Dec 26, 2012, 5:13 PM EDT
San Diego State lost their second game of the season on Christmas night, falling to Arizona in one of the more thrilling finishes you’ll see this season.
If you missed it, after a second half that saw both teams exchange haymakers, Mark Lyons hit a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats up 68-67 before Nick Johnson saved the win by coming out of nowhere to block a would-be game-winning layup by Chase Tapley.
The only other time that the Aztecs have played an elite team this season was when they lost to Syracuse in their season-opener, although the fact that that game was played outside on a windy day should discount that game. But it does create a bit of concern; last season, SDSU put together an impressive record, but a lack of impressive wins — especially outside of conference play — led to some concern heading into the NCAA tournament.
That concern was proven correct, as the Aztecs got smacked around by NC State in the opening round of the Big Dance.
And while this year is trending in the same direction, watching SDSU in the Diamond Head Classic only made me believe that this group will be better than last season.
For starters, Chase Tapley has slowly but surely developed into one of the nation’s most underrated players. He’s a deadly jump-shooter that thrives in the clutch. I’m not sure there are five players in the country that I would want taking a big three more than Tapley. It doesn’t hurt that Xavier Thames is also shooting the ball much more effectively than he did last season as well.
Perhaps the biggest difference with this group, however, is that they are much longer and more athletic than they were a season ago. Jamaal Franklin has not been as effective as he was a season ago, as his shooting numbers are down and his turnover numbers are up. Part of the reason for that is because he’s spending more time at the three than he did a year ago, when he played the Kim English-esque, undersized four role.
And while that may make Franklin’s stat lines a bit uglier at the end of the day, it should be a good thing for SDSU as a whole. Franklin is still going to be a tough matchup for small forwards across the country — especially with his ability to rebound the ball — and having versatile four men like Winston Shepard, Dwayne Polee and JJ O’Brien lining up alongside better-than-we-thought bigs like Deshawn Stephens and Skylar Spencer will allow SDSU to better matchup with some of the bigger front lines.
Whether or not Franklin will be able to buy-in to the fact that SDSU will be better with him playing a small role.
But if it wasn’t for a ridiculous play made by Nick Johnson, I don’t think that this would be a discussion that we needed to have.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
May 26, 2013, 12:19 AM EDT
A couple of words the board at Rutgers might want to re-acquaint themselves with: “due” and “diligence”. Just weeks ago, Scarlet Knights men’s head basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for verbally and physically abusing his players during practice, in a scandal that also took down the school’s AD. Rutgers alum Eddie Jordan was hired…
May 25, 2013, 10:20 PM EDT
We know the road to the 2014 national championship will end in Dallas (Arlington, whatevs) next season. Now we also know that the title chase will begin there as well. ESPN’s Jason King is reporting that eight teams will meet at American Airlines Center on November 8, headlined by a potential Top 25 matchup between…
May 25, 2013, 9:10 PM EDT
Former Virginia guard Paul Jesperson has made his transfer decision today, and he’ll be joining the Northern Iowa Panthers. Jesperson, a former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball, got off to a slow start in Charlottesville, seeing little playing time as a freshman. As a sophomore, his defensive prowess earned him more minutes, but his offensive skills still…
May 25, 2013, 5:06 PM EDT
Jesse Morgan had a rough season at UMass last season, to say the least. Morgan, along with teammates Cady Lalanne and Trey Davis, was suspended from a preseason exhibition game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. Then he went down with a season-ending ACL injury on January 10, in the midst of his strongest season to date.…
May 25, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
We just found out that Mike Krzyzewski will continue to shepherd America’s elite international basketball squad. Amid a tacit assertion of predictability in the coaching ranks, Coach K paid lip service to the notion that it’s time for USA Basketball to physically move out of its current offices in Colorado Springs. “I think in the near future…
May 25, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT
Former Texas Tech and Santa Clara guard Decensae White was arrested on murder charges stemming from the death of a rapper from Georgia named Lil’ Phat. White played at Texas Tech from 2006-2008 and was a member of the Santa Clara program during the 2008-2009 season. After a hiatus from the sport, White returned this…
May 25, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT
