November 19, 2007

Basketball Preview: Returning player evaluations

Arizona State begins its 2007-08 basketball campaign with a 9:30 p.m. MST (6:30 p.m. Hawaii time) game against Illinois in the first-round of the Maui Invitational tonight. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Here is an extremely detailed evaluation on each of Arizona State's returning players. We break down their strengths, weaknesses and what to expect from them this season inside.

Antwi Atuahene -- When he arrived in Tempe, it was as an up-tempo style point guard prospect out of the JUCO ranks, but the 6-foot-3, 200 pound senior as transitioned from that role to a jack-of-all-trades type player for the Sun Devils under new coach Herb Sendek. Though the new system doesn't fit his natural strengths particularly well, he's been extremely upbeat and is a consummate teammate.

In practices, Atuahene often works out with the post players, all of whom are substantially taller. He does an excellent job with his back to the basket when isolated on the low block versus a guard. Atuahene has nice vision and is an above average passer in the open floor. He does much of his offensive damage in between the seams of opponents' defensive scheme, as he's capable getting to the basket off the dribble. He's also a very good rebounded for a guard. He is probably the most versatile player on the team, with the ability to play three or even four positions in the ASU offense.

Last year, Atuahene dropped his body fat percentage leading up to the season and looked to be in much better shape over his sophomore campaign. He averaged 25.7 minutes per game, and averaged 7.1 points, 2.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds. His 3-point jumper has been a bit shaky throughout his career (8-of-30 last season), which is perhaps a bit of a limiting factor in an offense that has a tendency to be heavily reliant on the shot.

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