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Establishing role players will be key for Arizona State this season

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Jahii Carson isn’t a secret by any stretch of the imagination.

Arizona State’s redshirt sophomore put on a show in the Sun Devils’ win over UNLV earlier this season, and followed that up with 23 points in last night’s win over No. 25 Marquette.

There’s a reason that he is No. 2 in our current Player of the Year Power Rankings, and it has a lot to do with those two performances and his season averages of 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He’s also upped his three-point shooting to 56.0% from 32.0% as a freshman.

But that’s not the only thing that makes Carson good, according to Marquette head coach Buzz Williams.

“His physical gifts are obvious, but I think he makes his teammates better,” Williams said, according to’s Doug Haller. “He gives the ball to (sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling) where he can catch and shoot. He gives the ball to (senior center Jordan Bachynski) where he can turn over his right shoulder. I think he understands what (senior guard Jermaine Marshall) is. I think he understands what (senior wing Shaquielle McKissic) and (freshman wing Egor Koulechov) are. That’s what you want in a lead guard. He’s talented, but does he make his teammates better? I think he definitely does.”

The key for Arizona State this season is to establish role players. Carson’s great and Bachynski and Marshall are good secondary options. But the emergence of guys like Gilling, McKissic and Koulechov will be the difference between Arizona State competing and Arizona State winning games.

So if Carson is the kind of point guard that makes the rest of the guys around him better, that’s certainly good news for head coach Herb Sendek.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.