Zoom Call Recap: Josh Christopher Excited For Many Reasons
Arizona State Men's Basketball is nearing the beginning of their season and they will have their work cut out for them right off the bat as they take on the second-ranked Baylor Bears on November 25 in the annual Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Connecticut.
Reporters got a chance to sit down with true freshman and 2020 McDonald's All-American Josh Christopher on Monday, who looks forward to the challenge of playing some of the best teams in the country as the season begins.
"A lot of times schools get early preseason games and they might play a mid-major or a low-major to get started," Christopher said. "No, let's go ahead and see what we're made of off the rip, so I think that's gonna be real fun for us."
As Christopher comes to ASU, he gets an opportunity to play once again with his sophomore older brother, Caleb. Josh considers Caleb his best friend and considers it an honor to get to play with him for the Sun Devils.
Caleb wears jersey number three and Josh wears jersey number 13, just like they always have. Christopher said that this is significant because it represents his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 133, which talks about brothers dwelling together in unity. And here the two are playing together yet again.
The jersey number 13 is significant because it's the same number that NBA superstar and MVP James Harden wore while he was a guard at Arizona State. Christopher said that he had a conversation with Harden to ensure that it was alright for him to wear the jersey with a number that means a lot to him.
There has been some talk about how the Sun Devils having so many score-first guards and forwards such as Christopher, senior captain Remy Martin, senior Alonzo Verge Jr. and fellow freshman Marcus Bagley may be a problem, but Christopher considers it more of a problem for the teams they will go up against as opposing defenses will not be able to just lock down on one guy.
"It's a lot of talent on the team and like I said, all guys got to do is make the right play," Christopher said. "Hit the open man. If you're cooking, keep cooking. If you're not, hit the next man. That's all it is."
Freshmen players, Christopher and Marcus Bagley will likely play a large part in the Sun Devils' offense right away as they are the two most talented players from one of ASU's best freshman classes ever and arguably one of the best freshman duos in college basketball this year. There is a certain amount of pressure that comes with that, but Christopher welcomes it with open arms.
"I live for this kind of stuff," Christopher said. "If I was worried about pressure, I wouldn't have asked to wear number 13 because it was hanging in the rafters or something like that. This is why I'm here. This is exactly why I came here. The whole pressure stuff, that stuff's all fun to me. Pressure's been a part of me all my life, but pressure makes diamonds."
In a time of a pandemic when many of the games are not guaranteed, it's important that student-athletes stay positive and don't overthink things. We have already seen dozens of games cancelled in college football, but players need to try their best to worry about the things that are in their control and not on what is out of their hands.
"You've got to control what you can control," Christopher said. "As of right now, I know I'll be getting on a plane and going to Connecticut to play basketball. I don't know what could happen in these next couple days until then, but right now I'm just getting prepared to play ball. That's all I can do."
Christopher understands that not everything is in his control, but he believes greatly in the talent and the depth of this Sun Devils team and he thinks that they have the ability to accomplish great things together.
More than anything, Christopher is excited to be living with his older brother and having the opportunity to play basketball and compete at a high level with a talented squad that has no doubts about what they are capable of this year.
"I'm here to play basketball. I'm here to win games," Christopher said. "I'm here to wear my Sun Devil jersey, put on a show, win games and go win a championship."
ASU will tip off against Baylor at 7:30 p.m. MST next Wednesday, November 25 on ESPN to try and get their season started off on the right foot.