Sun Devil Rising
Jahii Carson may be undersized, but he brings big-time expectations to ASU.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
One look at Jahii Carson’s game and it’s easy to see why Arizona State basketball fans are excited.
The incoming freshman from Mesa, Arizona has been blessed with incredible handles, a silky smooth jump shot, and trampoline-esque bounce that is sure to turn heads in the Pac-12 this winter. The 5’11” point guard will bring excitement and energy to a Sun Devil program that is back on the right track after decades of mediocrity following the Hedake Smith point shaving scandal of the early ’90s that crippled the program.
With the Arizona Wildcats returning to prominence following last year’s tremendous March run, it would make perfect sense for a blue chip point guard from AZ to attend one of the most storied programs in the country. But Jahii Carson is determined to blaze his own path. Above all, Carson is ready to bring some fire to the desert and get the fans in Tempe hype about more than their emerging football program.
“I like to dunk,” said Carson in a recent interview with azcentral.com. “I like to get up and down the court. It’s what people want to see, especially with me being the hometown guy. It’s going to be great.” For a program that has been stuck in the cellar of the Pac-12 for much of the last decade, and a fan base that doesn’t exactly flock to Wells Fargo Arena, Jahii Carson is the type of recruit Coach Herb Sendek needs to generate a buzz on campus.
Carson will most likely be running the point from day one after polishing his game this summer with the U-19 USA Team, and his athleticism and talent alone will change the momentum and outcome of many games. With his explosive first step and fearless attacking scoring style, Carson will have Sun Devil fans on their feet and leave many of his Pac-12 foes on posters.
For a team that hasn’t made it past the second round of the NCAA tournament since 1975, Carson is certainly setting the bar high for himself and his new teammates. “They have some really good guys over there now. And with someone who can make plays, I feel like we can be a contender for a national championship in a couple of years.”
Perhaps Carson is being a bit whimsical, considering he hasn’t even stepped on the court yet, but for a program that needs a leader and swagger, this type of thinking and charisma is a refreshing jolt of energy for a team that could make some noise out West next year. If coach Sendek loosens the reigns and lets Jahii run wild, the Sun Devils may surprise a lot of teams this year and sneak their way to the top half of the Pac-12. The West will be stacked at the guard position this season, and Carson, along with transfer Chris Colvin, will form a potent backcourt for the Sun Devils as they promise to excite and compete in an always combative Pac-12 Conference.