The San Diego State basketball team lost one of their only remaining shooters when guard Matt Shrigley tore his ACL, sidelining him for most, if not all, of the upcoming season. It's a tough loss for a team already weak when it comes to perimeter shooting. But SDSU may have lucked out thanks to head coach Steve Fisher and his reputation for giving chances and playing time to non-scholarship players.
Ben Perez is the newest Aztecs recruit, verbally committing to SDSU yesterday as a walk-on, as reported by Mark Zeigler of the The San Diego Union-Tribune. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard attended Air Force last year and played for the school's prep academy, where he lead the team in points. After deciding not to pursue the military life, he returned home to San Marcos (in North San Diego County) and reclassified as a 2015 high school graduate in order to play for AAU's Dream Vision team, coached by Clayton Williams.
While playing for Dream Vision over the Summer, Perez caught the interest of SDSU's coaching staff, who were following the team while scouting another shooting guard, class of 2016 Johnny McWilliams. Perez also caught the interest of other schools like Iona, Portland, Rhode Island, and Florida Gulf Coast. But despite scholarship offers from Division I schools, it was San Diego State whose offer seemed most valuable to Perez.
They didn’t make any promises obviously, they just told me I’d have an opportunity. But this is probably the best year to walk on.
Coach Fisher and his staff offer an opportunity at a big-time program that has a good track record with walk-ons. And with the roster painfully short on perimeter shooters, the opportunity for playing time, starts, and possibly even a future scholarship at SDSU, is even bigger than for most walk-ons. Trey Kell and Malik Pope are really the only other two perimeter shooters the Aztecs have, so Perez may be able to collect some valuable minutes and really help the team down the stretch.
Perez told Zeigler it was "a dream come true," getting the chance to play for a team he's been watching in the arena he's been going to since he was little. Now, instead of watching and cheering from the crowd, The Show will be cheering his name.