Tiers as of 8.17.22

All SEC - NSJ, Brazile

Starter Minutes - Devo, Black, RC4

Rotation - Kamani, Walsh, Dunning, Makhel

Bench - Makhi, Graham, Ford, Pinion

Subject to change … CEM has to be licking his chops to coach these guys up


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I would agree with your 4 groups, based on play in Spain and Italy. We should all (me included) look for what’s liable to change with what we saw overseas.

I loved Muss’ story about the kid at Nevada, when he took that team on an overseas trip like ours, who went 0 for every 3 he shot. Afterwards Muss questioned whether he’d ever make a 3 for Nevada. All the kid did was break Jimmer Fredette’s 3 point shooting record. Maybe we have a player in the rotation and bench groups who will do something similar.

We have a talented bunch of kids on this team. You never know who may explode out of nowhere come Nov and Dec. It’s going to be an exciting season!


That’s probably a decent grouping today but there is some nuance to this. There is a lot of difference in Graham vs Pinion. Graham may not make it under Muss’ tough demanding style but if he buys in, he’s a player that has done it at the major level. 19 and 15 points in his two games against USC, 16 points and 10 boards against UCLA. Scored in double digits in 13 of his last 17 regular season games at ASU.

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I looked up AZState’s stats from last year, wondering if there were significant style differences with Mussball. They averaged 60 FGA per game; we averaged 61. Of course some of that may be due to JD monopolizing the ball. Plus we shot more than twice as many free throws as Sparky did, so those are possessions that largely didn’t end up in FGAs (except for and-ones). Which is to say Graham may still be adjusting to our style.

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I think Ford could be the Devo of this group. It seems he is adjusting to the level of talent he is competing against. He may break into the rotation by December.

Hopefully Devo will vastly improve his ball handling. He’s still dribbling too far away from his body and has too many absent minded passes. All resulting in too many turnovers. He’s simply too turnover prone.
UA…Campus of Champions


I was hoping Pinion might make the top 8/9 because he shoots the ball so well. But…after watching him in that 1st game, imo, he has the furthest to go to break into the regular rotation of well, anyone basically. Not saying he can’t do it, but he’s behind the others on the defensive end of the court.

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I’m hoping Graham makes the rotation before either of the Mitchells. Graham’s more skilled than either, but effort/intensity looks to be an issue with him. Hopefully Muss can kick him in gear to become a better defender and rebounder so he can maximize Jalen’s offensive abilities.

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Totally agree … I think about how out of sorts Umude and T Wade looked early last year, then both became instrumental in the run to the Elite Eight … I can see Graham making that kind of improvement throughout the season with the Hog coaching staff pushing him (and if he has any desire to play for pay).


I would swap Graham and Markhel. I still think only 8 see significant minutes. Whoever is the ninth man, gets in if there is foul trouble or injury…

Mitchell twins are a mystery to me. Not sure which group either one belongs in. Both are seniors.

I think they were also a mystery to their 2 previous schools. They’ll definitely be good for practices with their length.

They are both seniors, but Mahki has 3 years eligibility left and Mahkel has two years.

It occurs to me that the Mitchell twins may be valuable in some games largely as a source of 10 fouls. Let them beat on Tshiebwe for 15-20 minutes and keep others out of foul trouble.


Did not know that. I assume that includes next season and one of the years must be COVID year. So, why does Mahki have another year?

BTW, I remember they had declared for NBA. So after they signed, I had penciled one of them as a starter at 5.

He was injured and missed his Soph year at RI and red-shirted.

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That is likely. I have noticed that Tshiebwe is now playing some away from the basket until the shot goes up while Collins plays close to the basket. That means the twins better be fast on their feet. Anxious to see them with some extended minutes.

I think the Mitchells’ value will be on the defensive end of the court. Thankfully we won’t have to rely on either to put the ball thru the hoop. Just defend the rim and rebound. Catch lobs and dunk. They do those 3 things and nothing else, they both should be ok. Brazile and Graham are the 2 bigs the team needs to score consistently on offense. K Johnson is a capable around-the-rim scorer as well.

I expect that Walsh will average 20 - 25 minutes per game. He shot the ball poorly in Europe. I think his defensive ability will keep him playing, much like Toney did last year. Brazile was extremely impressive on the trip to Europe and looks every bit a lottery pick. Graham did not impress and must play much better to earn playing time. His highlight film shows he has ability, The twins have good size and will be necessary against bigger SEC and tournament foes. Dunning has been a pleasant surprise and will get playing time. Kamani will play 10-15 minutes a game.

Smith, Black, and Brazile will play 30+ minutes a game. Devo and Counsil will play about 25 minutes. The first backcourt player off the bench will be Walsh and I expect him to start some games. These players will be on the floor most of the time. Kamani and Dunning will play, especially when we have foul trouble.

Ford and Pinion look like true freshmen. I think that they may redshirt unless they start to play better.

Nobody redshirts anymore. They will either play or transfer. Unless they improve dramatically, most likely the latter. I didn’t want to lose either Robinson, but that is just the reality today.

That said, I’m very happy Ford and Pinion decided to be Hogs. They might not help immediately, but if they work hard and stay, their time will come.

If they make the kind of transition Devo made his first year, they will be solid contributors possibly by late February. Even if they make tremendous progress, they probably won’t get much playing time considering the skill of Smith, Black, Walsh, Davis, and Council.

If they show that they are able to make enough improvements to help next year, a redshirt year seems like a viable alternative to junk time in a blowout win.

Muss will make that decision. I bet he will make the right one.

If Devo has more games where he’s turning over the ball 6 or 7 times; then he will probably see his minutes cut in favor of Council/Dunning. He’s a junior he can’t have bad games like that anymore. Unlike previous seasons, there are plenty of other options available (Dunning, Council, Ford, Pinion) that can play a similar SG/SF role. Devo’s gotta value the ball on O and not cough it up so much, becuz the team needs him on the court with all of his big game experience.