- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Arizona State's Jahii Carson would have been one of the top point guards at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago last week. Instead, Carson, who is a second-year freshman after being ineligible in his first season, is returning to school and will be one of a handful of preseason candidates for Pac-12 player of the year. The Sun Devils are already thinking of ways to push the tempo and prepare Carson for a jump to the league. Newly named associate head coach Eric Musselman said the Sun Devils have already been practicing with a 24-second shot clock and put only one 3-point line down on the court -- the NBA distance. "We're going to play faster next season,'' said Musselman. He added the NBA 3-point line is to get the players comfortable with the deep distance. The Sun Devils, though, have some holes with the abrupt departure of shooting guard Evan Gordon, who transferred to Indiana, and the known exit of senior forward Carrick Felix. The Sun Devils finished 9-9 in the Pac-12 but went to the NIT. ASU is trying to be innovative and certainly more interesting next season as a possible NCAA team that shoots with confidence from range and plays at a quick clip to get more possessions.
2. Murray State coach Steve Prohm was in Chicago at the pre-draft combine to watch Isaiah Canaan, his veteran point guard who is sure to be a first-round lock and has the potential to be the next Damian Lillard -- a lower-profile school gem who stars in the league. But Prohm said he has a replacement set -- Zay Jackson. The suspended guard is cleared to join the Racers and be the starting point guard next season. Jackson served 49 days in jail after hitting a man with his car in a Walmart parking lot on Sept. 10. Prohm said Jackson practiced with the team once he was released from jail. He said there wasn't a judicial review board and that the decision for Jackson to come back was made by the athletic department. Prohm said Jackson had a 2.75 grade-point average and has not been an issue since he returned. The Racers will have depth at the position with the eligibility in December of Clemson transfer T.J. Sapp. Prohm isn't pushing the schedule in this transition year and will simply play 29 games without a tournament.
3. Missouri has another solid schedule to sell with nonconference games against Illinois (St. Louis), UCLA, at NC State, West Virginia in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge and Long Beach State. They are also in a tournament in Las Vegas where Missouri has been promised, according to Haith, since it wouldn't face UCLA because the Bruins and Tigers are already scheduled. The other two teams are Nevada and Northwestern. If this were the case then the Las Vegas Invitational can easily manage this by having UCLA and Missouri play Northwestern and Nevada, just alternating.