The speculation is done, the rumors can stop — ASU finally hired a coach with Duke ties.
It was supposed to be Jeff Capel, the Duke assistant, but he withdrew from consideration. So, Thursday, the school announced it picked Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley as its next head honcho, replacing the recently fired Uncle Herb. Because of course it had to be a different Duke alum. Arizona Republic's Doug Haller says he signed a 5-year deal.
My fake, non-existent, completely made-up sources tell me that Greg Paulus was the next candidate in line.
I included statements from ASU AD Ray Anderson and Hurley at the bottom.
Hurley was a stud as a Blue Devils guard, and a 5-year pro.
He was only a head coach for two years at Buffalo, but the 43-year-old parlayed an NCAA Tournament bid this year into a job in the Pac-12 with the not-Arizona Wildcats.
Here’s a closer look at Hurley’s career, both coaching and playing. He was a 6-foot-nothin’, 165 pound guard, by the way.
Since this is an Arizona-related blog, of course I found ways to connect his career to the UA.
The Arizona connection
- Hurley played for Duke when the Blue Devils came to McKale Center in February 1991. Arizona won that game 103-96 in double overtime, and Hurley had 14 points and 8 rebounds.
- He played in the same time period as Sean Miller when he was still playing at Pittsburgh, but the two never crossed paths.
- Hurley just missed playing with Mike Bibby on the Grizzlies by one year. Bibby was drafter by Vancover in 1998.
- Random Pac-12 fact: Kyle Anderson, a UCLA alum, played for Hurley’s dad in high school.
Bobby Hurley The Player (Not the Playa)
His list of accomplishments is quite lengthy. So, I shall list them for thee.
- He played for his father, Bob Hurley Sr., for St. Anthony High School in my home state, New Jersey. In his time there, Bobby won four state titles and had a career record of 115-5.
- At Duke, he had a four-year record of 119-26 (.820 win percentage), made three Final Fours, won two national titles and was the 1992 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He played with college stars Grant Hill and Christian Laettner.
- He was a consensus first-team All-American in 1993.
- He’s Duke’s all-time leader in assists with 1,076, which is 257 more than the second place Chris Duhon.
- Had career averages of 12.4 points, 7.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
- Was drafted No. 7 overall by the Sacramento Kings, where he played for 4.5 seasons before he was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies. He only played for the Grizz for the latter half of the 1998 season and never played another NBA game.
- Final pro averages: 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 15.5 minutes per game.
Bobby Hurley The Coach
He hasn’t been around a while, but Hurley has made a fast rise through the ranks and had been recently touted by many as a rising young coach in the industry after he guided Buffalo to the Tournament.
- Hurley started out as an assistant at Wagner College in 2010-11 and was an associate head coach at Rhode Island for one season before Buffalo hired him in 2013.
- In two years with the Bulls, he was 42-20, 25-11 in the MAC and finished in first place in the conference both years.
- According to KenPom, Buffalo had the 54th best adjusted efficiency in the nation in 2015 and the 23rd-best adjusted tempo, meaning he likes to go fast.
What does this all mean?
Hard to say, but it looks like a solid hire at first glance. A young, up-and-coming, well-respected coach with name recognition is the best ASU could ask for. I like it better than If they would’ve hired Capel from Duke.
He’s inheriting a team with SOME talent — Savon Goodman, Eric Jacobsen, Tra Holder, Gerry Blakes are at least solid — but the team’s recruiting is somewhat in shambles after a few de-commitments following Herb’s firing.
It'll be very important for Hurley to hire at least one assistant with ties to California, as the Wildcats have pretty much dominated that area of recruiting with Sean Miller and the Sun Devils need to make something of a dent in that. Buffalo assistant Levi Watkins will apparently be joining him at ASU.
Anderson: “"Bobby Hurley epitomizes basketball excellence, with a keen knowledge of the game that stems from his lifelong involvement in the sport. His childhood consisted of watching the defining moments of the NCAA Tournament; his high school days included a 115-5 record on the court and four state titles; and his college career, with an excellence exemplified by two national championships and his No. 11 jersey hanging in the rafters at Cameron Indoor."
Hurley: "While it was an extremely difficult decision to move on from my team in Buffalo, this is a tremendous opportunity and I want to thank Mr. Anderson and Dr. Crow for selecting me as the leader of the ASU men's basketball program.
To the 942 Crew: You are pioneers and are truly special, so thank you for changing the way students participate in the game with the Curtain of Distraction. To the fans: Our passion, enthusiasm and energy will breed a culture you will be proud to support. To all of our former players: You are the lifeblood of the program and one of my primary objectives will be to engage you and bring you back home. With our fast-paced and aggressive style of play, we are going to make Sun Devil Basketball a destination for in-state, national, and international basketball talent.
Our purpose is to mold championship-caliber young men on the court, in the classroom and around the community. We are here to set a new standard, to make regular trips to the NCAA Tournament, and regularly compete for conference and national titles.
With the full support of this community there is no doubt in my mind we are going to build something truly special here in Tempe."
With that, sorry for the lack of posts recently. Been taking some time to relax a little bit since the season ended. But I promise you, soon I’ll have posts about some of the Pac-12’s prospects who have declared for the NBA Draft, along with a look ahead to next season for the Pac-1 AFTER the early entry deadline has passed. Seems pointless to me to preview anything before we know all of that.