TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State University head women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne today announced that all-time Sun Devil great and current Indiana Fever guard Briann January has been named assistant coach at ASU.
January, who helped lead ASU to 104 wins – the most in program history in a four-year span – while playing for the Sun Devils, will continue her professional playing career with Indiana where she is currently preparing to start her ninth season.
“I am so excited for this opportunity,” January said. “Charli and I have been in communication about my transition into coaching for a few years now and so this opportunity came at the perfect time. To me, Charli is one of the best coaches in college basketball and to be able to learn from her is the ideal scenario for me as I start my coaching career.
“I can’t say enough about the current team. I watched them all season and they have so much potential and talent. I can’t wait to get on the court and start working with them after the WNBA season concludes. Being able to go back to my alma mater and give back is a dream-come-true opportunity for me. I had such a great experience in my four years and it really shaped the person I am today and it allowed me to achieve everything that I have and I want to give that opportunity to the kids I’m coaching.”
January, who last year was named to the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball All-Century Team, concluded her Sun Devil playing career at or near the top of several ASU career statistical categories including assists (first), free throw percentage (first), steals (second), free throws (second), 3-point field goal percentage (fourth), 3-point field goals (fifth) and points (seventh). A two-time Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, January earned honorable mention All-America recognition from the Associated Press and WBCA in 2009. During her four-year career the Sun Devils won 77 percent of their games (104-32), including 82 percent of their Pac-10 games (59-13), and qualified for the NCAA Tournament all four years, including two Elite Eight appearances (2007, ’09).
“Our entire Sun Devil family is thrilled to welcome Briann January back to Tempe and Arizona State University as a member of our coaching staff,” Turner Thorne said. “Over the last few years Bri and I discussed her desire to eventually transition into coaching and I did not hesitate to reach out to her when the opportunity presented itself. Bri’s competitive spirit, positive energy and basketball IQ are tremendous and we are looking forward to her sharing all those outstanding attributes with our current and future Sun Devils.
“We fully support Bri continuing with her WNBA career for as long as she desires – I would not have it any other way. Anytime I’m out recruiting I use Bri as an example of what we look for in a Sun Devil. She is someone who truly loves the game of basketball, loves to compete and will do anything and everything she can to help her team win. On behalf of Sun Devils everywhere, it is our pleasure to welcome an ASU star and Sun Devil for life back home to help us win even more championships.”
January was selected by the Fever with the sixth overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. In that time she has played a major role in helping Indiana qualify for the playoffs each of the last eight seasons, including three trips to the WNBA Finals and a WNBA championship in 2012. January is coming off a 2016 campaign in which she averaged 9.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and a career-best 4.7 assists per game while being named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive Team for the fifth straight season.
In 2014, January was named to the East All-Star Team for the WNBA’s annual All-Star Game that was played in Phoenix. In 2012, January averaged 10.0 ppg in the WNBA Finals to help lead the Fever over the Minnesota Lynx for the WNBA title. As a rookie in 2009, January had an immediate impact as Indiana made its first WNBA finals appearance.
The Sun Devils are coming off their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance as they advanced to the second round of NCAAs where they nearly upset eventual national champion South Carolina on its home floor after taking a one-point lead into the game’s final minute. Turner Thorne, who posted her 400th win as ASU’s head coach last month, will return for her 21st season and will lead a squad that will look to match the school record of five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and five straight 20-win seasons.
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