Editorial: Hoopla heating up

Published On:
Monday, February 16, 2009
Printer-friendly version

The scene is getting downright ugly.

The Phoenix Suns’ early-season bickering about finding offensive continuity has turned into a full-blown soap opera.

Now, one of the leading protagonists has been killed off. Terry Porter will be shown the door today, giving Alvin Gentry the unenviable task of trying to revive a team in turmoil.

By the Thursday trade deadline, half the team could be donning new uniforms. The future’s anything but certain.

Despite the shortcomings of a beloved Phoenix squad that is crumbling, the sport of basketball is alive and well in Arizona.

This weekend, the spotlight was on Phoenix, as the best basketball players in the world took the court at U.S. Airways Center.

Venues were packed throughout the weekend for various NBA-related events, and cameras from media outlets around the globe depicted a downtown area that clearly worked hard to be a worthy host.

The glitz and glamour of one of professional sports’ most entertaining All-Star weekends captivated area fans, but the reason for sustained excitement on the hardwood can be found here at ASU.

The scene last Thursday – one in which a maroon-and-gold-laden student section stormed the court at Wells Fargo arena after the Sun Devils’ second win of the season over perennial powerhouse UCLA – only tells part of the story.

While the ASU men’s team has stolen the headlines, the Sun Devil women quietly set a new school record over the weekend with their 11th straight victory.

This year’s team may be coach Charli Turner Thorne’s best to date. That’s saying something, considering her ASU squads have made an appearance in the last four NCAA tournaments.

Led by senior guard Briann January and hot-shooting junior guard Dymond Simon, the ASU women’s team is poised to make a deep run in March.

While both the men and women’s teams at ASU have already accomplished a great deal this season, it is what they still have a chance to do that would make these campaigns remarkable.

The Sun Devil men are on the hunt for their first Pac-10 title in history. After a weekend sweep of the Los Angeles schools, ASU sits just one game behind conference-leader Washington.

On the women’s side, a victory by Stanford over Cal on Saturday has put the Sun Devils just one game out of first place in the Pac-10 as well.

Both teams are all but assured a spot in the NCAA tournament, but imagine how sweet trips to the Big Dance would be with conference crowns in tow.

But wait, the plot thickens further.

Each game while chasing down a conference title means everything, but earning wins and snubbing an archrival at the same time means something entirely different.

While the women should have no trouble with UA down in Tucson on Saturday, the Wildcat men’s team will pose a far greater challenge when it arrives at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday.

The Wildcats also completed a sweep of the Los Angeles schools over the weekend and are red-hot heading into Sunday’s clash.

If a game of this magnitude can’t get you excited about hoops, it’s time to check your pulse.