TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Jahii Carson has played his final home game for Arizona State. Coach Herb Sendek ended any latent speculation on that after the Sun Devils rolled past California 78-60 on Saturday.
“He’s not coming back,” Sendek said. No qualifier was added. This season is it - period.
The numbers weren’t spectacular for the prolific sophomore playmaker - nine points and four assists. But he had just one turnover and engineered one of the best games of the season for the Sun Devils (21-8, 10-6), who moved alone into third place in the Pac-12 standings, a half-game ahead of Stanford, which plays at No. 3 Arizona on Sunday.
Carson is expected by everyone, including Sendek, to declare for the NBA draft after this season.
Asked if it was his last home game in college, Carson said, “Yeah, for the most part.”
Carson thought about coming out last season, when he was Pac-12 co-freshman of the year, but he came back for one more season, aiming to help Arizona State get into the NCAA tournament, something that seemed ever more probable after Saturday’s victory.
“He had a brilliant two years here in Wells Fargo (Arena),” Sendek said. “If you recall, he started with such expectations, almost mythological expectations.”
Sendek said he was concerned that Carson could never meet those expectations.
“But sure enough,” the coach said, “the bigger the stage, the brighter the lights, he handled it all with the poise and grace that was really impressive.”
Carson didn’t want to talk about it being his final home game, deflecting attention to the team’s seniors.
“I just want to go out and win basketball games,” Carson said, “give these guys all the credit. It’s their last games here. Their family was here. It was very emotional for them, so I just tried to give all the attention to them.”
Justin Cobbs scored 15, Jordan Mathews 14 and David Kravish 12 for Cal (18-11, 9-7) at the end of a rough trip to the desert.
The Bears were blown out at No. 3 Arizona Wednesday night 87-59 and have lost three of four overall.
The Sun Devils finished 8-1 at home in Pac-10/Pac-12 play for just the third time in 36 seasons. They last did it in 1980-81 with a team that featured Byron Scott, Alton Lister and Fat Lever. Arizona State won eight straight Pac-12 home games after losing its opener to Washington. The Sun Devils finished 16-1 at home overall.