TEMPE, AZ — After the disappointment of a season that began with such promise, the exodus from the ASU men's basketball program that followed looked like an ominous sign for the future. One that had some people wondering if Bobby Hurley was departing for another gig. Instead, he just hit restart on the Sun Devils program.
"I've done some things very unconventional that I haven't done before," said Hurley. "I'm so motivated and hungry based on the taste last season left in my mouth, I was like, 'I'm not revisiting that again.'"
Hurley did a complete overhaul of the program. Nine players have left along with two assistant coaches, as well as the program's director of basketball operations.
"It did feel like 'Survivor' at times," Hurley said. "I'm wondering if I'm going to be the last guy left on the island."
But that was to be expected, to some degree, with the NCAA implementing the one-time transfer exception, essentially college free agency. There were so many moving parts that Hurley actually needed to bring a whiteboard home and park it in his living room just to keep track.
"Even when I wasn't in the office, I was staring at it. And I was making adjustments as things were changing. If you had a before and now of what that looked like, it'd be a pretty, pretty unique situation," he said.
"My wife, I don't think she appreciated having the whiteboard in our living room. It didn't fit with her whole theme for the house. But she understood how important it was for me to be able to look at it and think about it and to kind of never forget what happened this year and to make me want to keep finding a way to fix it."
Only four Sun Devils will return from last season, headlined by Kimani Lawrence and Jalen Graham, along with 10 newcomers -- some freshman, some transfers -- that Hurley said will have the Sun Devils more well-equipped in rebounding and experience.
"There were days you felt good about steps you were making and strides you're taking, other days, I'm not sure if this is going to come together or not. So, it was a roller coaster ride really the last six weeks or so, but it's brought us, I think, to a pretty good place."
Good enough to put the whiteboard away?
"The whiteboards not going anywhere. It's still staying in my house, and I'm going to keep staring at it. There's still a few things in flux with the roster, and I'm not saying it's completely done, but it's very close to being completed," Hurley said. "I feel really good about where it's at today."