2010-11 College Basketball Season Preview: San Diego State

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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San Diego State Aztecs (Last Year: 25-9, 11-5 in MWC)

2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:

F/C: Malcolm Thomas (Sr)/Brian Carlwell (Sr)/Mehdi Cheriet (Sr)

F: Billy White (Sr)/Tim Shelton (Jr)

F: Kawhi Leonard (So)/Alec Williams (So)

G: Chase Tapley (So)/Jamaal Franklin (Fr)/James Rahon (So)

PG: D.J. Gay (Sr)/LaBradford Franklin (Fr)

Gone: G-Kelvin Davis, SG-Tyrone Shelley (transfer-Georgetown College)

2010-11 Outlook:
Steve Fisher has the luxury of returning his top five scorers from a year ago. The frontcourt is long and athletic with seniors Billy White and Malcolm Thomas, and NBA Draft lottery prospect Kawhi Leonard who is coming off a very impressive freshman season.

Former Illinois transfer Brian Carlwell is a big body who will bring his physicality and experience off the bench. You have to feel for Tim Shelton who is coming off the fourth knee surgery of his career. If he can stay healthy, Shelton adds even more depth to what would be a very talented and versatile frontcourt.

Senior D.J. Gay is back to run the point and will likely be flanked by Chase Tarpley in the starting backcourt. Both players can shoot the three and do a good job of taking care of the ball. Santa Clara transfer James Rahon becomes eligible after sitting out a year and will bring his sharpshooting off the bench. The Franklin freshmen should compete for playing time right away with LaBradford having the potential to be an immediate difference-maker.

The Mountain West sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament last season including the Aztecs. San Diego State edges BYU as the favorite to take the conference title with UNLV and New Mexico nipping on their heels. Unlike last year, do not expect San Diego State to be sweating it out down the stretch of the season and needing to win the MWC tournament to get into the dance.

Player to Watch: Kawhi Leonard, SF
The athletic 6-7 forward made a huge splash at San Diego State becoming the first ever freshman to earn first team All-Mountain West honors. He is extremely aggressive on the glass, finishing .1 rebound per game away from averaging a double-double. Leonard’s glaring weakness is his outside shooting as he hit just 20.5 percent of his triple tries. If he can improve his jumper this season, it will greatly benefit the Aztecs and almost assuredly make Leonard a legitimate lottery prospect.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/16 at Gonzaga
  • 12/1 at St. Mary’s
  • 12/4 vs. Wichita State
  • 12/8 at California


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