Other than spending some time with the Sacramento Kings while playing in the NBA, new Arizona State Head Basketball Coach Bobby Hurley’s basketball roots have been on the east coast. It is where he grew up, it is where he played high school ball, it is where he made a name for himself in college and it is where he began his coaching career.
While it is challenging to uproot your family from New York to Tempe and also to get acclimated with the players you are inheriting, hitting the ground running during the busiest tome of recruiting season might be the biggest challenge of them all.
So far in addition to the Sun Devil players returning from last season like Tra Holder, Savon Goodman and Gerry Blakes to name a few, Hurley has added four players to the fold who are all transfers. The four include Maurice O’Field form Midland JC, Obinna Oleka from the State College of Florida, Andre Spight of South Plains College and Shannon Evans (who will have to sit out one year) from Buffalo.
It gives Hurley nine total players on scholarship which as of now may lack depth, but also as he states, creates flexibility in recruiting.
“Without commenting on anybody that we are recruiting, we realize that we have some flexibility in our roster and it’s got to be the right fit,” Hurley said on Thursday. “It has to make sense for us and they have to be the kind of players who are going to compete and contend in the Pac-12 and we are going to do everything we can to make that happen.”
“I would have no problems on not carrying the full load if that is the circumstance we are presented,” he added.
As of now, Hurley according to various reports has been active and in play for very talented high school prospects around the country though he has not yet had one committed. He has already added players from the east coast with the transfers he has signed which is good in helping create a national brand. But also knows the importance of recruiting in and around the state of Arizona.
“So far with the guys we’ve brought in, we have a guy from D.C. area in Obi Oleka,” he explained. “And Maurice O’Field’s from Cleveland. Shannon Evans is from Northern Virginia. So those are three of our first guys that we’ve brought in and that’s going to change. I need to build relationships with guys on the west coast and our coaching staff needs to aggressively pursue players in this area which we will.”
Hurley has learned quickly the need to recruit California and Texas and has also seen quickly the talent that his now home state possess.
“There is great talent on the west coast, no doubt,” mentioned Hurley. “The state of Arizona is producing players, there are guys out there that we’re aware of. California is rich in talent, Texas is really close and that’s another state that has players and athletes that we’ll be looking at.”
“We’ve tried to put together a coaching staff that puts us in a position to get involved in all of those areas,” he added.
One very interesting dynamic is that it is widely known that Bobby Hurley Sr. is one of the most successful coaches for one of the most storied high school programs in New Jersey and the northeast at St. Anthony’s. Hurley is hoping now that ASU, he could create a pipeline with his father which unbeknownst to Hurley Jr., hasn’t been utilized yet.
“Everyone thinks that’s real simple,” Hurley joked. “It’s more complicated than that with my Dad’s situation. He hasn’t helped me yet. Maybe he will at some point but I’ve managed to have a lot of success over a few years without his help but I am counting on it at some point.”
While he kids about the situation with his Dad, making his presence felt in his old stamping grounds despite being on the opposite end of the country now will be important for more reasons than just recruiting.
“I have a lot of history in the New York/New Jersey area so I am very comfortable going into that part of the country and we are going to explore that,” Hurley stated. “Also being seen in those areas helps. For the selection committee, for exposure you’ve got to try and get back east a couple of times if you can so people see you, and know what your program’s all about.”
Recruiting will continue to be busy for Hurley and his staff through June before he is able to get his 2015-16 team together for the first time during his tenure in July.