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Transfers help solidify San Diego State’s hoops future


Mike Miller

San Diego State’s hoops fortunes aren’t taking a dip anytime soon.

The Aztecs lost four starters from last season’s 34-3 landmark team (first-ever NCAA tourney win, AP ranking), yet are 14-2 this season and appear to be ready to make another run at a top-two Mountain West finish. They’ve done it with the help of transfers, Xavier Thames, James Rahon and Garrett Green, all of whom are either starters or play significant minutes.

Next season will be more of the same when transfers James Johnson, Dwayne Polee Jr. and J.J. O’Brien become eligible.

Polee, a California kid who stayed just one season at St. John’s, is an explosive athlete who can defend. Johnson, a 6-9 forward, spent 16 months at Virginia before electing to transfer to SDSU Wednesday (Cal, Oklahoma and Arizona all wanted him). Both should contend for starting spots. O’Brien figures to be a key contributor. And all three signal that SDSU has it figured it regarding transfers.

“It’s more about people than anything,” Johnson told the San Diego-Union Tribune. “I’ve being seeing all these facilities around the country, and they all look nice, but they fade really fast. I looked at the people and the relationships you have. Coach (Steve) Fisher, coach (Brian) Dutcher, coach (Tony) Bland, they’re really good people and they shoot straight with you and they want the best for you.”

Those three, along with incoming freshmen Matt Shrigley and Skylar Spencer, give the Aztecs one of their best recruiting classes in school history. And they still have one scholarship left.

Should make winning the Big West even easier.

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