April 9th, 2015 was the day the Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball team turned in the right direction. Athletic director Ray Anderson hired a name that was very popular around college basketball in Bobby Hurley.
Here is a little back story on the former star point guard for Mike Krzyzewki’s Duke Blue Devils in the early 1990’s. He helped lead Duke to back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors in 1992. He still is the all-time leader in assists in college basketball history with 1,076 for his career. He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings seventh overall in 1993. During the 1993 season, Bobby was involved in a very serious car accident that caused life threatening injuries. He would regain his strength and would return to the NBA in 1994 and play five more seasons between the Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies.
After years as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, he joined his brother Dan Hurley at Wagner as an assistant coach. In 2012, both Bobby and Dan would take coaching jobs at Rhode Island where his brother is currently the head coach. 2013 saw Bobby get named head coach for the first time in his career as he was hired by Buffalo University. He went 42-20 in his two years at Buffalo, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 after winning the MAC Tournament.
After Hurley was hired in 2015, we saw the Sun Devils go 15-17 and 15-18 during his first two years. That didn’t really seem to matter as Hurley was still getting the top recruits to come to Tempe and play for the Sun Devils. His passion, fire, and love for the game was something he could bring to the recruiting table. He was able to get Shannon Evans to transfer from Buffalo to Arizona State, which helped the team in many ways.
This season the Sun Devils started out 12-0 and were even ranked as high as third in the college basketball polls. They had victories over Kansas State, Xavier, and Kansas. The motto for the team was “Guard U” led by seniors Evans, Kodi Justice, and “Wooden Watch” candidate Tra Holder. The guard play and the tenacity brought by Hurley was a major reason why the Sun Devils started the season on fire! After struggling in conference play and getting ousted in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, the odds were slim for Arizona State to make the NCAA tournament.
Selection Sunday came and Arizona State was selected as an at-large bid to play in one of the four play-in games against Syracuse on Wednesday night in Dayton. If they are able to get by the Orangemen, they would play TCU in the Round of 64 on Friday. The Sun Devil basketball program is moving in the right direction and has the right man at the helm to make this happen. The passion, fire, and love for the game is something that is hard to find in a good college coach. ASU has that with Bobby Hurley and moving forward the Sun Devil basketball program will reach newer heights and possibly bring a national championship to Tempe.