The 2005-06 Arizona State Men's Basketball Team
|0||Allen Morill||F||6-7||232||Sr.||3.0||2.3||Arlington, TX|
|1||Antwi Atuahene||G||6-4||209||So.||--||--||Mississauga, Ontario|
|4||Jeff Pendergraph||F||6-10||210||Fr.||--||--||Etiwanda, CA|
|12||Bryson Krueger||G||6-7||190||Jr.||6.7||2.3||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|13||Kevin Kruger||G||6-2||186||Jr.||11.0||3.4a||Marietta, GA|
|20||Robby Alridge||G||6-1||201||Jr.||0.8||0.8||Katy, TX|
|31||Bruno Claudino||F||6-8||220||Jr.||--||--||San Paulo, Brazil|
|30||Sylvester Seay||F-G||6-9||205||Fr.||--||--||San Bernardino, CA|
|32||Craig Austin||F||6-10||233||So.||1.0||0.8||San Diego, CA|
|33||Tyrone Jackson||G||6-2||193||Sr.||3.6||2.3||Fresno, CA|
|44||Chad Goldstein||F||6-9||241||RFr.||--||--||Scottsdale, AZ|
|45||Serge Angounou||F||6-8||230||Jr.||8.1||6.5||Albuquerque, NM|
(likely starters are in bold)
With a lot of new faces and little in the way of returning talent, the program faces an uphill battle entering the 2005-6 season. If Rob Evans is unable to get this team to perform beyond its abilities, this may well be his last season in the desert.
He sizes up his team as follows: “We have some new faces. It's going to be a different basketball team. It will be a little bit more diversified; a little bit more balanced. Hopefully, we'll be a better defensive basketball team. I think we'll push the ball a little bit more. Run a little bit more.”
Evans was known as a pressure defensive coach at Mississippi State, a coach who preferred to run rather than set up his offense in the half court. He will now be forced to go back to his roots because Ike Diogu has taken his Pac-10 Player of the Year award off to the NBA and the Golden State Warriors.
While this ASU team has some shooters and some athletic depth, it lacks a proven post scorer. The will also have to find a new identity as the Devils welcome five new faces to a roster that returns only one starter who scored in double figures. The Sun Devils hopes now rest on a pair of returning junior sharp-shooters in their backcourt.
Kevin Kruger and Bryson Krueger give ASU two proven perimeter jump shooters whose last names are as similar as their games. Kevin Kruger is a solid offensive player who combines a good basketball IQ (not surprising given his father Lon is the head coach at UNLV) with a decent handle and a nice release on his jumper. Although he was often asked to play as a “one” last season, he’s not a true point guard and doesn’t create well for himself or teammates. Not a defensive stalwart, Kevin is at his best coming off screens to drain long-range jumpers.
Bryson Krueger, at 6’7”, is a very good shooter from deep (44% from beyond the arc last season) and his height will give defenses problems. Like his backcourt mate, Bryson is not a threat off the dribble and will almost certainly see more hands in his face because defenses will no longer be collapsing to cover Ike Diogu in the paint.
There are two candidates at the point guard position. Tyrone Jackson is one of two Devil seniors; he is coming off an uninspiring first year after transferring to ASU from Fresno City College. Averaging a meager 3.6 ppg and 2.4 apg, Jackson did show that he could take care of the ball with an assist to turnover ratio of 2:1. He will have to improve to hold off a new JC import from Canada, Antwi Atuahene. Atuahene was a big time prep scorer who garnered a lot of high major recruiting interest but choose to go the JC route. Atuahene is more of a pure point guard and led the Devils in scoring during their first exhibition game.
While the backcourt is respectable, the frontcourt appears anemic. ASU’s best bet for scoring along the baseline comes in the form of junior Serge Angounou who never seemed to fully recover from the torn ACL he suffered as a freshman. Coach Evans believes he is healthy and poised to make an impact, "I thought as a freshman, when he had 15 points and 11 rebounds in our first exhibition, that he was better than Ike," Evans said.
" Then he tore his ACL and it's just now that he's starting to move better and jump better. He finally has the freedom to do the things he used to and he's ready for a breakout year. I think Serge will be one of the real surprises in the Pac-10 this season."
They also have a potential star in freshman wing, Sylvester Seay, a 6’9” prep phenom originally from Southern California who did a year back east at prep school in 2004-5. Sylvester choose the Devils after getting offers from Louisville and Cincinnati. Seay is ASU’s best athlete and, despite his height, prefers to play facing the basket. While the potential is clearly there, Seay is probably not ready for instant stardom in the Pac-10.
There isn’t much experience or bulk beyond Serge and Seay. A freshman and sophomore will likely get the first shot at replacing Diogu in the pivot: 6’9” Jeff Pendergraph who is currently recovering from a sprained knee, and 6’7” Craig Austin. Allen Morril returns for his senior year after seeing only spot duty during his first three seasons.
Rob Evans sizes up his front court this way: “We don't have anybody in the pivot area who can replace Ike Diogu. We hope, with the three guys we have in the position, we can collectively get the same amount of points and rebounds.”
The team will try to leverage their smaller lineup and shooting skills by playing more pressure defense while trying to run. Continuing, Evans says, “I think this team will be a very good defensive ball club. A little bit like the teams I had early on in my career at Mississippi.”
While ASU has been known to play strong defense at times under Evans leadership, up-tempo basketball requires either a stifling full court press or strong rebounding. While the former is possible, the latter is less likely. As Rob Evans looks to his past to find a way to salvage his career in Tempe, Sun Devils are likely to be looking to another coach for their future.
Predicted Finish: 10th Place
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