In one of the worst shooting performances in college basketball history, Arizona State senior guard Eddie House launched 16 field goal attempts in a game at Brigham Young on Dec. 7 and made none of them. The BYU band—in that compassionate way that college bands will—punctuated House's day of infamy by repeatedly playing the old Commodores' song, Brick House. In the Sun Devils' next game, against San Diego State, House sank 16 shots in the first half alone on his way to a school-record 46 points. Three games later, on Dec. 29 against Penn State, House nailed all six of his three-point attempts while scoring 42 points. No Arizona State player had ever scored 40 twice in one season; House did it twice in 12 days. "The last months really a microcosm of Eddie's career," his coach, Rob Evans, says. "He has had ups and downs so extreme, I've never seen anything like it in all my years of coaching."
House has a tattoo reading LETHAL WEAPON on his left arm, and those words have taken on different connotations during his four years in Tempe. In his first two seasons House exchanged punches with Arizona center A.J. Bramlett in an Oregon restaurant where both teams were dining, and later he engaged in a shouting match with teammate Bobby Lazor on the Sun Devils' bench. In the summer of 1997 House was arrested for allegedly helping a teammate steal a CD player, the last in a series of incidents that brought on the forced resignation of coach Bill Frieder, who was replaced on an interim basis by Don Newman. While the charges against House were dropped, the incident further tarnished an already sullied reputation. "Everybody makes mistakes, and I made a lot of bad decisions," House says. "It made me look like a bad person, and I blame myself."
When Evans was hired after the 1997-98 season, he thought his reputation as a disciplinarian would cause House to transfer. Soon after, House skipped a summer school class and Evans sentenced him to a "5 at 5," a five-mile run at 5 a.m. Evans was surprised when House arrived at 4:30. Eventually House began to remind Evans of an undisciplined player at Lubbock Christian Junior College in the mid-1960s, a guy named Rob Evans. "People said I was a bad kid, but I wasn't. I just got away with whatever I could," Evans recalls. "Eddie needed structure in his life. His competitiveness causes him trouble, but I like the way he answers adversity."
In 1996 House chipped several teeth in a game, but he came back to play the next day after three root canals. Last season House was advised to sit out a month after breaking his jaw in a practice, but he came back four days later and averaged 19 points in six games with the jaw wired shut. This summer, after hearing about a lapse in House's schoolwork, Evans wouldn't let him accept an invitation to try out for the World University Games, and House has responded with his finest season. In the four games after the BYU debacle he averaged 35 points. At week's end he led the Pac-10 in scoring average, with 20.6 points a game. "It has been a hard-fought climb to the top," House says. "Maybe this season is finally my redemption."