What’s My Name? Jahii Carson
Words. Kevin Zimmerman
Swagger and cockiness. There’s a fine line between the two. For an Arizona State basketball program coming off a down year, head coach Herb Sendek needed someone who could ride that line to winning.
Call on the guy whose name translated from Swahili means “to lead with dignity.” At 5-11 and 160 pounds, incoming freshman Jahii Carson isn’t very tall, but his brashness makes up for it. (Check out his ultimatum to ASU before he actually signed) Not that he thinks he’s better than everyone, but the point guard believes he can create a winning culture at ASU by playing with a sometimes over-the-top attitude.
“I definitely have a confident swagger about me,” says Carson. “I don’t want to say I’m cocky or conceited about any of it. I have a confidence about myself on the basketball court. I think that some guys have it, but they don’t like to express it.
“I think when people say ASU needs that, that’s what they mean – try to bring out the best of guys,” he adds. “That’s what I want to do with all my teammates.”
On a Mesa High School (Mesa, Ariz.) team that saw his scoring as a necessity, Carson averaged 32.2 points, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game during his senior year. He was even more spectacular in the state playoffs, dropping 37 and 38 points his first two playoff games – both wins – before scoring 58 points for the Jackrabbits in a 96-82 loss during the state semi-finals.
At ASU, the incoming freshman is expected to bring his blinding speed, passing skills and mind-blowing dunking ability into a Sendek offense that’s been hurt by the lack of a pure play-maker.
“My speed is my strength,” says Carson. “I try to get up on defense and try to make the offensive player uncomfortable. I’m just all about making everyone uncomfortable that’s playing against me on the opposing team.
“I’m an explosive guard who likes to get up and down the floor.”