The Arizona State Sun Devils have turned their fortunes around in a hurry this college basketball season. Just last season, Herb Sendek‘s group finished just 10-21 and were bounced from the Pac 12 tournament in a 20-point drubbing at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal. This season, they’re sitting at a very strong 13-2 coming off a tough win against the Colorado Buffaloes and the turnaround can be traced to the team’s emotional leader, Carrick Felix.
The 6-foot-6 senior isn’t getting the bulk of the attention for the Sun Devil resurgence, as that goes to freshman phenom Jahii Carson who leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game. But it’s Felix, who is second in scoring and first in rebounds at 15.1 and 7.9 per game respectively, that has keyed this turnaround. In addition to being the emotional backbone of the team, he’s come through with high energy plays and big shots to carry ASU so far.
On top of the points and rebounds, Felix also leads the team in steals (1.7 per game) and three-point percentage (.392) while chipping in 1.5 blocks per game. He currently ranks No. 8 in the Pac 12 with a field goal percentage of .553, but the players ahead of him are mostly post players who take their shots from in close. Felix, on the other hand has been hitting from all over, exemplified by his 51 three point attempts already this season. The Pac 12 players ahead of him in field goal percentage have shot a combined 10.
His importance to the club was put on display in their last win over Colorado. On a night when Carson went cold, scoring just five points and zero with under six minutes to go in the second half, Felix stepped up his game, making explosive plays all over the floor. He finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds, giving the Devils a big win over the No. 5 RPI ranked Buffs.
Felix has brought energy to the ASU lineup and his electrifying dunks and hustle plays on the floor makes sure the energy level stays up for his teammates and the fans. Combine that with the play making ability of Carson and the inside present of Jordan Bachynski, and Arizona State has a team that can make some waves in Pac 12 play this season.
We will see how well Felix and the Sun Devils take their high-energy show on the road as they travel to Corvallis to face the Oregon State Beavers. A win on the road in conference will go a long way in legitimizing this fast start and announce to the rest of the conference that this team is for real.