Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Tennis freshman Murphy Cassone thinks 'like a shark' on the court

Cassone, the No. 1 prospect out of Kansas, is an integral part of the Sun Devils' lineup in just his first year at ASU

220114 murphy cassone

ASU freshman Murphy Cassone serves the ball in a singles match against GCU at the Whiteman Tennis Center on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. ASU won 7-0.

If you look up "Shark Mindset" on Youtube, a motivational video with four million views and a ton of enthusiasm from motivational speaker Walter Bond pops up. When freshman Sun Devil tennis player Murphy Cassone needs some inspiration, he finds this video.

"If a shark stops swimming, it will die!" Bond says in the video. "If a shark goes backward, it will die! Think like a shark, act like a shark and behave like a shark!"

When Cassone is in a highly-contested match, you'll likely see some "Shark Mindset" come out of him, win or lose. 

"It pushes me," Cassone said. "Whenever I'm feeling down, I just think about the shark mindset and I just lock it in more mentally and forget about the bad things."

Cassone hails from Overland Park, Kansas, and has been playing tennis for as long as he can remember.

"My parents just put the racket in my hand while I was still in diapers," Cassone said. "It kinda went on from there, just continuous."

Growing up, Cassone was inspired from within, but also by his father. Cassone relied on internal motivation when it came to playing tennis until summer 2019 when he joined the Overland Park Racquet Club

"Before I went there I just competed very hard, it's the only thing I really did," Cassone said. "When I got there, my coaches and I developed an all-around game for me which made me a way better player than I was before."

His coaches at the club, Eric Rand and David Fox, not only helped Cassone on the tennis court but helped him navigate through life. 

"Eric took me under his wing," Cassone said. "I was living there pretty much on my own and I just saw how Eric runs the club from the business side. David was a really good people person, so traveling with him and seeing how he interacted with people helped me become a better person."

One of Cassone's greatest accomplishments was finishing as the top U.S. junior in his recruiting class going into college. 

"The Racquet Club really helped me with that," Cassone said. "Without them, I probably wouldn't be in that position in the first place."

Going into the college recruiting phase, lots of schools wanted Cassone besides ASU β€” USC, Ohio State University, University of North Carolina and more were all vying for Cassone's letter of intent. 

"I was kind of looking back at the recruiting process, and how the coaches responded to me because I cared about the coaches the most," Cassone said. "Coach Matt Hill constantly stayed in contact with me and visited me twice, so all the effort he put in drove me to the decision of coming to ASU."

Adjusting to Tempe wasn't hard for Cassone. The hardest part about it was learning to function in a team, something his doubles partner, transfer junior Jacob Bullard, helped him a lot with that. 

"He takes what he does very seriously and has a lot of pride in it," Bullard said. "Always good to have someone like that on and off the court. He brings a lot to the table with the maturity he shows in his role on the team."

Cassone has made his mark in his short time as a Sun Devil, to say the least. He started off the season unranked in singles and has climbed up all the way to No. 27 after nabbing two upsets against the former No. 1 and No. 9 players in the country.

"It's super impressive obviously," Hill said. "For a true freshman, the results he's having, we are super excited for him and his future going forward." 

Also, on the doubles side of things, Cassone and Bullard have started to heat up with two straight wins against Baylor and Texas Tech in the last week. 

"I was beating some very good tennis players before the season started, so I knew the level was there," Cassone said. "Honestly, it was just about doing the right things day in and day out, but the results came and I was honestly was a little surprised myself that they came so quick."

Cassone's goals at ASU are simple β€” become a better tennis player and win a national championship. 

"He has a lot of potential and a lot of room to grow still," Hill said. "It's exciting, he's definitely playing the best tennis he has ever played and a lot still to work on."

Reach the reporter at and follow @vdeangelis2024 on Twitter.

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

Vinny DeangelisSports Reporter

Vincent Deangelis is a full-time reporter for the sports department at The State Press. He has previously worked for Arizona PBS andΒ 

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.