The San Diego State Aztecs and head coach Brian Dutcher have benefitted like no other from the extra year of player eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Four fifth-seniors return for the team this season. They will be the favorites in a strong Mountain West.
You can check out the previous team in my rankings right here.
Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #22 San Diego State Aztecs
The returners are led by Matt Bradley, a first-team All-Mountain West selection last season. After three very good years at Cal, he transferred to SDSU. He averaged career-highs in rebounds, assists, and steals a year ago and was the leader of the team. Bradley has a chance to be the Mountain West Player of the Year this year. Nathan Mensah is the other big name returning. The Ghanaian anchors the team’s defense in the post. He led them in rebounding last year and was seventh in the conference.
Keshad Johnson and Lamont Butler are two other starters that are returning. Both of them started for the first time last season and both coincidentally had the best seasons of their collegiate careers so far. Adam Seiko is the fourth of those four fifth-year seniors that are returning for the Aztecs.
The Aztecs’ elite defense was already talked about. It will amazingly be even better this year with the addition of Oakland transfer Micah Parrish, a Horizon League All-Defensive team member. They also have a great new point guard. Darrion Trammell comes all the way down the coast from Seattle. He earned All-WAC honors in both seasons with the Redhawks and in both the regular season and conference tournament. He was also a WAC all-defense performer once. Trammell will also help to take some of the pressure off of Bradley on offense and gives the Aztecs a second great scorer. There has also been a lot of buzz around former TCU transfer Jaedon LeDee, who sat out while redshirting last year.
As was already said, San Diego State was elite defensively last season. They were second in adjusted defensive efficiency and first in defensive rating. The Aztecs also only gave up 58.1 points per game, which was second in the nation. If they can figure out how to score more (311th in PPG last season.) then they can be one of the best teams in the country.
PF – Nathan Mensah (7.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.2 BPG)
SF – Keshad Johnson (7.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG)
SG – Matt Bradley (16.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG)
SG -Lamont Butler (7.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG)
PG – Darrion Trammell (17.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG at Seattle)