It's going to be a fight to see who gets the lion's share of minutes at point guard for the San Diego State Aztecs this season, but no other candidate provides the experience that senior Aqeel Quinn brings to the table.
After transferring from Cal State Northridge after his sophomore season, "AQ" practiced with the team the entire next year, and in his junior season he flourished with extended playing time.
Quinn averaged a little over 16 minutes per game, but his playing time increased as the season went on. He played in the team's final 29 games, and even got a start against Colorado State.
Coming off the bench against Fresno State last season, Quinn dropped a career-high 17 points in a 82-67 win on the road. In that game, Quinn hit six of seven field goals and made four of five 3-pointers.
While the 17-point outburst was flashy for the stat book, this was just a microcosm of what Quinn had been doing all season for the Aztecs. Quinn hit 28 3-pointers last season and had a .350 percent conversion rate on those shots, both of which were fourth-best on the team.
Along with his shooting range, Quinn provided a spark on defense with his lengthy 6-foot-3 frame and quick hands that not only make him a threat to grab rebounds from the guard position, but also a threat to grab steals. He had 25 steals last season, which was fifth-best on the team. That number is especially impressive considering he was eighth on the team in minutes played.
Quinn is also one of the most fiery defenders on this Aztec team. There are not too many plays where he is not in on the rebound, or just completely harassing the player he is guarding.
What makes Quinn a prime candidate for the point guard position, though, is his ball-protection. He had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35) and had 51 less turnovers than fellow guard/forward Winston Shepard.
The only thing that will keep Quinn off the floor this season will be the lack of minutes to spread out. Minus Xavier Thames, a grey area surrounds the SDSU point guard position, and the battle is coming down to Quinn, sophomore D'Erryl Williams and freshmen Trey Kell and Kevin Zabo.
It seems as though Zabo is the favorite to win the job to begin the season based on what players and coaches have saidabout his true point guard ball handling skills, but that does not mean Quinn will get any less playing time than he did last year.
Considering Zabo is a freshman, one can expect an experienced coach like Fisher to handle the young player's minutes the right way. That being said, Quinn will be a valuable asset off the bench that can not only hit 3-pointers, but provide an emotional spark on defense and play a smart brand of basketball.