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Arizona State Basketball: Why Carrick Felix Is the Pac-12's Most Improved Player

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27:  Carrick Felix #0 of the Arizona State Sun Devils is stripped of the ball by Larry Drew II #10 of the UCLA Bruins Arizona State Sun Devils he dribble by Jordan Adams #3 at Pauley Pavilion on February 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
David A. BowersCorrespondent IIMarch 14, 2013

Carrick Felix entered his senior season with something to prove.

The hometown product from Millennium High School in Goodyear, Ariz., just west of Phoenix, was not recruited to play Division I basketball after averaging 19.7 points and 13 rebounds per game in his high school career.

He signed with the College of Southern Idaho in 2008 and received a medical redshirt in his first season. The 2009-10 season saw Felix average 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at Southern Idaho and earned him a spot on the Sun Devils' roster after the departure of standouts James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph.

Felix struggled to make an impact in the 2010-11 season, seeing action in 30 games, but only getting the start in eight. He averaged a mere 4.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He shot a paltry 39 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc. The Sun Devils won 22 games that year but lost in the first round of the NIT, an embarrassing end to a promising season.

The 2011-12 season was an outright disaster for the Sun Devils. Their record of 10-21 was one of the worst in a long time, and Carrick Felix was the second-leading scorer behind Trent Lockett. Felix’s 10.5 points and four boards per game were an improvement, but nowhere near what head coach Herb Sendek had hoped to see in the junior wing who started all but two games.

Felix graduated with a B.S. in Communications in the spring of 2012 and was accepted into the Masters of Liberal Studies program in the summer. Heading into the 2012-13 season, there was a new attitude or swagger in Tempe. The freshman phenom, Jahii Carson, was academically cleared to play, and there were two new assistant coaches with NBA pedigrees in Eric Musselman and Larry Greer on the sidelines.

In two seasons at Arizona State, Felix averaged 7.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He shot 41 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point territory. He also had zero career double-doubles; this season, he recorded three in a one-week span.

After the 2012-13 regular season, he led the Pac-12 with 12 double-doubles and nine in-conference. His 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds combo per game are second best in the Pac-12 behind Stanford’s Dwight Powell with 15.6 points and 8.8 boards.

Felix finished the season in the top 15 of six categories in the Pac-12, including No. 6 in steals and No. 7 in rebounds.

His field-goal percentage jumped to 51 percent and his three-point shooting improved to 36 percent. He started all 31 games and led the Devils in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds and steals.

His 14.2 points and 34 blocks were second best on the team as well. He scored in double digits in 25 games this season and 20 or more in seven games including 22 in his final regular-season game against rival Arizona.

The numbers are astounding, and Felix was named to the second-team All-Pac-12 as well as the exclusive Pac-12 All-Defense team with teammate Jordan Bachynski.

The 6’6”, 196-pound guard/forward had a bumpy road to begin his college basketball career, but he peaked at the best time possible. If Felix does not get picked up in the 2013 NBA draft, he has the talent and skill to play in Europe or the D-League to prove that he can play for the NBA. I am sure wherever he goes will be better than southern Idaho.

David is the Featured Columnist of Arizona State Athletics for B/R. Follow him on Twitter at @asudave.

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