Keala King dismissal is latest hit to ASU basketball hopes

Right now, the Arizona State basketball team is like a rowboat struggling to get to the other side of the lake while springing one leak after another.

But Herb Sendek‘s ‘boat’ isn’t taking in water.  Just the opposite.  It’s being drained of something… scoring.

The dismissal of Keala King, the sophomore guard who had taken over the point and was tied with Trent Lockett as the team’s scoring leader, is just the latest talent drain.

The No. 26 prospect in the country when coming out of Mater Dei High School in California, King was suspended, along with two other starters, for the last two games in California due to what was termed “unacceptable behavior” and then dismissed when the team returned to campus.

King was playing the point because incoming four-star recruit, Jahii Carson, was ruled ineligible to play this season.  Carson, the point guard at Mesa High School last year, was the No. 10-rated player nationally at his position.

Carson was expected to provide not only experience at the point-guard position, but also contribute to the scoreboard.  He averaged 32 points a game in his senior season at Mesa High.

And let’s not forget about the departure of Corey Hawkins, who decided last May to leave the ASU program after just one season.  The son of NBA great, Hersey Hawkins, Corey got into 24 games as a freshman, but averaged just over eight minutes and two points a game.

But his upside going forward was promising.  Hawkins set state records for career and season scoring at Estrella Foothills High School, averaged 36 points a game, and once scored 56 points in a single game.

That’s three scorers who aren’t on the floor this season.  One left on his own, one was benched by the NCAA, and the other was shown the door.  But the end result is still the same… a drain to the offense in a season that needs all the help it can get.

Whatever scoring output the trio could have provided would have been much appreciated since the Sun Devils are having difficulty piling up points.  The result is a 5-10 overall record and a 1-2 start to the Pac-12 schedule.

The Devils’ high score this season was 78 points, which came in the first game of the season against Montana State, an FCS team that plays in the Big Sky Conference with Northern Arizona.  They have just one other game when they’ve scored more than 70 points and are averaging just 65 a game.

Sendek, in his sixth year as the Sun Devils head coach, was hoping to stabilize a listing program that went 12-19 last year after three consecutive 20-win seasons.

That team finished in last place in the Pac-12 Conference.  Sendek is going to have to figure out a way to put more points on the board, or this team may also be destined for the cellar at season’s end.

Maybe the first step would be to find a way to stabilize the roster.

(Photo: ASU State Press)