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The Sun Devil basketball team is expected to return four of the team’s five starters from the 2021-22 season. A group of experienced vets paired with an incoming freshman guard could have this ASU basketball team trending upward.
This projected lineup doesn’t consider the possibility of incoming or outgoing transfers.
While ASU loses graduate student Kimani Lawrence and senior Marreon Jackson, replacements could be serviceable given the offseason. Despite ASU’s recent loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament, Sun Devil fans can be hopeful.
Incoming freshman guard Austin Nunez projects to play heavy minutes for the Sun Devils. As a rather undersized guard, Nunez is more suited to play point guard for ASU.
If Nunez does in fact find himself in the starting lineup, sophomore guard DJ Horne would likely slide to the shooting guard position. This past season, Horne showed glimpses of a dynamic scorer.
Horne led ASU in points per game (12.5), but he failed to be a real facilitator at the point guard position.
At the 3-spot is really where the ASU starting lineup might get interesting. Everything at the small forward spot is dependent on the future of sophomore forward Marcus Bagley.
Bagley dealt with an injury for the majority of this past season, but when healthy, Bagley is arguably the best player in an ASU uniform. He’s considered a potential NBA Draft pick in the coming years.
If Bagley decides to transfer out of the Sun Devil basketball program, then coach Bobby Hurley may opt for a smaller lineup with sophomore guard Jay Heath at the 3-spot.
Even so, a lot also rides on Nunez’s ability and whether he’s ready to play heavy minutes for the Sun Devils. If Nunez needs some time to develop, then there’s a real scenario where Horne continues to play the point guard spot, while Heath stays at the shooting guard position.
Redshirt junior guard Luther Muhammad and freshman guard Jamiya Neal are likely role players coming off the bench for ASU.
Junior forward Jalen Graham makes the most sense at the 4. Graham grew to be one of the Sun Devils’ best players this past season. He turned into a real scorer for the Sun Devils late in the year, so much so that he finished the season averaging just under 10 points a game.
His role on the team will likely grow from a leadership perspective given the departure of Lawrence.
The man rounding out the projected starting lineup for ASU next season is junior forward Alonzo Gaffney. Gaffney played a pivotal defensive role for the Sun Devils during the 2021-22 season.
The big man averaged 1.3 blocks a game. Not to mention, Gaffney had one game this past season with a staggering five blocks.
ASU projected 2022-23 lineup :
- G: Austin Nunez (incoming freshman)
- G: DJ Horne (rising junior)
- F: Marcus Bagley (rising junior)
- F: Jalen Graham (rising senior)
- C: Alonzo Gaffney (rising senior)