The room was packed and the atmosphere tense as season ticket holders and media alike clung to his every word as Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson announced that he will remain a Sun Devil through at least his sophomore season at a press conference Monday night.
“I’ve just decided to continue my career as a Sun Devil,” Carson said. “it was really more my decision, I got positive feedback I was happy with everything I just thought it was the best thing for me to come back.”
The Mesa High product averaged 18.5 points, 5.1 assists, and 37.2 minutes per game on his way to earning Pac-12 Co-freshman of the year with UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad.
“I also looked at the guys who had been successful in college as well and took that into consideration when making my decision,” Carson said.
The announcement only adds to the roller coaster of Carson’s experience at ASU. Ranked 50th in the country by ESPN, Carson was forced to sit out his first year due to academic issues. He then burst onto the scene during the 2012-2013 campaign and now holds ASU freshmen records for points (647), field goals made (231) attempted (488), assists (177), total minutes (1,303) and 20-point games (18).
“It’s definitely good,” now graduate Carrick Felix said. “I told him he just needs to make the best decision for himself he definitely made hell of a choice by coming back.”
Carson averaged 22.5 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the month of March alone. A 34-point showing against Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament put him second all-time in single game points scored by a Sun Devil Freshman.
After the season, speculation only rose about Carson’s exit from Tempe when he requested a draft projection from the NBA undergraduate advisory committee on April 1st. Carson had until April 16th to decide whether or not to declare for the draft. Carson was asked if this press conference would have to become an annual process
“I really don’t know my future but I’m on track to graduate and that’s something my mom has always wanted me to do,” Carson said.
Carson returns to ASU despite the loss of teammates Carrick Felix, Ruslan Pateev, and backcourt mate Chris Colvin and a disappointing loss to Baylor in the second round of the NIT this past season.
“Ultimately it came down to what was in his heart more than what anybody else on the outside could say to him,” head coach Herb Sendek said. “I’m really excited about the possibilities.”