Expectations do not weigh heavily on Carson

Expectations do not weigh heavily on Carson

As elated as ASU basketball fans were Thursday night following a 20-point win over Oregon, they were just as delighted to learn that incoming freshman Jahii Carson scored 58 points in the state's 5A-1 semi-finals. This performance has only increased the anticipation for the point guard's arrival in Tempe that much more, but hasn't caused any apprehension from the Mesa High School star.

"It was bittersweet for me to score 58 points but still lose," said Jahii Carson on his team's 96-82 defeat to Brophy. "In the end it was really a bummer for me."

It goes without saying that Carson, who averaged over 30 points per game this season, was by far the most significant reason for the Jackrabbits' playoff run. The 5-10 point guard has usually carried the squad on his back every contest but last night at Jobbing.com Arena it wasn't enough to lift his team to an appearance in the state finals.

"It was probably because my teammates were not used to the big stage like other schools that have been there before," Carson explained. "We came into this game thinking that because we already beat Brophy twice this year this will be a cakewalk. Brophy played very well and as a team we didn't step up."

Carson admitted that he was very moved with the outpouring of support he received from Sun Devils fans fooling last night's game. He added that it made it somewhat easier to deal with the culmination of his high school career last night.

"After such a tough loss like that it is great to have support from my future, which is ASU," Carson commented. "Even the Brophy kids showed me love and players from our rival Mountain View told me how much they enjoyed seeing me play. It was great to see all that support after my last game as a senior."

Among the many well wishers was naturally also ASU head coach Herb Sendek.

"Coach Sendek sent me a text message saying ‘way to leave your mark on Arizona basketball' and that was really cool," Carson remarked. "He knew it was a tough loss for me and he told me to now get ready for Arizona State and improving my game for the next level.

"He has always been supportive with his text messages and that always makes me feel better."

Out of all the messages he received since that loss, Carson confessed that his mother's message touched him the most.

"She told me that for the last four years she has seen me every game do something amazing as a player and as a person," Carson described. "That made me feel really very good."

Some of the Sun Devil faithful are now jokingly referring to Carson as ‘Jahiisus' to demonstrate their sentiments about the point guard becoming the savior of a basketball program that is experiencing a very trying season. Carson appears to take all this attention in stride.

"I know that the ASU fans have very high expectations for me after the tough year we had," Carson acknowledged. "But I'm just thinking about coming in, playing my role and helping my teammates play better. I think if I just play the way I know I can I will be fine and we will have a good year.

"I talk to Keala (King) all the time and he told me how hard I have to work at this level. He said that I have a very strong killer instinct and that will help me a lot with the transition to college. I have a strong work ethic, but it gives an extra boost to have someone, especially a teammate, in my ear all the time telling me how hard I should work and pushing me."

In the upcoming months Carson plans on getting stronger and increase the use of his left hand.

"I know that players at the college level are not going to let me do whatever I want," Carson said. "They are going to bump me and try to take out my right so I have to make sure I'm ready for that and be a better player at the next level.

"I'm going to start summer school on June 1st and I'm going to just spend all my time before that becoming a better player."

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