The future of the Sun Devils just got a bit more interesting. Jahii Carson, ASU's heralded incoming point guard, was selected Monday as a finalist for USA Basketball's Under-19 team which will compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Latvia beginning June 30th.
To add to the honor, the young Mesa High School standout is the only player of the final thirteen to not possess college experience. The news is not yet final, as there may still be another roster cut before the team's exodus to Latvia on the 24th, however the future Sun Devil seemed confident about his spot on the squad.
"I'm just out there working hard every day," Carson told Devils Digest. "When they called my name (as a finalist) I wasn't that surprised because I knew I had a good run since I got here and I played well."
The practice Carson is gaining by sharing in this program may push his game leaps and bounds ahead of where it now is, a substantial advantage that he holds over other prospects his age. While other freshman are busy working with their high-school coaches, Carson will be competing and learning from the best in the world.
"We have been working a lot on motion offense, pushing the ball, help defense," Carson explained. "These guys aren't just a lot stronger but also more intelligent. They know what they want to do with the basketball and they move very fast. This is the highest level of competition I ever played in."
And the work doesn't stop there. To the delight of Devils fans, beyond the coaching he is receiving, Carson's newfound big-time experience may serve as the greatest leg-up he will have over other incoming freshman.
"It can definitely help me get prepared for the physical nature of college basketball, as well as the intelligence and the effort you need to put on defense at that level," Carson said. "Being the only high school guy, I feel that I have a lot more to prove than the other guys."
This certainly isn't the first time that Carson has given Arizona State fans hope. Last year, as the Sun Devils closed out a disappointing season, there Jahii was, scoring an astounding 58 points in the high-school state semi-finals.
Overall, Carson's role in the FIBA U19 World Championships should push the already talented point guard to another level. Bolstered by the new freshman phenom, and fellow incoming blue-chipper Hersey Hawkins, Herb Sendek's 2011 squad may have folks around here drawing comparisons to the glory days of The Beard & Co.
"People have heard about Arizona State because of James Harden and they know that I can be a player that can also make an impact with ASU," Carson confidently concluded. "That's something I definitely feed off."