Men's Hoops Plays Two In Three

Dec. 19, 2000

ASU PLAYS TWICE IN THREE DAYS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (5-2), under third-year head coach Rob Evans, plays host to two games in three days before Christmas. ASU takes on the Mercer Bears on Wed., Dec. 20, and then hosts the Belmont Bruins on Fri., Dec. 22. Both games begin tip at 7 p.m. MST and will be carried on KFYI 550 AM and XTRA 910 AM in Phoenix, with Tim Healey (play-by-play) and Vic Cegles (color) calling the action. The Sun Devils have held six of their seven opponents under 70 points and are holding opponents to just 36.9 percent (137-of-371) from the field, the second-best mark in the Pac-10, and just 62.3 points per game, third-best in the league. ASU's next four games are at home, where it is 18-3 (.857) over the past two seasons. Junior Awvee Storey already has three 20-point games this year, matching his total from last year. The only Sun Devils to post 20-point games last year were Storey, Pac-10 Player of the Year Eddie House (17) and Tanner Shell (1). Storey is averaging 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds in the past three games.

HOME HAS BEEN GOOD: Wells Fargo Arena/Ned Wulk Court was a solid home for ASU last year, as ASU matched the school record for home wins with a 14-3 (.820) mark. ASU won all 14 games at home against unranked opponents, losing only to No. 5 Arizona, No. 23 Oregon and No. 2 Stanford. ASU was 8-0 against non-conference foes at home last year. ASU's 14 home wins matched the school record set in 1974-75, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1990-91, 1994-95 and 1997-98. ASU is 18-3 (.857) at home over the past two seasons and has won 16 straight home games over non-conference foes.

ABOUT THAT DEFENSE: The defensive efforts against BYU (Dec. 2) and Kent State (Nov. 25) were among the best by a Rob Evans-coached team. In his 236 games as a head coach dating to when he took over Ole Miss in 1992-93, those two games rank second and fifth for field goal percentage defense . A look at the top five defensive efforts by an Evans' squad in his nine years.

Rk. Pct. FG-A Opponent/Evans' Team Date

1. .200 13-65 Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Ole Miss Nov. 24, 1997

2. .254 15-59 Brigham Young at Arizona State Dec. 2, 2000

3. .258 16-62 Alabama vs. Ole Miss Feb. 12, 1997

4. .271 16-59 Delaware State at Ole Miss Dec. 20, 1994

5. .273 15-55 Kent State at Arizona State Nov. 25, 2000

QUICK NOTES THROUGH SEVEN GAMES: ASU has outrebounded its opponent in each of its first seven games...ASU is averaging 14.3 offensive rebounds in its first seven games and is outrebounding its opponents by 8.2 boards per contest. ASU led the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds last year at 15.78 per game...ASU has five players averaging in double figures, with junior Awvee Storey leading the way at 15.9 points per game...Chad Prewitt has started 39 straight games...ASU has had four different players lead the team in scoring in its seven games (Prewitt, Awvee Storey, Alton Mason and Shawn Redhage)...Alton Mason has 29 assists and 16 steals through seven games with just seven turnovers. He leads the Pac-10 in steals at 2.29 per game...ASU is 19-5 (.792) when leading at the half in the past two seasons.

SOLID GAMES: ASU held BYU (Dec. 2) and Kent State (Nov. 25) to just 30-of-114 (.263) from the floor. BYU was 22-11 last year and Kent State was 23-8, and both teams had the majority of their players returning. The 15-point loss was the worst for Kent State since it fell at Dayton in its season opener 89-73 on Nov. 14, 1998, while the 28-point loss was the worst for BYU since it fell at Oregon 93-62 on Dec. 5, 1998.

VS. MERCER AND BELMONT: ASU has never faced Mercer or Belmont. Rob Evans is 1-0 against Belmont, as his Ole Miss squad topped the Bruins 100-59 on Dec. 17, 1997. Belmont is an independent from Nashville, Tenn., while Mercer is a member of the Trans America Conference (TAAC) and is located in Macon, Ga.

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (124-112/.525) is in 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 38-31 (.551) in his 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 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 80-47 (.630) in the past five seasons.

MILEAGE: The ASU program has logged some serious air miles within the past year. It started last year with a trip to the Puerto Rico Shootout, as ASU travelled 6,032 miles for its first road trip with its six freshmen. Then came trips to BYU (1,016), Bay Area (1,292), Los Angeles (750), North Carolina State (3,776), Seattle/Pullman (2,216), Oregon/Oregon State (2,020) and North Carolina State again (3,776). Add this year's Nov. 9-12 trip to the NABC Classic in Chapel Hill (3,776), and the Dec. 16 game at San Diego State (750) and ASU has flown 25,404 miles since the beginning of last season.

ON THE TUBE: Arizona State makes 18 television appearances this year, including 10 locally on Fox Sports Arizona. ABC will broadcast its first game from Tempe since 1996-97 when it televises the Jan. 20 game vs. USC at 4 p.m. MST. ASU also will appear on CBS for the first time since 1996-97 when its Feb. 17 game at UCLA is shown at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MST. Fox Sports Net will broadcast the remaining six games, including both Arizona broadcasts, with ASU travelling to Tucson on Jan. 24 and the Wildcats coming to Tempe on Feb. 21. Both of those Wednesday tilts begin at 8:30 p.m. MST.

