Adams to join Sun Devils this year

Former Avondale Westview star Andre Adams is returning to the state. The talented 6-foot-9 power forward/center committed to Arizona State Tuesday.

After spending a year in prep school at IMG Academy, former local standout Andre Adams has committed to joining Arizona State for the 2015-16 season.

Adams recently achieved a college entrance exam test score that should lead to NCAA Clearinghouse certification. He subsequently visited with new ASU coach Bobby Hurley on the school's campus Sunday, which led to his ultimate decision. It fills one of two remaining scholarship spots ASU had available for this year.

"I've had my eye set on ASU," Adams said. "I can't really explain it. It's going to be something great because I can play in front of my family and friends and everything. I think it's going to be wonderful to be able to play here.

"I had a great talk with coach Hurley and his assistant coaches and everything just felt right. Today was the day. Getting close to school and everything. I didn't want to wait it out any longer. I know it's a process of getting everything signed and done so today was the day."

A lanky 6-foot-9, Adams can play power forward or center. He was ranked among the Top-100 or so prospects in the country earlier in his high school career. He will give the Sun Devils an additional frontcourt option this season, if he's cleared to play and do so effectively at a high level.

After playing at Westview High in Avondale as a member of the 2014 class, Adams needed a prep year to try to become eligible and reclassified to 2015 at IMG. But he didn't play at the school, suffering an ACL injury that required surgery on Jan. 8. Adams still hasn't been cleared but believes he's making good progress and could potentially play this season.

"I just expect to come back strong and not really rush into it," Adams said. "Me and coach Hurley have talked about it. I'm going to work the way I did before. I'm not going to let the injury define me. I feel way better than I did before and just play by game. I can't really pinpoint [how long it will be] because I don't know how far my knee is to where it needs to be, just having not been through this before. I was running at IMG before I left and doing some things on the court, but I don't know how the rest of the process is exactly. So it comes down to the trainers and everything. I know when I left IMG I as doing pretty well. If they say weeks or months, that's just what it's going to be."

Going through the experience not only allowed Adams to focus on academics and achieve the necessary sliding scale score to project as a qualifier, but gave him a new perspective on the game.

"I feel like the injury made me see a different side of basketball because I wasn't playing all the time," Adams said. "I got to see a coach's point of view. It helped me become a better player and person. I don't feel the injury will not take anything away from me. I'll still crash the boards hard and play the same way. I feel 110 percent confident in myself and think this will just be something that helped me and make me a better overall player in the long run."

After it became clear he was likely to be certified by the Clearinghouse, Adams said a lot of colleges reached out. But Hurley won him over relatively quickly. He had been recruited by the previous ASU staff and always had interest in the program, so the personal connection to the coach was crucial.

"It was the way he carried himself," Adams said of Hurley. "I know he's a really good guy, the success he's had at all levels. I know he's a coach that wants to help the players. He tore his ACL too so he can really connect with me and all the players. He knows the game, he knows how his players feel, so I think that's a big step right there. That way we all can communicate well. The way he carried himself, I actually really loved it."

Getting academically cleared and getting closer to completing rehab, Adams said a shift has taken place in his thinking and he believes it's set him on a great course for his future.

"It's so hard to put in words," he said. "It's something I thought about a lot but for it to actually happen is amazing. I've worked on [getting qualified] a long time, it's years in the making. I put in the time and felt like I knew what I wanted and everything started to come together."

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