Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley admits NIL “plays a big role” after key players enter transfer portal

TEMPE — Bobby Hurley has reaffirmed his position as Arizona State’s men’s basketball coach after agreeing to a two-year contract extension that will keep him on the sidelines through the 2026 season at Desert Financial Arena.

The former Duke legend led the team to its best season yet, racking up 23 wins and earning his third NCAA tournament appearance during his tenure.

For Hurley and his staff, the expansion allows them to show potential transfer players interested in joining the Maroon and Gold that Hurley will be their man.

In this ever-changing college basketball landscape, coaches are already on the phone and coordinating visits with transfer players with one weekend left in the NCAA tournament.

For college coaches, the new NIL and transfer rules make the next few weeks an essential stretch for roster reconfiguration to find guys who fit their basketball model.

“I think there’s a variety of factors that come into play and each person’s situations and reasons are different and their motivations are different,” Hurley said during the press conference announcing his contract extension.

“I would say so [NIL] certainly has an impact, there are people all over the country that are in the portal trying to figure out what they can do in NIL and stuff so it plays a big role trust me.”

In recent years, the state of Arizona has lost and gained dramatically due to the portal and opportunities offered elsewhere through NIL.

At the end of the 2021 season, Remy Martin left and earned a Toyota Camry and a ring with Kansas. However, after a season in which four of the five starters were transfer players, Hurley is confident Arizona State is still a place boys want to come to.

“We’ve lost people on NIL to places that have genuinely championed it. Things we couldn’t compete with, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try,” Hurley said. “Arizona State is trying the Sun Angel Collective. So we can’t pretend it doesn’t matter, but I don’t think that’s the only reason anyone would specifically go into the portal.”

So far, Hurley’s roster has had a hit in the early weeks of the transfer season with key contributors in DJ Horne, Jamiya Neal and Austin Nunez all entering the portal. According to Hurley, he’s still actively recruiting his people but is also exploring outside options to build a roster he believes can compete for championships.

While noting that NIL was not the only factor in their decision to leave the company, he recognized the importance of the transfer portal and how it can impact an off-season program.

“Any coach, even coaches who are taking on new programs right now, can change that program immediately. This is exactly how the transfer portal is structured. The way you can change a roster instantly and put yourself in a position to win,” Hurley said.

“So I think there will be changes every year. There will be guys who will explore their options for different reasons. Then there will be guys who will knock on the door and want to come here. So we’ll do our best to keep everyone we can. And if that’s not the case, we’ll bring in someone to do the work.”


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