Senior wing Carrick Felix and redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson were asked about their lengthy playing time after ASU’s 78-60 win over UCLA Saturday.
“It’s not a problem for me,” Carson said. “Who doesn’t want to play the whole game?”
“Young legs,” Felix quickly responded to Carson’s comment. “I’m getting old.”
With ASU’s lack of depth, four of its five starters, Carson, Felix, junior guard Evan Gordon and sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling average 31 minutes per game or more this season. The players are trying to make sure they stay fresh and take care of their young bodies every week.
Redshirt freshman point guard Jahii Carson walked into the Weatherup Center barefoot, preparing to talk to the media.
He just hopped out of the ice tub, where his legs soaked in the frigid water to help recuperate them from all the minutes he played last week.
“Now my shins are starting to kill me,” Carson said. “It takes a toll on my shins, but it’s cool.”
The playing time doesn’t faze Carson, who’s averaging 36.5 minutes a game this season. He’s playing 39 minutes a game in Pac-12 play and logged 81 minutes against USC and UCLA last week.
“As a kid, I just loved to be out there,” Carson said. “It gives me more opportunities, more possessions to make things happen. As long as coach Herb (Sendek) doesn’t see a problem with it, I don’t see a problem with it.”
Carson said Sendek has done a good job recognizing when he feels fatigued, even better than Carson.
Carson doesn’t think he’s tired at certain times, but Sendek will know he if there’s a missed defensive assignment or a bad shot taken.
“When you play the whole game, that means the coach wants you on the floor,” Carson said. “I just take that as a compliment and just continue to try and make him let me be on the floor. If my minutes decrease, that means he’s not starting to be as comfortable with me on the court.”
Carson said the practices have lightened up since the start of the season. The focus has been more mental than physical and emphasizing on skill and development work.
“As the year goes by, we try to keep guys fresh as possible,” Sendek said. “College basketball is a long season. It’s not just physically, but it’s also a mental challenge to stay in the moment and stay fresh. These guys are taking full academic loads as well.”
While Felix doesn’t have Carson’s “young legs,” he said he worked throughout the offseason to prepare himself physically.
“If I play two minutes, three minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, I’m going to go out there and give it all I got,” Felix said.
The team reinstated senior guard Chris Colvin after its win over UCLA. He will play Thursday against Washington State. Colvin missed three games due to violating team rules.
“His leadership and the type of player he is, he knows that we need him,” Felix said. “We’re glad he’s back.”
It’ll give the team much-needed depth at the guard position and take off some of the load from Carson and Gordon.
“Now it’s time for me to unleash a little more again and be more aggressive on defense and offense,” Carson said about Colvin’s return.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org