Men's Hoops Heads to UW and WSU

Jan. 9, 2001

ASU ON THE ROAD IN PAC-10: The Arizona State men's basketball team (8-5, 0-2 in Pac-10), under third-year head coach Rob Evans, visits the Evergreen State to take on the Washington Huskies (Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. PT) and the Washington State Cougars (Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. PT) this weekend. The games will be carried on KFYI 550 AM in Phoenix, with Tim Healey (play-by-play) and Vic Cegles (color) calling the action. Fox Sports Arizona will broadcast the Washington State game on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MST with Tom Dillon (play-by-play) and John MacLeod (color) calling the action. Last year, ASU swept a road trip for the first time since 1996 and swept the Washington road trip for the first time since 1992 with a 81-69 overtime win at Washington State on Feb. 10 and then beat Washington 81-67 in Seattle on Feb. 12. Kyle Dodd hit the game-winning three-pointer with under 10 seconds to play in overtime to win the game in Pullman last year, and ASU completed the sweep by outscoring Washington 50-28 in the second half en route to its win over the Huskies after falling behind by 11 in the first half.

ROAD OPENERS: In its 22 Pac-10 seasons, ASU is 6-16 in its first Pac-10 road game. ASU has not won its first Pac-10 road game since it beat Washington State 95-86 on Jan. 16, 1992, a streak of eight straight defeats. ASU also won Pac-10 road openers in 1987-88, 1984-85, 1980-81, 1979-80 and 1978-79.

SHELL AND ALLEN OUT FOR SEASON: Two Sun Devils who played solid roles as freshman last year will redshirt this season. Tanner Shell, who averaged 9.1 points per game in Pac-10 games including a 24-point effort at USC, broke his left hand in practice in late December and will miss the remainder of the year. Shell had played in just the season opener due to a bulging disc in his back but was practicing for ASU's Holiday Tournament and was expected to return to the rotation. Shell had six double-figure scoring games and averaged seven points per game overall. His 9.1 points per game in Pac-10 play was third on the team. Also, sophomore Justin Allen is redshirting after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in late September. Allen's treatments have been going well and he is expected to return to the court next season.

QUICK NOTES: ASU has outrebounded its opponent in 11 of its 13 games...ASU is averaging 15.46 offensive rebounds and is outrebounding its opponents by 6.7 boards per contest. ASU led the Pac-10 in offensive boards last year at 15.78 per game...ASU has five players averaging in double figures, with junior Awvee Storey leading the way at 13.8 ppg....ASU has had five different players lead the team in scoring (Chad Prewitt, Storey, Tommy Smith, Alton Mason and Shawn Redhage)...Mason has 45 assists and 22 steals with just 15 turnovers...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). Including Storey, five Sun Devils have posted 20-point games, as Prewitt and Mason have two and sophomores Donnell Knight and Tommy Smith one each.

VS. WASHINGTON/WASHINGTON STATE: ASU leads the Washington series 29-18 and swept the Huskies last year for the first time since 1994-95...Rob Evans is 3-1 against Washington and Bob Bender...the Sun Devils have won four of the past five against the Huskies...ASU leads the WSU series 26-21 and has won six straight against the Cougars, the longest streak by either team in the series...Rob Evans is 4-0 against WSU and 2-0 against Paul Graham...ASU is 5-1 in six overtime games against the Cougars.

LAST WEEK'S REVIEW: ASU fell to No. 2 Stanford 94-77 to open the Pac-10 season, as No. 2 Stanford shot 16-of-27 (.593) from the field in the first half in jumping out to a 51-32 lead. Alton Mason had a career-high 30 points for ASU, but the Sun Devils shot just 12-of-31 (.387) from the field in the first half and were just 28-of-67 (.418) for the game. The 94 points given up by ASU was the eighth-highest by an Rob Evans' coached team in his 242 games as a head coach (1992-present). Against California on Saturday, the Sun Devils again fell behind early and lost 82-67 despite Mason's 25 points. California shot 58.3 percent from the field, the fifth-highest total given up by any Evans-coached team.

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (127-115/.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 41-34 (.547) 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 83-50 (.624) 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.

TRAVEL PLANS: ASU will depart for Seattle on America West at 2:27 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 10, and arrive in Seattle at 4:17 p.m. The Sun Devils will stay at the Hyatt in Bellevue (425-462-1234) until Friday, Jan. 12, when it will depart on Alaska at 1 p.m. and arrive in Spokane at 1:57 p.m. ASU will stay at the University Inn in Moscow (208-882-0550) until Sunday, Jan. 14. ASU will return to Phoenix on America West at 11:08 a.m. out of Spokane, which arrives at 2:43 p.m.

QUICKLY ABOUT LAST YEAR: The ASU 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, posted a Pac-10 road sweep for the first time since 1996 to begin the second half at WSU/UW 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). 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 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 (Cal, Washington St., Washington and Oregon St.).

REACHING DOUBLE FIGURES: ASU placed all five starters in double figures in the home opener against Southern Utah in a 94-72 win. It marked the first time all five starters notched double-digit points since an 87-66 win over Oregon State on Feb. 20, 1999. ASU also had five players reached double-digits in its 91-78 win over Charlotte on Dec. 30. Last season, ASU had five players reach double digits just twice (at American Puerto Rico and vs. Cal).

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. The defensive efforts were among the best by a Rob Evans-coached team. 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, six at Ole Miss and three at Arizona State.Rk. Pct. FG-A Opponent/Evans' Team Date1. .200 13-65 Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Ole Miss Nov. 24, 19972. .254 15-59 Brigham Young at Arizona State Dec. 2, 20003. .258 16-62 Alabama vs. Ole Miss Feb. 12, 19974. .271 16-59 Delaware State at Ole Miss Dec. 20, 19945. .273 15-55 Kent State at Arizona State Nov. 25, 2000OVERTIME: 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 OT games in one season, including ASU in 1980-81. Others were Delaware (1972-73), Cal St. 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.

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.

EARLY: ASU opened its 2000-2001 exhibition season on Nov. 1 and then opened its season on Nov. 10 in the NABC Classic against Tulsa, and yes those dates were very early. ASU had never had an exhibition game before Nov. 5 and had never played 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.

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.

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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