QUICK PLAYER NOTES

#1 ALTON MASON: ASU's lone senior who averaged 12.7 points in his final seven games last year...had career-high 8 boards vs. Tulsa on Nov. 10 and then matched a career-high with 18 points vs. Winthrop on Nov. 11...in the final seven games, he averaged 12.7 points, shot 46.8 percent from the field (29-of-62) and was 20-of-23 (.870) from the FT line...last year, he shot 80.7 percent from the FT line (46-of-57) after shooting just 59.5 percent (47-of-79) in 1998-99.

#11 AWVEE STOREY: Has three 20-point games on the year, matching his total from last year...averaging 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds in past three games...21 points and 11 boards at SDSU on Dec. 16...posted 21 points and 12 boards vs. Kent State on Nov. 25...26 points vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 17...Pac-10 leader in offensive boards last year with 105...also had his three 20-point games last year on the road (22 at BYU, 23 at USC and 21 at UCLA).

#4 TOMMY SMITH: Had 11 points in 14 minutes vs. BYU on Dec. 2...played in all 32 games last year and averaged 4.9 points and 13.4 minutes...was 31-of-42 (.738) from the free throw line in his final 26 games...also posted six blocks vs. Oregon St. on Feb. 3, the most by a Sun Devil since Bobby Lazor had six vs. Texas A & M on Dec. 19, 1997.

#2 DONNELL KNIGHT: Local prep product started last season slowly but came on strong towards the middle of the Pac-10...averaged nine points, five rebounds and 19.6 minutes in a five-game stretch from Feb. 5-Feb. 19 and was a key part of ASU's four-game winning streak in that time...has been in double digits in six games...18 points vs. Kent State on Nov. 25...posted career-high 21 points vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 17...had 15 points vs. Tulsa and 13 vs. Winthrop in NABC Classic games.

#15 TANNER SHELL: Came off the bench in each Pac-10 game last year and contributed 9.1 points per game, third on the team in league play, and had six double-figure scoring games...missed the Winthrop game on Nov. 11 with a sore back and has not played since.

#42 SHAWN REDHAGE: An excellent student-athlete who has a 3.3 GPA in construction science...10 points, eight rebounds and six assists at SDSU on Dec. 16...11 points and six assists vs. BYU on Dec. 2...had 19 points vs. Tulsa in the season opener and then had 17 vs. Winthrop...posted double-digit scoring games 14 times in 1999-2000.

#52 CHAD PREWITT: Averaged 9.0 ppg, third on the team last year...20 points and eight boards vs. BYU on Dec. 2...was the only Sun Devil to start in all 32 games last year and has started the past 39 games...has four double-doubles in career...15 points and 11 boards vs. Kent State on Nov. 25...15 points and nine boards vs. Colgate on Nov. 21...had 12 points and nine boards vs. Tulsa on Nov. 10.

#3 KYLE DODD: Showed tremendous poise in his rookie year, even nailing the game-winning three-pointer in overtime as ASU won at Washington State 81-79 and began its first four-game Pac-10 win streak since 1995...8 points and 6 boards in 31 minutes vs. Kent State on Nov. 25...in his final 24 games last year, Dodd posted 56 assists and just 16 turnovers in 466 minutes, an average of one turnover every 29 minutes and he did not turn the ball over in the final six games of the year (62 minutes).

FALL SIGNEE JASON BRAXTON: The Arizona State men's basketball program signed Jason Braxton (Moreno Valley, Calif./Canyon Springs High School) in the fall signing period. Braxton, a 6-2 guard who can play both the point and the wing, will join the Sun Devil roster in 2001-2002. 'Jason is a very versatile and smart player who can help us immediately next year,' says Rob Evans. 'This is a great signee for us. Our staff searched the country this past year and after watching Jason numerous times, we felt he was the best point guard prospect for our system. His toughness and leadership ability is tremendous. He pushes the ball in transition and is very smart. He committed to us early, so it was obvious that he wanted to be a Sun Devil. We only have two scholarships available because of the youth on the team so we had to be very selective. He is another piece of the puzzle that we now have in building this program into a great one. He joins freshmen and sophomores that were rated very highly in all the scouting services.' The Sporting News ranks Braxton as the 16th-best point guard prospect, calling him 'probably the most athletic point guard in the class' and he was rated by ESPN.com as the 41st-best overall prospect in the nation and by The HoopScoop as the 44th best player. He averaged 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in his junior season. CNNSI.com also rates him as the 22nd-best point guard in the nation and Bob Gibbons has him as a top-100 player. Canyon Springs also is where current ASU linebacker Solomon Bates graduated from in 1999. Also, 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 beginning in 2001-2002. Alton Mason is the lone senior on this year's Sun Devil squad. The spring signing period runs from April 11-May 15.

A VOTER: Rob Evans is one of the 31 head coaches on The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches which votes on the Coaches Top 25. The 31-member 2000-01 voting panel also includes Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Eddie Fogler (South Carolina), Bob Huggins (Cincinnat), Gene Keady (Purdue), Rick Majerus (Utah), Dave Odom (Wake Forest) and Oliver Purnell (Dayton).

ON MISSIONS: 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, left for his mission Aug. 30 to Trujillo, Peru. He returns July 30, 2002 and will have four years of eligibility.

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