Out of the smoke from the fire that was the suspension and ultimate dismissal of Keala King, the suspension of Chris Colvin and the ineligibility of Jahii Carson, Trent Lockett has emerged. It might not be enough to save the 2011-2012 Arizona State basketball season, but Lockett is running the point for the Sun Devils.
And he seems to be growing into the role. Using his size and some strong moves to the basket to his advantage, Lockett made 8 of 11 shots and logged five assists and four rebounds Thursday night against Oregon.
Lockett, a starter at off guard before King was dismissed, took over the position last weekend in Los Angeles in the wake of the suspensions of King and Colvin. Yet another Sun Devil asked to play out of his natural position, he has scored 54 points in those three games including 23 Thursday night in the 67-58 loss to the Ducks.
Lockett is clearly the Devils' go-to guy, but he's experiencing growing pains at a new position for him. The points have come but the mistakes have, too. Lockett was responsible for seven of ASU's 16 turnovers Thursday and has committed 18 in the three games at the point.
Things is, he's irreplaceable. The two players backing up Lockett at point guard are Colvin, who was pulled from the game after giving up a 3-pointer on defense and turned the ball over in less than a minute and never returned; and freshman Max Heller, who saw action in L.A. with the Devils playing shorthanded.
"We're just asking him to do everything for the team, score, defend and never come out of the game," ASU coach Herb Sendek said.
"I couldn't take him out of the game."
Lockett said he's fine with handling the ball and doesn't consider anything a problem. He felt the Devils handled Oregon's full-court press well.
But the losing continues for struggling and undermanned ASU (5-11 overall, 1-3 in Pac-12).
"Nothing we haven't been through before," Lockett said.
Sendek said he'd like to play Colvin more, but admitted the team could use another guy at the position.
"I just want him (Colvin) to play to his full capability," Sendek said.