Opinion: ASU is a basketball school now, and students should be there to see it

With the Territorial Cup and tournament play at stake, students need to make an appearance

At its peak, the ASU men's basketball team reached No. 3 in national rankings earlier this season. Two months later, they have just crept back in the last spot of the AP Top 25 after a pair of wins against USC and UCLA. 

Especially with the Territorial Cup on the line Thursday against No. 17 UA, students need to have strong presence to motivate our Sun Devils to victory.  

At the team’s peak, student attendance was at a record-breaking high for home games. In fact, attendance had increased so much that the wall blocking off the highest rows of Wells Fargo Arena has been removed to allow for more room. 

Approaching March tournament play, student support is needed more than ever as ASU has the potential to qualify for the first time since 2014.

With the most successful team ASU has had in years, attendance has reached new highs, and the members of the 942 Crew are constantly trying to find ways to motivate students as well as actively engage the crowd. 

Coming off the high expectations of becoming "a basketball school" for about two weeks, the 942 Crew executive board wants to continue the trend as the season goes on. 

Exercise and wellness senior Quinton Brown, better known as "Shirtless Q" or even "Mayo Boy," is one the 942 Crew's most well-recognized executive members and star of ASU's famous Curtain of Distraction

"Student interest has grown a lot this season because we're not only getting basketball fans, but also students that just want to be a part of the winning culture," Brown said. 

It has not always been as easy to garner interest, particularly for ASU's generally unsuccessful team. But now, with star players like Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II, the team puts on an impressive show for spectators.

"In the past, when our teams weren't as good, we struggled to capture the attention of the casual fan," Brown said. "Now, that isn't a problem. The (home) conference opener against (the University of) Oregon was by far the biggest student crowd we've had this year," he said. 

Brown said dropping in rankings has had an impact, but that "we're blowing attendance records out of the park." 

With only five games left in conference play, positive student support is crucial at this time in the season. The team will strive with a strong support system behind them. Player confidence goes hand in hand with team success. 

"We're just trying to help our team win a very important game," Brown said.

For students waiting for an opportunity to show support, this Thursday night is the perfect chance. A game against the team from down south will surely ignite Sun Devil pride.

"It is very important for students, as well as other fans, to get out to WFA, and support in these last month of the season to help our squad get red-hot right when it matters most: the Pac-12 and national tournament," Brown said. 

Reach the columnist at kcdoyle2@asu.edu or follow @kellydoyle06 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.