Aztecs Basketball–Sneak Preview
They will play college basketball on Wednesday night at Viejas Arena.
San Diego State, trying to return to glory, will host UC-San Diego, in an exhibition game, the scene setter to the opening of the college season next week when they open the campaign against Texas Southern.
Coaches hate the “R” word….’rebuild’…but they will subscribe to the “R” word…’reload’.
Brian Dutcher will have an all new back-court…3-transfers, led by Washington State transfer Malachi Flynn, an explosive scorer, and complimented by Santa Clara transfer KJ Feagin and JUCO star Trey Pullman from Navarro JC in Texas. They can shoot, pass, play defense and interchange roles.
SDSU has had suck quality guards for so many years. Pick any name and you knew you were in good hands. There is a legacy, from Xavier Thames to Trey Kell, DJ Gay to Winston Shepard, Chase Tabley and Devin Watson, all the way back to back to Al Faux when the program first turned the corner thanks to Steve Fisher..
Dutcher faces a challenge trying to mix and match big men. Gone over the last two years, are Jalen McDaniels and Malik Pope, explore baseline around the rim talents..
Feisty wide-body toughie Matt Mitchell returns, coming off scope surgery. Young developing center Nathan Mensah has so much upside at a young age. But SDSU has challenges putting consistent production around them.
The only promising freshman is Keshad Johnson, a jumping jack forward, who brings credentials much like past promising frontline guys, like Kawhi Leonard, Billy White,Pope and McDaniels. .
Dutcher had lots to say as he walks on the court on Wednesday night.
..Seems like forever since we have played a big game.
..3-new Aztecs starters on the floor
..Yanni Wentzel and Malachi Flynn will debut on Viejas floor along with the two transfer guards..
..We have 1-returner in Matt Mitchell…but lots of young veterans off the bench…guys who have played well in sports.
..Excited to get Keyshad Johnson on floor-exciting freshman.
..He is talent like a Billy White-type of athlete
..Biggest challenge is on defensive end-so much responsibility on them.
..Get his confidence up to take shots
..When you sign 5th year seniors..they play immediately..we are not rebuilding but reloading.
..Between transfers-junior college players…we have experience.guys who have played lots of basketball.
..We believe we can make NCAA tourney
..Kids came here for winning tradition….7-NCAA tourney berths in 10-yeqrs.
..We have a high bar here…..
..I have to balance my goals…play freshmen…play new transfers to get them used to our way..
..Rolling over teams doesn’t help us…we want to get everyone involved in system.
..We have talked to UCSD about regular season game next year when they go Div 1.
..They have 5-returning players so they wills and up to us on Wednesday.
..Matt Mitchell-magnificent in his approach to weight training…got heavy last year…down to 240-pounds his freshman weight.
..He’s missed 7-weeks from knee scope surgery-but he is on track.
..Kawhi Leonard-in LA…invalauable to the program-work ethic amazing-plus-talent made him best player world…have him part of San Diego State basketball is important.
..Fegin-Pulliam-Wetzel…5th year seniors have played a lot of basketball and now they are here…expect them to play well for this year.
..Malachi Flynn..dynamic leader… work in progress with Feagin to get used to each other.
..Malachi will score a lot of points…he did a great job moving the ball…he is a game’ night lights come on’ player….part of his game he is keeping back…playmaking in game situation is going to be good….he will move.
..On Aztecs players thinking about NBA…so many people in their ears…Being a coach-it’s a challenge…Jaylen McDaniels tested NBA waters after first year…then finally went…money is so good in NBA…play in Europe-good money…..Players-Agent work on these deals…Coaches do not have much input…they plot their course.
..Guys playing abroad can make good money, not so much in G-League, but like McDaniels, he can go up and back to Charlotte when they need him, as he learns in D-League.
Jamall Russell and Malcom Thomas are playing on the same team in China and making good money too…Going away sometimes is good.
..NCAA new rule…think it is a great thing for student athletes (potential marketing deals)…We have to see what it looks like on paper before we react to it….Devil is in the details……coaches association should have input…Don’t know if it will impact San Diego market-players, as compared to players in bigger markets….Don’t remember many Chargers players having marketing deals, so don’t know if it affects us too much.