Malik Pope committed to San Diego State tonight, just days after he visited Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence for their Midnight Madness Festivities and a few weeks before he was set to visit Gonzaga. Pope was offered scholarships by college basketball elites, the best of the best, Kansas, Arizona, ASU, Georgetown, Louisville, Gonzaga, Washington, UCLA, USC and UNLV.
The 6 foot 9 inch wing from Sacramento is the #17 player in the class of 2014 according to Rivals.com, which makes him the highest recruit since Winston Sheppard last year at #21 and San Antonio Spur star Kawahi Leonard at #48.
"He really liked Coach Fisher and his history with wings like Kawhi Leonard, Jamaal Franklin, so on and so forth," LeRohn Dodson, director of Pope's AAU squad Team Superstar said. "He's a kid that doesn't mind being different and what I mean by that is he doesn't have to go to the biggest name school.
Pope picked SDSU over schools like Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown and many others because he felt he could come in there and do something special and help San Diego State get to the Final Four. "I think Coach Fisher is getting a program changer. They're getting somebody that is going to take them to the next level and help lead them to the Final Four. He's got that potential."
It looks like Steve Fisher, Brian Dutcher and Justin Hutson have the pipeline of Sacramento players coming to San Diego which includes: Chase Tapley, Xavier Thames and the two new kids from Sheldon high school Dakarai Allen and D'Erryl Williams.
Even though Kansas, Gonzaga, UCLA, Arizona and Washington did a good job recruiting, the Aztecs did a better job. Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames played a big part in that!
"Coach Fisher is a people person and really cares about his players and as for Justin Hutson - I think he's the best recruiter on the west coast. They are doing something really special with the program and play in a great conference. The Mountain West is no longer a mid-major - not at all. It's a great atmosphere for Malik to be in and I think he will do great things at San Diego State."
This leaves only Zylan Cheatham the 6 foot 8 inch power forward from Phoenix as the last piece of the Aztec puzzle. If Cheatham commits it will be the strongest Aztec class in history and would complete the Aztec Fab Five of Kevin Zabo at the one, Trey Kell the two guard, Malik Pope at the three, Cheatham at the four and Angelo Chol playing the five spot.
Cheatham tweeted "S/o to that boy Malik on the commitment..! #Aztecs" And Kell "SDSU future looking real bright right about now." Yes, the future is bright in America's finest city on Montezuma Mesa. Welcome to the Show Mr. Pope.