Tummala talks ASU pledge

Sai Tummala, a 6-7 215-pount forward from Salt Lake City Community College committed to the Arizona State basketball team Wednesday evening. Devils Digest caught up with the newest Sun Devil to discuss his decision.

Sai Tummala, who attended Phoenix's Brophy Prep walked-on to Michigan as a true freshman, and transferred to the Grizzlies the following season where he averaged 14.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg and was named an NJCAA All-American. The forward admitted that being close to home certainly played a significant factor in his commitment, but another important aspect was new ASU Assistant Coach Stan Johnson who had been pursuing Tummala for a while when he coached at Drake.

"I have a great relationship with Coach Johnson," Tummala explained. ‘He recruited me when he was at Drake and then recruited me when he came to Arizona State. I feel very comfortable with him, as well as Coach Sendek who has done a great job with the program. I grew up watching Arizona State and I feel that there is a lot of potential with the program.

"I really feel that this is a turning point with the program and I'm just trying to come in here and help."

His versatility and work ethic aren't the only virtues that were mentioned to him by the ASU coaches as his strong points, but also by his trainer, Tim Howard.

"I've never seen anyone work as hard as he does," Howard said. "It's second to none. I also train Jahii Carson and Sai obviously doesn't have his athleticism but is plenty athletic himself. Both of them played in the same AAU Club (Compton Magic) and that was another reason he wanted to go ASU. Who wouldn't want to play with Jahii?

"Sai can create his own shot, has deceiving quickness, very good three-point shooter and a very smart player. There is a lot to be excited about him."

Howard added that Tummala's decision came down to ASU and Nebraska and schools such as BYU, Santa Clara, Minnesota and Georgia were also among his serious suitors. Arizona and Texas started inquiring about him in the last couple of weeks.

Tummala didn't receive any high major offers out of high school and attended the University of Michigan as a preferred walk-on and redshirted that season.

"He took a chance going there but he learned a lot," Howard said. "He left there a better player and that showed at Salt Lake."

"Going there really gave me an opportunity to take my game to another level," Tummala agreed. "I practiced with a team that was Top 25 the whole year, they knew how to win and they had the right work ethic. I was also working a lot in the weight room getting my body ready to play at the highest level."

Tummala is a three for three player in terms of eligibility. He's scheduled to sign his scholarship paperwork with ASU this week and arrive next week in the Valley. The sophomore will attend summer school and participate in the team's strength and conditioning program.

Sai Tummala highlights


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