Thanks to its incredible backcourt, Arizona State’s dream season is for real

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Arizona State is off to an unbelievable start, one that even the most diehard Sun Devils fans couldn’t have dreamed up unless they had an Xbox controller in their hands.

ASU is 12-0 for the first time ever and ranked No. 3 in the nation, a dizzying height it’s reached only once before, in the final AP poll in 1981, back when Byron Scott and Fat Lever were throwing up the pitch forks.

The Sun Devils’ start has been like a video game season–complete with way-over-their-heads wins over Xavier in Las Vegas (102-86) and Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse (95-85).

Arizona State manhandled the Jayhawks, outscoring them 93-71 after an early 14-2 KU lead. Tra Holder, the second-best Tra(e) in college basketball (not an insult), went for 29 points in that one, announcing his arrival as a first-team All-American candidate on the national stage.

This team has been carried by its electric guards, which shouldn’t be a surprise under head coach Bobby Hurley, who was once the nation’s top point guard at Duke. They’ve got warmups that say “Guard U,” which was laughable coming into this season, but looks genius now.

Holder leads the ‘Devils in scoring (21.3 ppg) and assists (4.8 per), and is racking up a team-high 1.8 steals per.

Shannon Evans II (17.8 ppg, 4.7 apg) and Remy Martin (10.8 ppg), who went for 21 in Allen Fieldhouse, round out the nation’s deepest backcourt.

This team is explosive, plays up-tempo, and cashes in, averaging 1.2 points per possession, which ranks sixth in the country (math).

The Sun Devils will get another test on Saturday when they clash with hated rival Arizona, which has the talent of a top-five team and still may end up there by the end of the season.

Win that game, and it’ll only add to what would be the nation’s most impressive resume.

Arizona State hasn’t been this dangerous since James Harden was rocking Sparky on his game shorts, and even then, the Sun Devils were just a six-seed, sent home by Syracuse in the NCAA second round.

If Byron Scott, Fat Lever and James Harden didn’t make Arizona State ‘Guard U,’ this group of plucky, talented-yet-overlooked free-wheelers and their resourceful head coach, certainly have, if only for one year.

This unprecedented success might have come out of nowhere, like a basketball-themed mirage in the Tempe desert.

But this dream season isn’t merely a pleasant illusion.

These Sun Devils are for real.


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