2003 Pac-10 Preview: ASU

Over the next week and a half, I will be unveiling my in-depth 2003 Pac-10 basketall preview. It will go from furthest south to furthest north with Arizona being last. Today, ASU is profiled. With this being a Wildcat site, beware, the Sun Devils might have their best team since 1995.

Arizona State Sun Devils (Tempe, AZ)
2001-02 record:
14-15 (7-11, Pac-10)
Lost, first round NIT
Returning starters:

Projected Lineup: (*=returning starter; Incoming recruits in Bold)
PG-Jason Braxton*, 6-2, 180 So. (6.1 ppg; Very athletic but poor shooter)
SG-Curtis Millage*, 6-2, 175 Sr. (13.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg; Good defender and outside shooter)
G/F-Kenny Crandall, 6-3, 195 Jr. (6.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg; Too small but good shooter)
F-Tommy Smith*, 6-10, 220 Sr. (11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Athletic but foul prone. Big upside)
F/C-Ike Diogu, 6-9, 240 Fr. (Top 50 prospect from Garland, Texas)

Kyle Dodd, 6-0, 175 Sr. PG (3.2 ppg, 2.3 apg; Deceptively athletic but second-tier talent)
Shawn Redhage, 6-7, 225 Sr. SF (5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg; Nice mid-range game, little else)
Jamal Hill, 6-6, 200 Jr. SF (23 ppg, 48% FGs, 39% 3s as No. 7 JC small forward)
Serge Angoungou, 6-7, 225 Fr. F (Top 150 prospect from Albuquerque, NM)
Allen Morill, 6-6, 220 Fr. SF (Athletic shooter from Arlington, Texas)

Chris Osborne, 6-9, 245 Sr. PF (2.1 ppg; Elbow injury kept him out part of '02 season)

Recruiting Class grade: B+
--The late addition of Jamal Hill from San Jose City College was a big lift to Rob Evans and his staff. Expect Hill or Angoungou to replace Crandall at the small forward spot by the start of conference play.
Gem of the Class:
Ike Diogu, F/C
--Big time talent from Texas will provide much needed physical presence down low for the Sun Devils now that Chad Prewitt has graduated.

*ASU begins its season in on the islands in the Maui Invitational tournament. Also included in the field are Kentucky, Gonzaga, Indiana, Utah, Virginia, Massachusetts and host Chaminade.
*Evans is now 146-141 (.509) in his tenure as the Sun Devil head coach.
*ASU has been to seven NITs since 1990, going 2-7 in those games.
*Since 1990, 49 of the 50 Pac-10 teams that finished with at least 11 conference victories have received berths in the NCAA Tournament. The lone exception? ASU's 1992-93 team that finished tied for third in the league.
*Jamal Hill was a prep teammate of former Kansas All-American Drew Gooden at El Cerrito High in southern California.

2003 Expectations:
--Even with the loss of team MVP Chad Prewitt, ASU will be an improved team thanks to its backcourt tandem of Braxton and Millage and a very good recruiting haul. A top five conference finish is very likely but don't be surprised if the Sun Devils finish as high as third. If they play well early in Maui, it could give the Sun Devils confidence that lasts throughout the season.

Pac-10 Projection: Fifth,
Postseason chances:
NCAA bubble

**{Tomorrow, part two will profile the USC Trojans. Here's the rest of the schedule release dates for each Pac-10 team}:
Tuesday, 6/25-ASU
Wednesday, 6/26-USC
Thursday, 6/27-UCLA
Friday, 6/28-Stanford
Saturday, 6/29-Cal
Sunday, 6/30-Oregon State
Monday, 7/1-Oregon
Tuesday, 7/2-Washington
Wednesday, 7/3-Washington State (almost not worth profiling, to be honest)
Thursday, 7/4-ARIZONA}

Ben Hansen can be reached via e-mail at AZPointGuardU@yahoo.com.

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