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The Arizona State men’s basketball team is in an interesting position. The roster is made up of talented players, but the future of Sun Devil basketball isn’t necessarily in Tempe yet.
There are three high school recruits who alter the complexion of the maroon and gold. Here’s a look at that trio.
G AJ Johnson, Class of 2023
This kid has the potential to be a perfect match with ASU coach Bobby Hurley. Johnson is 6 feet 5 and one of the more dynamic players at his level.
For example, there was a span of five straight possessions at the recently concluded Section 7 tournament at State Farm Stadium where Johnson looked unguardable. He tallied eight points, an assist, two dunks and two steals in that five-possession span.
Johnson is the kind of player who could probably sneak into the Arizona State rotation this season if he were on the roster. With the Sun Devils are in the mix for Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft High School product, it can’t be stated enough how big of a get he’d be for the future of the team.
If ASU basketball can snag Johnson and pair him with incoming freshman point guard Austin Nunez, the Sun Devils could have a dangerous backcourt for years to come.
ASU offered Johnson on Feb. 8, so the devils have a little bit of a head start in a recruiting race that’s bound to heat up over the next handful of months. However, Johnson is no longer a hidden gem in California.
Just a day after the Section 7 tournament concluded, Johnson announced that he had received an offer from Kansas. He’s also received offers from USC, Texas, Miami and several others.
Johnson is ranked as the No. 38 player in the nation by 247 Sports.
G Juni Mobley, Class of 2024
It’s well documented that Bishop Gorman produces some of the best collegiate athletes in the nation. Juni Mobley hopes to be the next great point guard to graduate from Bishop Gorman.
Unlike Johnson, Mobley is a much smaller guard at 6 feet. While Mobley has more time to develop his game than Johnson, it’s evident that he is still trying to figure out how to take over a game.
In Bishop Gorman’s game against Olympus at the Section 7 tournament, Mobley went missing in the scoring department. At times, it was clear that he felt more comfortable being a floor general than being a scorer.
There’s nothing wrong with that at the collegiate level. In fact, it’s probably encouraged. Nevertheless, at the high school level, a true guard should be able to deliver the right pass, while also feeling confident enough to go on a scoring run himself.
It’s worth noting that even though Mobley still has parts of his game that need improvement, Arizona State was the first D1 program to offer him. Since then, Mobley has received offers from Toledo, UNLV, St. Johns and Creighton.
Mobley is ranked as the No. 48 player (2024 class) in the nation by 247 Sports.
C Jazz Gardner, Class of 2023
Jazz Gardner is probably the most likely of the three players on this list to end up a Sun Devil, given the fact that he’s not as highly touted as the others. At a whopping 6 feet 10, Gardner boasts the size of an ideal collegiate center.
This past season, Gardner dominated his California competition by averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks a game. While Hurley’s teams over the years have been guard centric, there are few things that elevate a guard’s play more than an imposing big man.
Outside of USC and Kansas, the Sun Devils are one of the bigger schools to make a push for Gardner. However, if Gardner does decide to come to Tempe, he likely won’t see the floor right away given the number of big men already on ASU’s roster.
The Sun Devils have found ways to make their teams flow without a dominant man in the paint, but the addition of Gardner could take ASU basketball to the next level.
Gardner is ranked as the No. 83 player in the nation by 247 Sports.
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