“Right from when I wake up, sitting around, waiting patiently for my moment to arrive, its just gonna be like an ultimate rush.” That is how Jahii Carson described the feelings he’s going to have walking out of the tunnel and onto the court in a Sun Devil uniform on November 10thwhen ASU faces off against Florida A&M in the season opener at Wells Fargo Arena.
It has been a long journey for both Carson to play and Sun Devil fans to finally watch the highly touted recruit in a Sun Devil uniform. “I just want to get out there and play my game” said Carson,” I expect greatness for myself as well but I really don’t put that in front of my team, I just want us to be a winning team and a competitive team in the Pac-12.”
For those locally who saw Carson play high school basketball at Mesa High, the wait is even more agonizing. Carson is the very definition of a prep basketball legend averaging 32.2 points per game his senior year including a 58 point losing effort against Brophy in the semi finals of the state tournament in 2011. The question now becomes, can Carson adapt his game to the college level?
Listed at 5 feet 10 inches on the official ASU roster, Carson’s height seems to be a potential problem. Division 1 guards aren’t huge but some are certainly bigger than Carson. What Carson lacks for in height he makes up for in vertical leap and overall speed and he is ready and willing to change,
“In high school I just had one speed and that was go fast; in college I think changing my speeds will be something that will help me get to the basket a little easier and having a mid-range jump shot will help keep the defense balanced, and having a nice little 3 ball will help keep the defense honest.”
ASU big man Jordan Bachynski thinks Carson knows what he’s doing, “With his style of play I really think he’s going to have an impact immediately, he worked hard in the offseason, last year he played with us in practice, so he’s got kind of a feel for the college game already.”
It will be difficult to gauge if Carson’s impact will be truly immediate or not. A weak out-of-conference schedule for ASU provides that Carson won’t get any true measuring stick until perhaps the beginning of Pac-12 play at the beginning of January. With UCLA and Arizona having two of the top five recruiting classes in the country this year, Carson certainly has his work cut out for him.
Carson did average 6.6 assists to go along with his 32.2 points a game so he passes the ball well, but is it enough? He says he models his game after Ty Lawson, but if he scores the ball with the handles and dunking ability he has, the inclination is to think of Carson more like a Russell Westbrook. The principle of give and take applies more in basketball than any other sport. The run and gun style the Sun Devils are implementing this year lends itself to more open floor space and therefore even more potential assists for Carson. If he is willing to spread the ball out even more he will get his points, and averaging 18 points and 8 assists if not more a game is not out of the question. It’s no secret he will have an impact for the Sun Devils, but how much and how soon remains to be seen.