Jermaine Marshall’s transfer boosts Arizona State’s chances of ending NCAA tourney drought

When Evan Gordon left Arizona State earlier in mid-May to spend his final year of eligibility at Indiana, the shooting guard’s departure created a void in the Sun Devils’ lineup that appeared difficult to fill.

Six weeks later, however, Arizona State coach Herb Sendek has found a replacement whose knack for creating off the dribble and finishing at the rim give him a chance to make an even greater impact than Gordon would have.

Guard Jermaine Marshall, who averaged 15.3 points per game as a junior at Penn State last season, decided Monday afternoon that he will transfer to Arizona State. The 6-foot-4 wing has one year of eligibility left and will be eligible immediately for the Sun Devils since he has already graduated from Penn State.

The addition of Marshall greatly boosts Arizona State’s chances of returning to the NCAA tournament next season for the first time since 2009.

Star point guard Jahii Carson, 7-footer Jordan Bachynski and fellow starter Jonathan Gilling return from a team that fell just short of an NCAA bid last March, plus the Sun Devils add Michigan State transfer Brandon Kearney in mid-December to help replace Carrick Felix’s wing production. The only thing missing was a shooting guard who could help take pressure off Carson to create the offense, a void the high-scoring Marshall should fill with ease.

It’s a pleasant surprise for Arizona State that Marshall was even available because he had no intention of playing college basketball next season as recently as a month ago. Marshall’s intent was to pursue a professional career in Europe after graduating from Penn State, but he changed his mind last month and decided a final year of college at a different school might help improve his stock.

That decision certainly could turn out huge for an Arizona State program that needs to take advantage of Carson’s decision to return for his sophomore season. The presence of Marshall gives the Sun Devils a real chance to do that.

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