Carson, transfers work together in practice

Jahii Carson poses for his first photo shoot in a Sun Devil uniform. (Photography by Aaron Lavinsky, Assisted by Sam Rosenbaum)

If you take a look at the bench of the ASU men’s basketball team during home games, you’ll notice three players dressed up in slacks rather than sweats.

One of the most well-known of those players, would be redshirt freshman Jahii Carson, who was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA earlier this season.

Redshirt sophomore guard Bo Barnes and redshirt junior guard Evan Gordon are college transfers sitting out a year due to NCAA rules, but are just as eager to get playing time for the Sun Devils next season.

Barnes left the Hawaii basketball program after his freshman year and transferred to ASU. The Scottsdale native said he always wanted to play for the Sun Devils. He moved back home and jumped on ASU’s offer during the process.

“Before the season started, I thought it was going to go by quick,” Barnes said. “But actually, sitting out not being able to play has been really hard.”

Barnes was one of only two players at Hawaii to appear in all 32 games, averaging 23.3 minutes per game. He posted 6.9 points per game as well.

His forte is the 3-point shot. He was a 38.8 percent 3-point shooter with the Warriors and second on the team in 3-point field goals made. He had 57 3-pointers, more than any freshman in Hawaii history.

Barnes is using this year to work on other elements of his game, including his ability to play off the dribble.

“He can score in a different variety of ways, which I was shocked at,” Gordon said “I thought he was just a stand-still shooter, but he has a lot to his game.”

Gordon, younger brother of New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon, played two years at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. During his sophomore season, he averaged 12 points and just over four rebounds per contest.

He can play both guard positions, but with Carson in the mix next year, he said there’s no telling how much he’s going to play point guard.

“Evan is just a scorer from an old-school mode,” Carson said. “I call him an ‘old soul’ because he has so many moves. He’s kind of like a Baron Davis type of player.”

Gordon said he will bring defense and toughness to the team next season to complement his offensive skill set.

While the trio can’t show their talents on the Wells Fargo Arena court just yet, Carson, Gordon and Barnes have already connected in practice on the scout team.

Along with freshman forward Dave Whitmore and walk-on freshman guard Pierre Newton, they study the opponents and help prepare the starters for their matchup, incorporating the different tempos of their opponents.

“We’ve built sort of a camaraderie,” Gordon said.

Through this, Carson, Gordon and Barnes have begun to figure out where they’re most effective on the court.

At times, Gordon said the scout team beats the starters in practice.

“Those guys are guys who don’t care about who scores the basketball or who gets touches or who shoots the basketball,” Carson said about Gordon and Barnes. “They just want to win the basketball game. They know that when we get out in the open court, we’re dangerous.”

 

Reach the reporter at mtesfats@asu.edu

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