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San Diego State Aztecs Basketball Preview 09-10

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San Diego State is coming off a school record 26 win season and a trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semi-finals and looks for its fifth straight season of 20 or more wins and a postseason invitation. The Aztecs lost 4 starting seniors in Kyle Spain, Richie Williams, Lorenzo Wade, and Ryan Amoroso, yet were still picked to place second in the conference. Why is this, you might ask? Well, it is because of their nationally acclaimed recruit class which is buttressed buy an equally group of transfers.


According to ESPN, SDSU's recruit class ranked the best among non-BCS schools and 15th overall in the country. Along with freshmen Kawhi Leonard and Eric Lawton, Steve Fisher brings in 6-11 Brian Carwell from Illinois, as well as a pair of former high school and Pepperdine teammates, Tyrone Shelley and  Malcom Thomas. ( Additionally, Chase Tapley and Alec Williams join the group.

This recruit class joins returners Billy White, who was picked to be on the preseason All-MWC team, along with DJ Gay and Tim Shelton.

The recruit class is led by Kawhi Leonard, who in his senior season earned player of the year honors from The Los Angeles Times. Leonard averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 blocks in his senior season and was #56 on ESPNU's Top100 recruits.

Eric Lawton completed his senior season by averaging 22.5 points and Alec Williams and Chase Tapley also averaged over 20 PPG in their senior seasons.

As for the transfer class, 6'11" Brian Carwell from Illinois as well as two superstars from Pepperdine join the mix on Montezuma Mesa. Carwell, who reached the NCAA tournament as a freshman, did not play much in his stint at Illinois because of injury. He will join Billy White as the Aztec's big men.

SDSU is especially excited about two former Pepperdine players who have transferred to San Diego State.

Eric Lawton, who spent this past season at San Diego City College after playing his freshman campaign at
Pepperdine, ended his sophomore year as SDCC's team leader in nearly every offensive category. Thomas was named the 2009 CCCAA Co‑MVP and the Pacific Coast Conference Player of the Year while helping San Diego City College to a 28‑5 record.

Tyrone Shelley starred at Pepperdine as a freshman with his high school teammate Thomas. The 6‑5, 217‑pound guard was the team leader in PPG. For his freshman season, Shelley was named a 2007‑08 Mid‑Major Freshman First‑Team All‑American.

The Aztecs look to improve on their school record 26 win season and advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. The Aztecs have an early season nationally televised game on ESPN against rival St. Mary's from the WCC, and regular non-conference foes Arizona and Arizona State from the Pac-10. The Aztecs look to win these games to boast a strong non-conference schedule to show to the NCAA tournament committee in an effort to secure a at-large bid if they do not win the MWC tournament in Las Vegas.