Originally written on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 11/15/14
At the beginning of the season, this was looking like a crossroads year for coach Herb Sendek in the desert. His mark at ASU sat around .500 with only one NCAA appearance and a 22-40 record in the last two seasons.  Arizona State has taken advantage of a relatively easy schedule and used an impressive 83-68 victory over Arkansas to hoist themselves into conversations about their potential to compete steadily in the Pac-12 plus the possibilities of NCAA play in March. The Sun Devils, in improving to 9-3, have used a defense that has locked those opponents down to 39% along with steady inside-outside play of Jahii Carson and Carrick Felix to put themselves in position to compete right away. Carson, a freshman, leads ASU in scoring and is the fourth highest scoring freshman in the nation at 17.9 ppg.  In his 30-point effort against Creighton, he became only the fourth Arizona State freshman to eclipse 30 points and, upon further review, has played a role either by basket or by assist in 41% of the Sun Devils’ scoring. Sendek has noted that Carson’s on-the-ball defense has improved since the beginning of a season as he is maturing physically and going through the growth process.  Carson seems to have picked up the nuances of the college game quickly.  He has even grown into a leadership role in helping transfer Evan Gordon transition from playing at Liberty to a major college program at Arizona State. “He doesn’t care if he scores 20 points or seven points,” explained Carson, “But he definitely has a presence on defense, which helps us out. He takes pressure off of me when I’m on the ball, as well as Carrix Felix on the wings on the star players he normally guards.” In addition, Felix, a senior, has been a major influence on the team with his 57.9% field goal percentage and 15.1 ppg. and 7.5 apg.  Jordan Bachynski, beside him in the post, has turned it up on both ends as he recorded the first triple-double in Arizona State history with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocks in a win over Cal State-Northridge. Sendek acknowledges that Felix brings lots of energy and effort to the floor and the other players seem to feed off of it as they did in Saturday’s 61-42 win over Dartmouth. “ He comes down with a double-double; 14 rebounds, five blocks, four steals,” said Sendek of Felix, “He’s a stat sheet stuffer. I was really pleased with the way he played.” Felix understands his role and invariably doesn’t step out of it.  He plays with discipline both inside and out and he does a good job in a leadership role that has allowed him to thrive so far. “I always come through in the clutch time,” said Felix, “By me putting in the work during the summer and my teammates giving me confidence and courage to play my game. I have Jahii Carson, Even Gordon, and Jordan Bachynski always in my ear with this great energy just knowing that, I just go out there and play hard. Arizona State has dates against Texas Tech and Coppin State before Utah and Colorado come to Tempe to open Pac 12 play. “Every day is going to be a constant grind, as every game is going to be a battle,” noted Felix, “I think we need to be more aware that we can’t start off slow and let the other team punch us first.” - Ken Cross Related Posts:PAC-12 Notebook: Cal vs. Stanford PreviewPAC-12 Notebook: Washington Huskies in TransitionPAC-12 Notebook: Five Teams with Real Title HopesPAC-12 Notebook: Arizona’s Success largely in…PAC-12 Notebook: USC Coping with loss of Jio Fontan
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Corey Brewer: We got our butt kicked, it was embarrassing

Brian Kelly hints Notre Dame will have fast offense

John Madden: Last play of Super Bowl will 'torment' Pete Carroll

Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat trick, sets career high for goals

WATCH: Cormier tells Jones to get his s-- together

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fans holding 'Free Tom Brady Rally' at Gillette Stadium

Josh Hamilton to be activated by Rangers

WATCH: Top CB recruit makes insane catch doing backflip

Biggest surprises of the MLB season

Marcus Mariota leads NFL in jersey sales for May

Report: Scott Skiles frontrunner for Magic coaching job

Seahawks fan starts GoFundMe for Russell Wilson's contract

Billy Donovan thanks Florida fans with full-page ad

WATCH: Daniel Cormier gets into it with Ryan Bader

Jim Harbaugh compares his driving to Jeff Gordon's

WATCH: High school seals win with perfect hidden ball trick

Warriors crush Rockets in Houston to take 3-0 series lead

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell whiffs on horrible golf swing

Brian Matusz ejected for having foreign substance on arm

PHOTO: Don Cherry wears wild suit even for his taste

PHOTOS: Gigantic sinkhole at Jack Nicklaus golf course

WATCH: Memphis player catches defense sleeping, scores

WATCH: Astros turn around-the-horn triple play

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Vin Scully narrates marriage proposal

Pats fan's obituary defends Brady

Marlins players skip own charity event

John Wall tells All-NBA Team voters to ‘keep sleeping’

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.