It’s that time of the college basketball season when you look up out of nowhere and notice that conference tournaments tip off in a couple weeks, Selection Sunday is in a smidgen over three weeks and before you know it we’ll be crowning a champion and watching a “One Shining Moment” montage. But before we get ahead of ourselves, one of our favorite traditions of the end of the season is Senior Day, a chance to pause for a brief moment, get the student-athlete at the end of the bench that has worked tirelessly for little fame or glory a moment in the spotlight, and recognize the efforts of guys who we have gotten to know over the previous few years one last chance to take a bow in front of the home crowd. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll turn an eye to each Senior Day around the conference and highlight the guys we’ll be saying goodbye to this season.
We start with Arizona State, where the Sun Devils Senior Day (or more fitting, I suppose, Senior Night) comes Saturday as they host Washington. Carrick Felix, Chris Colvin, Ruslan Pateev and Joey Hormes will be the honorees. Of those four, obviously Felix is the big name — he has spent three years in Tempe after beginning his career at the College of Southern Idaho, but until this year may have been most well-known as Mike Krzyzewski’s first junior college signee at Duke (although he never played a minute there). After a slow start to his college career (just 23 points in limited minutes over the course of 11 non-conference games), Felix came alive at the start of Pac-12 play as a freshman, averaging 12.7 points, 3.3 boards and two assists over six games while veterans like Trent Lockett and Jamelle McMillan were banged up. Unfortunately, Felix got sick prior to the Devils’ next road trip, missed a game and was never back at full strength the rest of the way as the team limped home to a 12-19 record. His junior campaign featured much more playing time and production but very little team success. Jump ahead to his senior year and his production is through the roof. He’s averaging career highs across the board (with the notable exception of turnovers, which are actually down despite increased run) and he sits at or near the top of several Pac-12 stats and is in line for strong consideration not only for First-Team Pac-12 Honors, but also Defensive Player of the Year.