#38 San Diego State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #3 Mountain West

San Diego State Team Page#38 San Diego State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy San Diego State Basketball Tickets

San Diego State has some rebuilding to do, but Coach Steve Fisher has been down this road before with great success. Last season was marred with injuries and the Aztecs ended up being one of the victims of Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA Tournament. This group lacks the experience that Coach Fisher had at his disposal in 2012-2013, but the talent is still there for San Diego State to make a serious run at a Mountain West title and a trip back to the tournament.

2012-13 Record: 23-11, 9-7
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Steve Fisher
Coach Record: 281-186 at San Diego State, 466-249 overall

Who’s Out:
But reaching the NCAA Tournament is not going to be easy without Jamaal Franklin, two other starters and a key reserve. Franklin left early for the NBA after leading the Lobos with 17.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals. Replacing just one of those numbers is going to be tough. Chase Tapley was the other double digit scorer for the Aztecs. The sharpshooter knocked down 37.6 percent of his attempts from long range. James Rahon, who usually came in off of the bench, joined Franklin and Tapley as the top long range shooters for SDSU. Those three accounted for 148 of the team’s 202 three-pointers. The loss up front is Deshawn Stephens. He was the only player to start all 34 games last season and averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Who’s In:
There is returning talent that will step up, but Coach Fisher will have to get production from his versatile group of newcomers. Josh Davis is eligible immediately and the senior transfer from Tulane is one of the best transfers suiting up for a new team in 2013-2014. The 6-8 forward averaged 17.6 and 10.7 rebounds with the Golden Hurricane a season ago and he is ready to do the same on Montezuma Mesa. Ageal Quinn spent a couple years at Cal State Northridge. The shooting guard was on the Aztecs bench last season and that experience in the system and his ability to knock down a few long balls will give Quinn plenty of opportunity to see quality minutes at the two spot. Quinn will have competition on the wing from incoming freshmen Dakaral Allen and D’Erryl Williams. The former prep teammates are the future of the San Diego State backcourt and the future could be right now. Both are wings and while Allen is considered the better overall prospect, Williams is better suited to fill in the vacant shooting guard spot. Speaking of talented wings, 6-6 forward Matt Shirgley redshirted last season, but often dominated the practice floor. He can score from everywhere on the floor and his shooting prowess will be very important for this team.

Who to Watch:
With Davis joining the fray, the Aztecs are loaded in the frontcourt. JJ O’Brien is one of the most versatile players in the nation. The 6-7 forward can play anywhere on the floor and averaged 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds as a sophomore. Offensively, O’Brien does most of his damage in the paint, but he is an efficient scorer when he does shoot the ball. There were high hopes for Winston Shepard when he arrived on campus prior to last season. However, the 6-8 forward only averaged 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds. The high hopes have not diminished yet though and Shepard has the talent to turn into an all-conference caliber player. The question is whether or not that happens this year. Skylar Spencer is another talented sophomore. Spencer set the conference record in blocks for a freshman with 51. Spencer did not do much scoring as a freshman, but he is certainly capable of boosting his 2.9 points per game now that there are more shots to be had. Dwayne Polee II, who came from St. John’s, and James Johnson, from Virginia, did not make a huge impact during their first season with the Aztecs, but the potential is there as long as Polee and Johnson can find minutes.

Final Projection:
Even though the frontcourt will take on a much larger scoring role, the star of the team is in the backcourt. Point guard Xavier Thames battled through injuries a year ago, yet still averaged 9.5 points per game. Thames, a 6-3 senior, will take all of the big shots, especially while a true shooting guard is found. With all of the options, and versatility, in the frontcourt and Thames running the show, it is that gap at shooting guard that could keep this group of the NCAA Tournament. However, with options among the newcomers, Coach Fisher will find his shooter on the wing.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Xavier Thames, Senior, Guard, 9.5 points per game
D’Errly Williams, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
JJ O’Brien, Junior, Forward, 7.2 points per game
Winston Shepard, Sophomore, Forward, 5.7 points per game
Josh Davis, Senior, Forward, DNP last season at San Diego State

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.3 (121st in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.1 (44, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (144, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (32, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (185, 7)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.7 (218, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.3 (210, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (65, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (185, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (74, 7)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#86 Winston Shepard

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#78 Dakarai Allen


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