring. ASU was scheduled to return just 32.1 points per game from a 74.5 points per game mark in 1999-2000 (43.1 percent) after losing All-Pac-10 players Bobby Lazor (18.0 ppg.) and Mike Batiste (16.7 ppg.). But led by Eddie House's 23.0 scoring mark and five players averaging more than six points per game ASU led the league in scoring this past year and was 17th in the nation. It marked just the third time in school history ASU led the Pac-10 in scoring (also in 1992-93 and 1980-81). ASU's six freshmen combined for 39.8 percent of the scoring (31.5 ppg.), 38.6 percent of the rebounding (14.9 rpg.), 37.6 percent of the steals (3.2 spg.) and 44.7 percent of the assists (7.2 apg.).

ASU swept four Pac-10 teams (Washington, Washington St., California and Oregon St.) this year, the most since the 1994-95 team also swept four. ASU swept seven schools in 1979-80 and in 1980-81 and also had four sweeps in 1982-83 and 1990-91. ASU swept Oregon St. for the first time since 1996 and swept Washington and California for the first time since 1995. The Sun Devils have swept Washington St. the past three seasons. ASU beat Cal in Tempe for the tenth straight time and is 19-3 vs. Cal in Tempe since it joined the Pac-10.

ASU had just one senior in 1999-2000, Pac-10 Player of the Year Eddie House (the first Sun Devil to earn the honor), who was the nation's fourth leading scorer. With his 40 points vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, House became the first Pac-10 player to notch four 40-point games in one season. He posted eight games of 30+ points games on the year, as he went crazy at Cal on Jan. 8 with 61 points, which tied the Pac-10 record held by Lew Alcindor. He also had 46 vs. San Diego State (Dec. 18), 42 vs. Penn State (Dec. 29) and the 40 vs. UCLA (Feb. 17). He had 17 games of at least 20 points this year and ASU was 14-3 in those contests (9-0 at home). House also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.6 steals in his final eight games. He finished his career as ASU's record holder with 2,044 points and 258 steals and is just the second Pac-10 player to notch 2,000 career points and 250 steals. Oregon State's Gary Payton is the other.

The Sun Devils started at least one freshmen in every game last year...ASU held ten of its final 11 opponents to under 50 percent shooting...ASU was 14-4 when it led at the half compared to 10-9 in 1998-99...the Feb. 12 game at Washington was the first time three freshmen started for ASU (Kyle Dodd, Tommy Smith and Shawn Redhage) since Feb. 6, 1992...the last ASU opponent to score 100 points in Tempe was Arizona on Feb. 27, 1988 (101-73). The current streak of an ASU opponent not scoring 100 points in Tempe stands at 204 games...Rob Evans is 39-17 (.696) in December.

Donnell Knight really turned it up a notch for the Sun Devil on Feb. 5, when he led ASU with 16 points vs. Oregon. Knight started the year slowly but in the final 12 games was one of the key reasons why ASU was able to notch 19 wins for just the fourth time in the past 17 seasons. A look at Donnell Knight's improvement after the first 20 games of last season:

Statistic First 20 Games Final 12 Games
FG % 20-70 (.286) 35-61 (.574)
FT % 8-29 (.400) 19-24 (.792)
3-PT % 2-17 (.118) 8-14 (.571)
Rebounds 38 (1.9 per game) 51 (4.3 per game)
Assists 15 (0.75 per game) 17 (1.42 per game)
Steals 2 (0.1 per game) 7 (0.58 per game)
Minutes 233 (11.7 per game) 245 (20.4 per game)

New Mexico State's African American Alumni Association has presents a scholarship in the name of NMSU Hall of Famer Rob Evans. The Rob Evans Scholarship Fund is being given to the university to assist with the recruitment and retention of African American students. Evans, a native of Hobbs, N.M., is a 1968 graduate of NMSU with a bachelors degree in Education.

Junior Chad Prewitt was one of the most improved players in the Pac-10 last year. Prewitt's improvements from his freshman year to his sophomore year offer the perfect benchmark for last year's six true freshmen. A look at Prewitt's numbers in his first two years:

Statistic 1998-98 (Fr. Year) 1999-2000 (Soph. Year)
Points Per Game 4.1 9.0
Minutes Per Game 15.3 22.0
Games Started/Played 8/30 32/32
Offensive Reobunds 36 61
Double-Digit Scoring 2 games 17 games
Pac-10 Points Per Game 2.6 10.2
Pac-10 Minutes Per Game 10.6 24.2
Pac-10 FT % 15-22 (.682) 48-65 (.738)
Pac-10 Rebs. Per Game 1.4 4.7

Kenny Crandall, who was a freshman in 1998-99 and started in 23 games, went on a two-year Mormon Mission to Eugene, Ore., and will return to the Sun Devils in 2001-2002. Crandall, a native of Mesa, Ariz., and a 6-4 swingman who prepped at Mountain View High School, averaged 5.9 points and 28.4 minutes per game in his initial season. He will have three years of eligibility. Also, Dewy DeWitt, a walk-on from Show Low, Ariz., who redshirted last year and received a full academic scholarship, will leave for his mission Aug. 30 to Trujillo, Peru. He returns July 30, 2002 and will have four years of eligibility.

Rob Evans and ASU made a commitment to Coaches Vs. Cancer as everytime an ASU player hit a three, donations were made to the Southwest Division of the American Cancer Society. Fans donate an amount for each three-pointer made (counting the two exhibitions). ASU made 195 threes in 1998-99, and Rob Evans, with his $5 per shot donation, gave the American Cancer Society $975. ASU has raised more than $13,000 in its two seasons under Evans.

ASU beat Portland State 79-57 on Nov. 20, 1999, to win its tenth straight home opener and its seventh straight opening game overall. Donnell Knight became the first freshman to start in the first game of the year since Ron Riley in 1992-93. Rob Evans is now 7-1 in season openers in his eight seasons as a head coach with all of them taking place at home. Evans is 2-0 in openers since coming to ASU. ASU opens its regular season on Nov. 10 against Tulsa in the NABC Classic in Chapel Hill.

ASU beat San Jose State 68-49 on Nov. 13, 1998, to win its ninth straight home opener in Rob Evans first game as ASU coach. San Jose State's 49 points was the fewest in an opener since ASU beat California Western 71-47 in 1960-61 and the fewest points by an opponent since Feb. 25, 1995, (a span of 96 games) when ASU topped Oregon State 82-44. The last time ASU lost a home opener was on Dec. 5, 1989, when ASU fell to BYU 65-64, a streak of nine straight.

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