With Jahii Carson turning pro and both Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall out of eligibility, Arizona State will be a much different team in 2014-15. But head coach Herb Sendek received some good news Friday, as it was announced by the program that senior guard Shaquielle McKissic was granted an extra season of eligibility by the NCAA.
As a result of that news McKissic becomes Sendek’s most productive returnee, as he averaged 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in his first season as a Sun Devil. Joining McKissic as returnees from the rotation that led Arizona State to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009 are guard Bo Barnes and forward Jonathan Gilling.
McKissic was originally ruled to be a senior by the NCAA as a result of his eligibility “clock” starting in 2009, but Friday’s ruling is a step in the right direction for a young man who has certainly taken “the road less traveled” to Division I college basketball.
Arizona State adds five newcomers this offseason (there may be a couple more), including junior college guard Gerry Blakes and freshman power forward Connor MacDougall.
My man Rob Dauster laid out the case for Arizona State as a potential Top 25 team earlier this month, while stopping just short of actually assigning them one of the coveted preseason numbers. It’s a reasonable precaution – we’ve seen Herb Sendek do more with less and less with more and we’re all waiting to see what the punchline will be.
Looking at the team on paper, the case is strong. They have a lightning-quick, creative point guard in Jahii Carson, and a bulky, defensive-minded center in Jordan Bachynski. Around the inside-out duo is a collection of talent that can wreak havoc if harnessed properly.
One player who doesn’t get mentioned as often is freshman Shaquielle McKissic. He’s inarguably skilled, but he’s also raw. Evidence of how he’d play on hardwood was required in order to lend credence to his paper credentials.
Now Sun Devils fans have the evidence they covet. McKissic threw down 33 points in a scrimmage observed by 3,000 fans and media members, and his coach had good things to say about what he saw.
If McKissic delivers on his early promise, and Carson and Sendek can weld Arizona State’s individuals into a high-functioning team, That “Also Receiving Votes” spot may be just a pit stop on the way to a Top 25 ranking.