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ASU coach Bobby Hurley spoke highly of former guard, NC State’s DJ Horne before Final Four

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As NC State is set for it’s Men’s Final Four clash against No. 1 Purdue on Saturday afternoon, former ASU guard DJ Horne will return to the Valley repping a different college.

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In doing so, familiar faces around the state of Arizona will be keeping tabs on how Horne performs, including his former Sun Devils head coach, Bobby Hurley.

Big Stage, Bigger Opportunity

When speaking to reporters virtually via Zoom, Hurley spoke about Horne and how he feels about the opportunity one of his former players has on a big stage like the Final Four.

“When we brought him in from Illinois State, we saw how productive he had been and I thought his game would translate moving up a level from mid-majors,” Hurley said. ” He has continued to work and get better every season, so I am not surprised he has taken another step particularly late in the season. He was great to me and I am excited for him to have this opportunity.”

“We gave him the freedom to be who he is, to give him the opportunity to showcase the best parts of his game. We work on player development and DJ’s got better every year. I see him playing at a really good pace. You can tell the amount of basketball he has played at this level. Making good decisions out there and letting the game come to him. His IQ and knowledge of the game – in addition to his skillset – is all coming together and that’s a process a player will take years to get to that point.”

While at ASU, Horne spent two years (2021-23) in Tempe. In 65 games (62 starts), the North Carolina native averaged 12.5 points and 0.9 assists in 29.8 minutes per game.

During his second and final season with the Sun Devils, ASU went 23-13 overall and 11-9 in the PAC-12. Arizona State would lose 72-70 to No. 6 TCU in the 2023 NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Running with the ‘Pack

With one year left of college eligibility, Horne decided to transfer to NC State for the 2023-24 season.

Appearing in 39 games, the guard has started 35 times as a member of the Wolfpack. He is averaging 16.8 points (career high), 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Due to his teammates and his efforts, NC State punched a ticket to the ACC Tournament as the No. 10 seed and has not looked back since.

Coming in as underdogs, NC State would beat powerhouses like UNC, Duke, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse.

After winning the ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack were the No. 11 seed coming into March Madness and are now in the Final Four.

Standing 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, not being a big-name recruit before college and facing other challenges, Hurley believes that Horne has overcome these obstacles to where he is today.

“DJ is a fighter and he believes in himself,” Hurley said. “Like a lot of small guards, he plays with a chip on his shoulder. When he gets going and starts making a couple shots, you better look out because he is a dangerous guy. I think his confidence grows, his belief grows, he is just a guy who can run points off in a hurry. He was overlooked maybe and has persevered through a lot of adversity. He’s the kind of guy you want to go to war with. You believe he will play winning basketball and make plays to help you win.”

On Saturday, NC State faces Purdue inside State Farm Stadium in Glendale at 3:09 p.m. PT.

Former ASU guard Braelon Green commits to BGSU

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers Phoenix Sports News for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account, @AlecCipollini

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