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College Basketball Preview: 12. San Diego State Aztecs

12. San Diego State Aztecs 26-8 in 2011 (10-4 Mountain West)

Steve Fisher has built a program to be envied at San Diego State, once that of as a doomed university. Last season was no different as they won 26 games, including 10 in the Mountain West, finishing in a tie for the best in the conference. They should have another dangerous team in San Diego, with the return of four starters (all listed as guards). But, maybe their biggest return was Fisher who has shown he can find ways to win, recruit and even gets players to transfer. How could is this Aztecs team? They could dance all the way to the Elite Eight.

Jamaal Franklin

Backcourt: Nobody can argue that this the best unit in the Mountain West, as Fisher's backcourt is talented, deep and experienced. Junior point guard Xavier Thames is back after a strong sophomore season in which he averaged 10.1 points per game and 4.1 assists. He is efficient and shouldn't turn the ball over too much. The return of Chase Tapley means the Aztecs have proven scoring and experience. Tapley enters his fourth season as starter as the squad's top outside scorer and he also has a solid mid range game. Another returner in the backcourt is senior James Rahon who plays hard and is a consistent option. Jamaal Franklin may be the best overall player in the MW, averaging over 17 points last year and also contributing in the rebounding game. He'll be tough to stop and could end up getting into the middle of All-American honors. Junior LaBradford Franklin should be the backup to Thames at point and is effective.
Chase Tapley
Frontcourt: A whole lot of transfers should help solidify a frontcourt that lost Tim Shelton, Garrett Green and Alec Williams. St. John's transfer Dwayne Polee could play some big minutes up front. He can score and rebound but shouldn't dominate in any category. Virginia transfer James Johnson has had troubles so far in his collegiate career but has the potential to be a solid contributor up front. Utah pickup J.J. O'Brien should also play the occasional minutes. One of the lone returners in the frontcourt is DeShawn Stephens who is an efficient scorer. He has the size to be a prolific rebounder if given the minutes. The biggest X-factor for SDSU is freshman Winston Sheppard who has the tools to be dangerous. But, he was arrested in the offseason for marijuna possession.

Top NBA Prospect: Jamaal Franklin
Mountain West Rank: 1st
PG Xavier Thames- Junior
SG Chase Tapley- Senior
SF James Rahon- Senior
PF Jamaal Franklin- Junior
C DeShawn Stephens- Senior
Sixth LaBradford Franklin- Junior

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