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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 22nd, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

San Diego State Aztecs

 

Overall Rank: #50

Conference Rank: #3 MWC

 

2005-06: 24-9, 13-3, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

There are all sorts of reasons for all sorts of teams to win the Mountain West and San Diego State is no exception.  Finishing third in the MWC will be no easy task this season, but an NCAA bid for the third place squad will be pushing it.  With four starters returning Coach Steve Fisher has an experienced and talented group.  Reaching the top 25 is a feasible goal, but things will look different without Marcus Slaughter on the floor.

 

Whos Out: Slaughter averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks as a junior before heading to the professional ranks.  With the graduation of part-time starting centers Trimaine Davis and Mohamed Camara, the interior depth will be an issue.  Sharp shooting guard John Sharper provided a nice spark off the bench and averaged 8.8 points per game during his senior campaign.

 

Whos In: Lorrenzo Wade will add some more athleticism to the Aztec squad.  The 6-6 transfer from Louisville appeared in 35 games for the Cardinals as a freshman and will use his explosiveness to thrill SDSU fans for the next three years.  Jerome Habel was rated one of the best junior college transfers heading into this season.  The 6-10 power forward averaged 16.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last year at San Bernardino Valley College in California.  Coach Fisher needed an experienced big man to help quell the loss of Slaughter and there arent many better options than Habel.  At 6-9, John Pastorek has the size to play the post, but after growing nine inches in high school, the Anaheim, California product has the skills of a perimeter player.  Jervaughn Johnson has the strength to compete right away in the MWC.  The 6-6, 225 pound Compton, California native can play either forward spot and has adequate skills inside and out.  Point guard Kashif Watson will spend the year coming off the bench.  Hes long, quick and tough and should gain some valuable experience as a freshman.

 

Who to Watch: Mohamed Abukar averaged 14.3 poinst and 4.7 rebounds per game after missing the first ten contests of the campaign due to transfer rules.  The 6-10 power forward has a nice mid-range jumper, but the Aztecs will need Abukar to step up his rebounding this year.  Kyle Spain may need to spend some minutes at the four instead of his more natural small forward spot.  Hed be undersized at 6-5, but the sophomore is a solid rebounder no matter where he ends up playing.  While the backcourt might have the stars, the play of the frontcourt will determine how successful of a season this will be for the Aztecs.

 

Final Projection: Brandon Heath is the big man on campus after averaging 18.4 points per game as a junior.  The All-American candidate has a knack for scoring and will be the team leader.  Heath ranked first in scoring, free throw percentage and three-point field goals made in the MWC last year and by the end of this year, we will probably be able to add a few more distinctions to that list.  Point guard Richie Williams had a tremendous freshman season and big things are expected this year as well.  Hes only 5-9, but Williams can sneak through the lanes and find his open teammates with the best of them.  The only real issue for SDSU is the lack of experienced depth.  The other problem is what is shaping up to be a tough top of the MWC.  Over the last few years, this SDSU would be first in the conference, but not in 2006-2007.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Richie Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 6.6 points per game

Brandon Heath, Senior, Guard, 18.4 points per game

Kyle Spain, Sophomore, Forward, 9.2 points per game

Mohamed Abukar, Senior, Forward, 14.3 points per game

Jerome Habel, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

51 UMASS Complete List 49 Houston

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