Myles Turner is one of the hottest names on the AAU circuit this spring. The 6-foot-11 center Euless, TX, has the kind of length and athleticism that makes scouts drool, and he just so happens to have a face-up game and the ability to knock down a jump shot in pick-and-pop actions. That’s why he’s…
May 25, 2013, 12:10 PM EDT
EAGAN, Mn. — As the EYBL nears the end of its regular season over Memorial Day weekend near Minneapolis, many of the top uncommitted players in the 2014 class are seeing their recruitments pick up before the summer months begin. One player drawing tons of attention is Alabama Challenge shooting guard Devin Booker. The 6-5…
May 25, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
Lamar and head coach Pat Knight announced on Friday the signing of three junior college players to add to Lamar’s latest recruiting class. The Cardinals will add a pair of forwards in Octavius Green and Tyran de Lattibeaudiere, and also add potential All-Name Team member and point guard Nimrod Hilliard. Lamar had previously signed junior…
May 25, 2013, 10:34 AM EDT
Oregon State senior forward Joe Burton will graduate from the school in June after a four-year career and over 1,000 points scored. But although many college players with such a pedigree look to play professional basketball after their careers end — as Burton will also do — Burton’s mother said that he could also go…
May 24, 2013, 8:55 PM EDT
With Javon McCrea and Cameron Downing entering their senior campaign at Buffalo, first-year head coach Bobby Hurley can use some additional front court depth that will benefit the Bulls in 2014. Hurley’s numbers received a boost on Friday afternoon, as it was reported by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com that former Marshall forward Jamir Hanner has…
May 24, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT
According to the Idaho Statesman, Boise State freshman forward Vukasin Vujovic has decided to leave the program. In his one season at Boise State, the native of Serbia saw action in just nine of the Broncos’ 32 games. In those nine games the 6-9 Vujovic averaged just 4.0 minutes and 1.4 points per game. Vujovic’s…
May 24, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT
When it was announced just over a month ago that Central Connecticut State leading scorer Kyle Vinales would look to transfer, the biggest factor in his decision was a desire to reach postseason play. Vinales, who averaged nearly 22 points per game as a sophomore, at one point tweeted his decision to transfer to Toledo only…
May 24, 2013, 4:38 PM EDT
With the recent news that former Purdue forward Sandi Marcius would transfer to DePaul, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped in this scenario. That would be Donnavan Kirk looking to finish his collegiate career at another institution. On Friday the school announced that it has granted Kirk permission to…
May 24, 2013, 2:37 PM EDT
Last November the organizers of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced its completed eight-team field, with programs such as Florida State, Georgetown and Michigan being confirmed participants. Also among the eight teams: Auburn. But apparently something changed with the Tigers’ schedule, leading to a report from Andy Katz of ESPN.com that Northeastern would be the eighth…
May 24, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT
During the spring multiple allegations surfaced regarding Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle’s treatment of some of his players, and some of the charges went well beyond the use of profane language. In one instance former center Ryan Bross alleged that he was forced to run sprints until ultimately soiling his shorts, despite stating the…
May 24, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT
In an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” this morning, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski discusses topics such as his decision to return as head coach of the US men’s national team for the 2016 Summer Olympics and his future at Duke. Also of note were Krzyzewski’s comments on incoming freshman Jabari Parker, stating that…
May 24, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT
Earlier this week an advertisement for Calhoun’s BBQ done by former Tennessee basketball player Steven Pearl hit the airwaves, and it included a reference to current Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft. But that reference has led to the compliance department at Ohio State getting involved, looking to make sure it’s clear that there was…
May 24, 2013, 10:20 AM EDT
In the aftermath of Sheldon Jeter’s decision to transfer from Vanderbilt it was reported that Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings was blocking Pittsburgh as a possible destination. Some assumed that tampering was the reason for the move, but according to a report by Andy Katz of ESPN.com that may not be the case. Regardless of…
May 24, 2013, 8:52 AM EDT
With the graduation of leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, there was a chance that 6-6 forward Myke Henry would see more opportunities to produce for Illinois in 2013-14. However it seems as if the Chicago native won’t be around to realize such possibilities, as it was reported by the Champaign News-Gazette that Henry…
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