ASU basketball struggling without solid play at the point

How long can the Arizona State basketball team wait for Jahii Carson?

Unfortunately, the Sun Devils have to cool their heels until the NCAA at some point rules on the eligibility of the four-star recruit from Mesa High School.

So perhaps the more relevant question should be: “How deep in the hole will ASU be by the time the exciting young point guard finally takes the reins and brings the season back into focus?”  Assuming, of course, that he is granted eligibility by the all-powerful overlord.

Herb Sendek‘s troops are 1-3, their worse start in 13 years, and have lost three games in a row.  The most recent came last night when they lost to Fairfield University, a Jesuit college in Connecticut, in a mind-numbing 55-44 loss in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic tournament in Florida.

The Sun Devils took almost seven minutes to score their first field goal and then went into the locker room at halftime with 19 points.  High school teams can’t win by scoring 19 points in a half.

Carson, who was ranked No. 10 nationally at his point-guard position as a prep senior,  was expected to have an immediate impact this year and hopefully provide a new engine for an offense that graduated 47 percent of its scoring from last season – when they won just 12 games and finished in the Pac-12 cellar.

But without him – or any good point guard – the wheels are just spinning on the Sendek express as it tries to get some offensive traction this season.

Trent Lockett, who averaged a team-high 13.4 points a game last season, is back again for his junior year.  He’s off to a decent start, leading this year’s squad with 17 points and eight rebounds an outing; he was the only scorer in double digits against Fairfield, collecting 15.

But the ability to hold on to the ball has plagued this year’s edition right from the git-go.  They average 19.5 turnovers a game and fumbled away a season-high 22 turnovers twice in four games.  They have almost twice as many turnovers (78) as assists (40).

Fairfield scored 23 of its first 41 points off of ASU turnovers.  How’s that for taking the Christmas spirit of gift-giving to new heights?

And tonight, the Devils take on Wake Forest in the consolation game.  The Demon Deacons got beat in their first game by Dayton, but scored 76 points in the loss.  ASU will obviously need more than 44 again this time.

Sendek tried a junior college transfer, a talented combo guard, at the point when it was apparent that Carson wasn’t going to be on the court for the first game (NCAA guidelines won’t even let him attend practice until he’s cleared).  But Chris Colvin‘s assist-to-turnover ratio thus far is a negative 15-to-18.

Sophomore Keala King has also tried his hand at the controls, sliding over from his off-guard spot to help, and so has junior guard Carrick Felix.  The results have been similar to the experiment with Colvin.

And that brings us back to the youngster from Mesa High, who is reportedly waiting for a junior college to release his grades from an online class he took last summer.  Or maybe it’s in the hands of the NCAA by now.

Either way, Sendek has to keep circling the wagons – and hope the calvary arrives soon.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)