A late recruiting splash raises expectations for Arizona State

Jeff Eisenberg
June 7, 2010

It's rare for a program to land an impact recruit in June, but Arizona State snared two players this weekend who could help propel the Sun Devils to another top-three finish in the Pac-10 next season.

Six-foot-6 wing Carrick Felix of College of Southern Idaho and 6-foot-7 forward Kyle Cain of Hampton (N.H.) Prep both accepted scholarship offers from Arizona State, a much-needed talent influx for a program that lost seven players from last year's team.

Felix, originally a Duke signee, asked for his release from the Blue Devils last month upon realizing that the unexpected return of Kyle Singler greatly reduced his chances of cracking the rotation next season. College of Southern Idaho coach Steve Gosar said about 30 schools expressed interest in Felix, but the Arizona native opted to take just one visit before selecting the Sun Devils.

Cain, a onetime Rhode Island signee who received interest from the likes of West Virginia and Illinois, fills an immediate need in the low post. As a result of the graduation of Eric Boateng and the transfer of Taylor Rohde, the Sun Devils were down to only two true post players on the roster, 7-footers Jordan Bachynski and Ruslan Pateev.

The addition of Cain gives Herb Sendek far more roster flexibility next season. If he wants to go big, Sendek can play either the freshman Bachynski or the sophomore Pateev at center, Cain at power forward and sweet-shooting Rihards Kuksiks at small forward. If he wants to go with a three-guard alignment, Cain can slide up to center and Kuksiks can play power forward.

A starting job likely will not be available immediately for Felix, but the athletic, slashing wing should see playing time in a deep and versatile Arizona State backcourt.

The Sun Devils narrowly missed the NCAA tournament last season despite a second-place finish in the Pac-10. With Kuksiks, high-scoring Ty Abbott and steady point guard Jamelle McMillan returning and Felix and Cain joining a recruiting class that also includes highly touted guard Keala King, the Sun Devils may have the talent in place to avenge that disappointment next March.