Bobby Hurley is building something special in Tempe.
The Arizona State basketball head coach had a tough opening year on the job, finishing with a negative overall record of 15-17. However, all the signs lead to think the second season will be much better.
A hot, promising start of the season let us to believe Bobby Hurley had figured all out straight away, but a collapse against Pac-12 rivals dragged everybody back on Earth: Rome wasn't built in a day, so as the new face of ASU Basketball.
I wrote in the midst of ASU's fall that the struggles lied in a screaming deficiency under the basket, was it about size or physical presence.
Bobby Hurley found that out the hard way. With a year of experience on Pac-12 grounds, he knows what he has to fix and put the offseason to good use.
Forwards Eric Jacobsen and Willie Atwood graduated, while Savon Goodman transferred back home in Philadelphia to La Salle. Senior Obinna Oleka, redshirt freshman Andre Adams (coming off a second ACL tear) and junior Maurice O'Field were left as the only forwards on scholarship.
A complete upgrade was possible and Bobby Hurley took advantage of a situation that could have gone out of hand.
Recruiting will make or break a program. Fortunately for the Sun Devils, Bobby Hurley is quite good at it.
On Thursday, Arizona State added one of the top remaining available 2016 prospects with 6'9'' PF Romello White. He joins 6'9'' C Jethro Tshisumpa and the jewel of the 2016 recruiting class for ASU, 6'6'' SF Sam Cunliffe. Another post player has signed with the Sun Devils in 6'9'' PF Vitaliy Shibel.
ASU jumps all the way to the 18th best class of the nation, according to the 247 Team Composite rankings. Three of those players are considered as 4-star players (and all are ranked in the Top-110), which is the first time it happens in program history.
You might already have spotted it, these freshmen all have something in common: they are tall. Reports also characterize them as high-energy, gritty and confident players. This is the Bobby Hurley touch.
Frontcourt is not lacking talent and size anymore, and ASU even found a true playmaker on the wing with Sam Cunliffe, ranked by 247 Sports as the 38th best player of the recruiting class. However, there is a big issue until proven otherwise.
Weakest part of the Sun Devils last year, by far, the frontcourt is now loaded but five of seven forwards have no collegiate experience. Obinna Oleka is the most proven player and he only has one year with ASU under his belt.
Bobby Hurley will need to work hard to get his new players ready for the challenge right away. College Basketball is a world in which freshmen can become impact players as soon as they set foot on campus. Arizona State could use that.
The Sun Devils probably found their frontcourt for years to come. Development is now the key to success and talent can't be an excuse anymore.
But once again: Rome wasn't built in a day, so as the new face of ASU Basketball.