Men's Hoops Opens Exhibition Season Thursday

Nov. 7, 2001

Thur., Nov. 8-vs. Kilsyth (Australia) (EX)--7 p.m.--Tempe (No TV or Radio)

Mon., Nov. 12-vs. EA SPORTS All-STARS (EX)--7 p.m.--Tempe (No TV or Radio)

Sat., Nov. 17-vs. Stephen F. Austin--11:30 a.m.--Tempe (XTRA 910 AM/No TV)

Tues., Nov. 20-vs. Portland State--7 p.m.--Tempe (XTRA 910 AM/No TV)

DEVILS TIP-OFF 2001-2002: The Arizona State men's basketball team (13-16, 5-13 in Pac-10 in 2001-2002), under fourth-year head coach Rob Evans, opens its regular season on Sat., Nov. 17, at 11:30 a.m. against Stephen F. Austin at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU returns 12 lettermen, although three of those lettermen did not play last year, and welcomes three newcomers this year.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITIONS: ASU will play two exhibitions (Nov. 8 and Nov. 12) before opening the season Nov. 17. ASU is 4-2 in exhibition games under Evans, including a 1-1 mark the past two seasons.

LAST YEAR: ASU tied for sixth place in the Pac-10 in 2000-2001 after being picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll. After starting the Pac-10 season 0-7, the Sun Devils went 5-6 after February 1, when center Chad Prewitt was back at full strength. ASU lost one player (senior Alton Mason) from last year's team. The Sun Devils played 15 games against NCAA Tournament teams and were 5-0 against non-conference NCAA teams, beating Conference USA champion Charlotte, Big South champion Winthrop, Moutain West Conference champion BYU, Mid-American champion Kent State and Mid-Continent champion Southern Utah.

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: A look at various preseason predictions for the Sun Devils:

6th in the Pac-10--Street & Smith's, Basketball News, Basketball America, The Sporting News, Lindy's

7th in the Pac-10--Pac-10 Media Poll, Athlon's

8th in the Pac-10--ESPN.com

PAC-10 MEDIA POLL: ASU was picked to finish seventh by the Pac-10 Media in a preseason poll, announced on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The results, with first-place votes in parentheses: 1. UCLA (24), 2. Stanford (1), 3. USC, 4. Arizona (2), 5. California, 6. Oregon, 7. Arizona State, 8. Oregon State, 9. Washington State, 10. Washington.

SHELL AND ALLEN REDSHIRTED: Two Sun Devils who played solid roles as freshman in 1999-2000 redshirted last season due to injuries. 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 missed the remainder of last 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. In 1999-2000, he had six double-figure scoring games and averaged seven points per game. His 9.1 points per game in Pac-10 play was third on the team. Also, sophomore Justin Allen redshirted after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in late September of 2000.

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 returns to the Sun Devils in 2001-2002. Crandall, a native of Mesa, Ariz., and a 6-3 swingman who prepped at Mountain View High School, averaged 5.9 points and 28.4 minutes per game in his initial season. He has three years of eligibility. Also, Dewy DeWitt, a walk-on from Show Low, Ariz., who redshirted in 1999-2000 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.

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (132-126/.512) finished 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 55-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 46-45 (.505) 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 88-61 (.591) in the past five seasons.

COACHES VS. CANCER: Rob Evans and ASU made a commitment to Coaches Vs. Cancer as everytime an ASU player hit a three, donations are 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 $21,000 in its three seasons under Evans.

REGARDING OPENING GAMES: ASU beat Mid-Continent Champion Southern Utah 94-72 on Nov. 17, 2000, to win its 11th straight home opener. Rob Evans is now 7-2 in season openers in his nine seasons (2-1 at ASU) as a head coach after falling to eventual NIT champion Tulsa last year 69-67 in the NABC Classic in Raleigh in the season lid-lifter. The last time ASU lost a home opener was on Dec. 5, 1989, when ASU fell to BYU 65-64. ASU has not been 2-0 since the 1997-98 season. The only two current Sun Devils to start the past two season lid-lifters are Chad Prewitt and Donnell Knight.

HE KEEPS GETTING BETTER: Tommy Smith, voted the Most Improved Player at the team's banquet last year, matched a Pac-10 record for field goal percentage by making all 11 shots against Washington on Feb. 10, 2001, and played well from mid-January through the end of last season. Smith, a 6-9 sophomore, averaged 12.5 points in the final 15 games and had a career-high 24 points vs. the Huskies and had 21 points and 12 boards at California on March 8. His 11-of-11 effort put him in the Pac-10 record book with Steve Johnson of OSU (13-of-13 vs. Hawaii-Hilo on Dec. 5, 1979), Marques Johnson of UCLA (11-of-11 vs. Cal on Feb. 27, 1976) and Bryan Bracey of Oregon (10-of-10 vs. UW on Jan. 20, 2000). Smith scored in double-digits in 12 of the final 15 games after posting double digits in just five games last season (just two Pac-10 games). In his final 10 games, Smith was 52-of-78 (.670) from the field and averaged 12.9 points.

AT THE LINE: Junior Shawn Redhage has established himself as one of the best free throw shooters in ASU history 61 games into his career. Redhage shot 80-of-98 (.816) this year, the fourth-best mark in the Pac-10, and is 139-of-169 (.822) in his career. A look at Redhage on ASU career FT list as he now stands first on the list:

CAREER FREE THROWS

Rk. Name (Year) FT-A Pct.

1. Shawn Redhage (1999-pres.) 139-169 .822

2. Alex Austin (1986-90) 255-313 .815

3. Rick Taylor (1974-78) 253-311 .814

4. Dennis Hamilton (1963-66) 261-321 .813

5. Isaac Burton (1993-95) 208-257 .809

6. Eddie House (1996-2000) 268-336 .789

DEVIL THREE-DOT DATA: ASU outrebounded Pac-10 foes by 5.4 boards per game and outrebounded 21 of its 29 opponents last year...ASU averaged 14.83 offensive rebounds, the best mark in the league last year. ASU led the Pac-10 in 1999-2000 at 15.78 per game...ASU had its flight cancelled from Seattle to Spokane in between the UW-WSU games...the last ASU opponent to score 100 points in Tempe was third-ranked Arizona on Feb. 27, 1988 (101-73). The current streak of an ASU opponent not scoring 100 points in Tempe stands at 221 games...ASU has not played an overtime game at home since the 1996-97 season. It has played11 overtime games away from Wells Fargo Arena since that time (eight on the road and three at neutral sites).

VS. UPCOMING OPPONENTS: ASU is 1-0 against Stephen F. Austin, as the Sun Devils beat the Lumberjacks from the Southland Conference 80-63 on Dec. 8, 1998, in Evans' first year as head coach. ASU is 3-0 against Big Sky member Portland State, last beating the Vikings 79-57 in the season opener on Nov. 20, 1999. Rob Evans is 2-0 against the Vikings, as his Ole Miss squad also beat PSU 56-54 on Nov. 23, 1996, in the season opener that season. Portland State is coached by former Arizona State assistant Joel Sobotka, who is also a 1993 Sun Devil graduate.

ROAD OPENERS: In its 23 Pac-10 seasons, ASU is 6-17 in its first Pac-10 road game. ASU has not won its first Pac-10 road game since it beat WSU 95-86 on Jan. 16, 1992, a streak of nine straight defeats. ASU has won Pac-10 road openers in 1992-93, 1987-88, 1984-85, 1980-81, 1979-80 and 1978-79.

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