Arizona State started its basketball season with an early morning practice Monday in which star sophomore Jahii Carson was primarily an observer.
Carson, a pre-season All-American, has a Grade 1 (mildest of three levels) stress reaction in his right tibia and shin splints in both legs after a busy summer.
It's safe to assume Carson is going to be just fine taking it easy for a week or two and that's the precautionary plan, as colleges have started practices earlier than ever before due to an NCAA calendar change.
"It's a progressive thing," Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek said. "He has flat feet, so we're going to fit him with some orthotics. The good news is we're getting out ahead of it. We're being precautionary. If we had a game tonight he could play."
Sendek, entering his eighth season, is working with a core nucleus of returning starters and blending in eight newcomers including standout Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall, with whom Carson said he combines to form a potent backcourt when including other role players.
"I don't think we really lose too much," Carson said. "I think that me and Jermaine, (freshman) Caelen (Robinson), (freshman) Chance (Murray) and (junior transfer) Shaq (McKissic), a lot of us combined in the backcourt is the best backcourt in the country."
Carson earned all-conference honors and was Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2012-13 with averages of 18.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Marshall, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, averaged 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season before transferring to ASU upon graduating from Penn State for his final year of eligibility.
The Sun Devils also return starters Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 senior center who averaged 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds last season, and Jonathan Gilling, a 6-foot-7 junior forward who averaged 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds.
To that core group they will try to incorporate McKissic, a 6-foot-5, 200 pound junior, 6-foot-5 guard transfer Brandan Kearney, a Michigan State transfer who will be eligible beginning in January, and 6-foot-7 senior forward Richie Edwards, who sat out last season post-transfer from Valparaiso, and 6-foot-7 junior college transfer Sai Tummala.
Additionally, ASU will add Robinson, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard who sat out last season due to a non-basketball incident, and freshmen Murray, both versatile guards, and 6-foot-5 wing Egor Koulechov.