Although the 2015 recruiting class won't have the star power of this year's class, Coach Fisher and his staff may come out just as satisfied. With plenty of young players that are ready to demonstrate their talents in the 2014-2015 season, the Aztecs' future looks pretty bright in the hands of Malik Pope, Trey Kell, Zylan Cheatham, and Kevin Zabo.
Add in upper classmen Skylar Spencer, Dakari Allen, Matt Shrigley, Angelo Chol and D'Erryl Williams (assuming Winston Shepard goes pro after his junior year), and the 2015 roster already looks pretty promising. However, there are still a few areas that can be improved.
As of now, SDSU has only one scholarship left to give for the 2015-16 season (although the commitments are verbal at this point, so Fisher hasn't officially given out any new 2015 scholarships yet). Expect that scholarship to go to either four-star shooting guard Rex Pflueger or one of the prospects described below.
It was recently announced that three-star power forward/center Brodricks "Buddah" Jones verbally committed to San Diego State. This means that, as of now, there are three big men on the 2015-2016 roster. But believe it or not, that is NOT enough. Front-court depth was a problem for the Aztecs last year--with Spencer often in foul trouble--and will be a problem again this upcoming year with only two bona fide big men on the roster (we'll see what kind of player Zylam Cheatham turns out to be). Spencer and Chol will be seniors in the 2015-2016 school year, so Fisher has to plan for the future. There are a few prospects other than Jones who Fisher and his staff are pursuing in hopes of improving their front court for the 2015 season and planning for the post Spencer/Chol era.
With Bennie Boatwright (ranked 45th in his class according to ESPN.com) recently announcing his verbal commitment to USC, there is only one other big man left on SDSU's radar, Ernest Aflakpui from Pennsylvania. Alfakpui has offers from SDSU and programs like La Salle, St. Joseph's, Temple, and Villanova. Alfakpui is a 6'9" 220-pound center who is the 17th-ranked center in his class, according to 247sports.com. Alfakpui is more of the prototypical Aztec big man. He has a high motor and is an outstanding rim protector and rebounder. Scout.com reports that he has medium interest in all of his nine offers, so don't expect a commitment anytime soon. According to 247sports.com, Alfakpui has only visited two schools back east: an unofficial visit to La Salle and and unofficial visit to Rhode Island. With Boatwright's verbal commitment to USC, expect Fisher and his staff to be a little more aggressive with their recruiting of Aflakpui.
Guards with efficient shooting
With Aqeel Quinn entering his final year with the Aztecs, the only guard who is really an outside threat for the 2015-2016 season would be Trey Kell. Other players who can hit the three ball on that roster include Matt Shrigley, who will be a junior, and Malik Pope, who will be a sophomore (assuming he doesn't redshirt). Recent SDSU players, such as Chase Tapely and Xavier Thames, have demonstrated the importance and danger of having guards with a solid jump shot. On the other hand, guards like Shepard have shown that it complicates the offense when your guards struggle with shooting. Williams, Allen and Zabo--the other current guards projected to be on the 2015-16 roster--are, as of now, mediocre or poor shooters.
There are several guards out there that SDSU has shown interest in, but look no further than Stephen Thompson, Jr. out of Bishop Montgomery High School.
Thompson is a 6'4" combo guard with the ball handling skills of a point guard and the catch-and-shoot abilities of a shooting guard. Thompson is the 55th-ranked 2015 prospect player by ESPN.com--the fourth-ranked California prospect. Thompson can shoot while spotting up or off the dribble. He can come off a screen or pull up in transition. He's also a very good passer and has a good basketball IQ.
I've been able to see Thompson first-hand. In March I went to watch Thompson and Bishop Montgomery play Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Sierra Canyon has some of the top players of the 2016 and 2017 classes, including Devearl Ramsey (Team USA 17U member) and Cody Riley, ESPN's 7th-best 2017 recruit. But Thompson put on the best show. He scored 26 points, hitting three after three, getting anything he wanted against some of the best players in the country. Thompson eventually led Bishop Montgomery to a Division IV state championship.
Thompson would be a great addition for the Aztecs. Similar to Tapley, Thompson is not very athletic, but he is crafty and can shoot the ball like no other. Thompson currently holds offers from SDSU and other schools like UNLV, USC, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Colorado, Gonzaga and New Mexico. SDSU has a pretty good shot at landing the sharpshooter, and I assume the Aztec staff is pushing for Thompson just as hard--if not harder--as it is for Pflueger.
Although Thompson would be the ideal pick up for the Aztecs to improve their outside shooting among guards, Garden Grove native Marcus LoVett, Jr. would be another good option for Fisher. From a pure talent standpoint, the 6-foot, 165-pound LoVett is one of the nation's best, as ESPN.com ranks him the nation's 11th-best 2015 point guard. LoVett currently has offers from SDSU, UCLA, and UC Irvine, according to Rivals.com. LoVett has gone to several different schools around the Los Angeles area, but because of his low grades and his high school's low profile, his name hasn't gotten much attention from the non-local powerhouses.
LoVett is known for his exceptional ball handling skills, but he also can shoot the ball very well. He hasn't shown much catch and shooting because he has the ball most of the time, but he has shown he can shoot off the dribble, something that most college guards struggle to do. However, LoVett isn't exactly known for his defense, something that is a MUST when playing for Coach Fisher. Don't expect Lovett's name to draw much attention from college coaches his senior year. It's really up to LoVett at this point; he has laid low the last few months, not giving out any information about his basketball future. If the Aztecs miss out on Pflueger AND Thompson (very unlikely) expect their attention to go towards LoVett.
If you thought Thompson's highlights were impressive, check THIS out!
The future looks pretty bright for the Aztecs, but there is always room for improvement. Front-court depth and guard shooting are both holes that need to be filled on the 2015-2016 roster. Unfortunately, SDSU only has one more scholarship to give. It'll be interesting to see if a current Aztec transfers after next year, or if Shepard goes pro. If either of those scenarios happen, Fisher will have another scholarship to work with.