Throughout the course of human history, there have been some notable walls that have either stood the test of time or eventually fallen.
The Great Wall of China. The Berlin Wall. And in 2017… the Wells Fargo Arena wall.
The barrier that reduced the capacity of Arizona State basketball’s home by 3,000 seats was removed in 2017 as the Sun Devils got off to a historic start. That helped Arizona State set a home attendance record, which trailed only Arizona and Utah in the Pac-12. Attendance is looking promising for the Sun Devils under coach Bobby Hurley.
Arizona State VP of athletics Ray Anderson isn’t going to let that stop any time soon.
“You didn’t take that thing down with the expectation that you’d have to suffer the embarrassment of putting it back up,” Anderson said Tuesday, via azcentral sports’ Doug Haller. … “The wall’s gone. It’s in storage somewhere. They can either give it away or burn it. I don’t really care because it’s not going back up while I’m here.”
Arizona State’s season eventually flattened out thanks to a rough go in conference play and a loss to Syracuse in a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament. For Anderson, it’s not a matter of how the Sun Devils finished in 2018. It’s how they continue to succeed in the coming years.
“Very frankly I focus on: How are we recruiting?” he said. “Are we going to continue to bring in guys that will allow us to repeat some of those successes that we had in the early part of the year? And then once we get in Pac-12 play, (can we) actually sustain a high level of competitiveness?”
Anderson went on to compliment Hurley for his recruiting efforts, saying the coach is “bringing in some real talent, prospects that we’re getting a chance to recruit that in the prior regime I never saw.”
For the 2018 class, Hurley signed three 4-star recruits and earned the hard commitment from another (Christian Foothills’ Taeshon Cherry). He has another 4-star committed for the class of 2019, point guard Jaelen House (Phoenix, Ariz., Shadow Mountain).
Based on recruiting success and Hurley’s history of turning at least one program into a consistent winner — Hurley took Mid-American Conference member Buffalo to the NCAA Tournament in his second season, a level of success the Bulls sustained even after his departure — Anderson shouldn’t expect to have to locate that wall anytime soon.
There’s also the bonus of a policy the department is holding itself to in scheduling opponents.
“The thing we made clear is, we’re not doing anything that’s a one-off,’’ Anderson said. “It’s a home-and-home series. If you don’t want to do that, we’re not scheduling you.”
That will pack the gym at least occasionally in the non-conference schedule, which is good enough to keep that wall far from Wells Fargo Arena.