One of the most surprising factors of the Sun Devils' victory over the Hartford Hawks on Wednesday night was the play of freshman forward/center, Eric Jacobsen. He scored a career high 16 points while also snagging 6 rebounds. None of this would have been possible if not for Jordan Bachynski, the team's junior starting center, having played just 22 minutes on the night.
It is his "defensive versatility" (the words of Coach Sendek, not mine) that keeps Jacobsen on the court for long stretches. He has the ability to defend the post and the perimeter, which is not something that the 7'2" Jordan Bachysnki can do.
In my opinion, I am starting to see Jacobsen as a viable candidate to continue stealing minutes from Bachynski. Not only can he guard multiple positions, but too often do we see Bachynski mishandle the ball and turn it over. He has a height advantage over his opponents on most nights, but rarely does that become a factor.
Whether it is a lack of hunger, practice or what have you, Bachynski just doesn't play with the same energy that Jacobsen brings to the floor. He fumbles the ball, doesn't get in position and can't make a shot outside of being 5 feet away from the basket. Jacobsen can do all of those things and is somewhat of a Swiss army knife on defense as well.
Will Jacobsen start earning more consistent minutes is the question. He certainly presents a nice matchup, but that is only with some opponents. Once ASU starts playing teams that play more traditional centers, I am sure that Bachynski will see his court time replenished.
For now, Jacobsen should take what he can get. A freshman that has contributed as much as he has is only bound to get better. And if he keeps on playing this way, his minutes will only go up.