Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

No. 16: San Diego State Aztecs

2009-10 record: 25-9 (11-5), tied for third in Mountain West
Lost to Tennessee in NCAA tournament opener
Coach: Steve Fisher, 198-149, 11 years (382-231 overall)
Last NCAA miss: 2009
2010-11 roster [click here]
2010-11 schedule [click here]

The good: Get used to hearing Kawhi Leonard’s name. The 6-7, 225-pound sophomore posted 13 double-doubles and averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds a game last season. And here’s a scary stat: college players tend to improve most between their freshmen and sophomore seasons.

If Leonard’s not enough, the Aztecs return every other starter from last season, including steady seniors Malcolm Thomas and D.J. Gay. Santa Clara transfer - and San Diego native - James Rahon is sure to be a fan favorite. He offers instant scoring off the bench.

The bad: SDSU has everyone back, but Leonard’s the only game-changer - and he can be indifferent on offense. If the Aztecs emerge as a mid-major capable of making a deep NCAA tournament run, they’ll need more production from their guards, particularly sophomore Chase Tapley.

Defenses will sag on Leonard and Thomas inside, but SDSU only hit 31.8 percent of its 3-poointers last season. That won’t cut it.

The unknown: The Mountain West sent four teams to the NCAA tournament last season, and is poised to do so again. Stiff competition up top offers no room for error, lest SDSU receive another 11 seed to the NCAA tournament. Fisher’s had talented teams before, but they’ve always hit various stumbling blocks.

If this team can’t break through, it’ll never happen for SDSU.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.