ASU coach Bobby Hurley: 'f****** Tucson' comment 'not directed' at UA

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 20:06:52-05

If you're an ASU or UA fan, you've heard the comment by now: Sun Devil men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley telling his team after last Thursday's last-second home win that if opponents want a victory in the Grand Canyon State, it won't come at his team's expense, but rather in "f****** Tucson."

On Tuesday, as his team prepares to head to Tucson to face the No. 16 Wildcats on Thursday, Hurley said he made the comment simply for motivational purposes.

"It was my way to motivate my team, to try to do a better job of winning league games at home and establish your home court," Hurley said after practice Tuesday afternoon.

As a player, Hurley enjoyed one of the nation's best home-court advantages at Duke, where he won two national championships. He wants ASU to enjoy the kind of dominance at Wells Fargo Arena that his Blue Devils enjoyed at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"I rarely lost as a player when teams came to Cameron Indoor. My record was very strong as home (as a coach) at Buffalo," he said. "I just want to get through to the guys how vital it is in league play to win your home games. It's hard to win games on the road."

On Monday, UA coach Sean Miller said he didn't see Hurley's comments as a insult toward Tucson or his program, but as a tool to motivate the Sun Devils to protect their home court as well as Arizona does.

Hurley affirmed Miller's assessment.

"Those comments were not directed at Arizona. If our travel partner was USC, I would've said to go to LA if you want to try to get a win," he said.

ASU guard Kodi Justice backed up his coach's explanation, noting the Sun Devils want to build as large a home-court advantage as UA enjoys at McKale Center, where the Wildcats have won 62 of their last 63 games.

"(Other teams) come in here and think, 'Oh, we gotta (win at) ASU because it's gonna be tough to win at UA. We just want to build a culture that it's gonna be tough to win at both places," Justice said.

"It's nothing against UA. We have no harm against them. They're a good team and we're trying to get where we're at."

Hurley knows UA's men's basketball program is in a different class than ASU, and he said his "Tucson" comment was part of his effort to help the Sun Devils reach that class.

"Their program is at a bit of a different place than ours. We have a lot of catching up to do. We're ready to try to put the work in to try to do that," he said.

"We gotta climb. We gotta keep climbing. That's where our mindset is."