The Arizona State Sun Devils are having a resurgent year, and the backcourt of Jahii Carson (above) and Evan Gordon deserves a lot of the credit. Carson is a redshirt freshman after sitting out last year while becoming academically eligible and Gordon is a Junior transfer from Liberty. Neither are tall in stature, but both are incredibly valuable to the success of Herb Sendeck’s team Their importance is even noticeable when they lose as they did last night to the visiting No. 7 Arizona Wildcats 71-54.
Carson is listed at a generous 5-10, 175 pounds and is as capable of getting to the rim as any guard in the country. He is quick, agile and has incredible ball control. He took on a focused defensive team and dropped 22 points, his third straight 20 point game in PAC-12 play, despite playing only 33 minutes because of foul trouble. He is proving to be the MVP of the Sun Devils and even his rivals see it. “He’s the heart of the team,” said Arizona forward Solomon Hill, who had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. “They’ve only got six or seven guys and it’s a big drop off when Jahii’s out of the game.” His scoring potential is incredible and if he can add a consistent three-point shot, as he is only shooting 28 percent through the season, he could be one of the more dynamic small guard scorers in the nation.
Last night Gordon showed he was capable of also putting up numbers against “the big boys”. After two years at Liberty and averaging 13 points per game, the 6-0 guard and brother of NBA player Eric Gordon is chipping an efficient 10 points a game on 38 percent from the floor. Against the Wildcats last night when his backcourt partner was slightly limited, Gordon turned in one of his best games on the season with 14 points on 11 shots. Gordon is the Robin” to Carson’s “Batman.” While Carson is the flashy big name, Gordon is all substance and no flash. Gordon is the better shooter and better decision maker and has proven to be the perfect compliment to his teammate.
Both of these players are performing very well for a 14-4 team and display plenty of potential for more development. If Carson can take his consistent free throw stroke back to the three-point line and Gordon becomes more aggressive, this backcourt could be a scary match up for anyone.