San Diego, California - San Diego State is ranked 25th in Sporting News’ preseason top 25. The poll appears in the Sporting News 2016-17 Basketball Yearbook, which is on newsstands now.
In the publication’s preseason poll written by Ryan Fagan, he writes that No. 25 SDSU “will defend, and veteran coach Steve Fisher has a talented group of transfer ready to step in after practicing with the team last year.”
The aforementioned transfers include Montaque Gill-Caesar, Max Hoetzel and Valentine Izundu. Gill-Caesar, who came to the Aztecs from Missouri, and Hoetzel, a transfer from Indiana, sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Izundu, meanwhile, earned his bachelor’s degree at Washington State in 2015-16 and is eligible to play immediately for San Diego State.
With the trio of transfers and three returning starters, SDSU is the publication’s choice to win the Mountain West for a fourth straight season. The Aztecs enter the new campaign having won the last three MW regular-season titles, including last year’s outright championship, which featured a three-game separation between SDSU and its closest competitor.
Two returning starting guards, Trey Kell (No. 2) and Jeremy Hemsley (No. 5), have been tabbed as two of the Mountain West’s top 10 players, while Gill-Caesar leads the magazine’s top 5 newcomers. Assistant coach Justin Hutson, meanwhile, is atop the top 3 recruiters chart. In Sporting News’ Aztecs preview, it also lists Malik Pope as this year’s difference maker.
San Diego State is coming off a 2015-16 campaign that saw it finish with a 28-10 record, its Mountain West-leading 10th conference championship and an appearance in the semifinals of the NIT