College Basketball Insider

CBSSports.com Player of the Week: San Diego State's Xavier Thames

Jamaal Franklin gone.

No double-digit scorers returning.

So, as my pal Jeff Eisenberg pointed out late Sunday, this was supposed to be a transition season for San Diego State, just a gap year between relevant departures and the arrival of a heralded recruiting class. But we now know that isn't likely to be the case. The Aztecs are 5-1 with a close loss to Arizona and wins over Creighton and Marquette after taking the Wooden Legacy title in Anaheim. They went 3-0 in that event thanks, in part, to Xavier Thames averaging 22.0 points while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. Consequently, the senior guard is the CBSSports.com National Player of the Week.

"None of this would be possible without my teammates," Thames told reporters late Sunday, according to the Associated Press. "They were finding me when I was wide open."

Indeed, they were.

And he made them look smart for doing it.

So, again, Thames is the CBSSports.com National Player of the Week.

If you're interested, Jeff Borzello, Matt Norlander and I spent some time on Monday morning's podcast talking about San Diego State and the job Steve Fisher is doing, specifically how it's rare for a coach who is fired from one job in this sport (like Fisher was once fired from Michigan) to move forward and successfully coach another nationally relevant program (like Fisher is doing now at San Diego State). It really is a story that deserves more attention than it gets, especially considering Fisher seems likely to this season take SDSU to the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive time, which would be a school record. Seriously, hats off. Give the podcast a listen, if you haven't already.

Now about my updated Top 25 (and one).

Lots of SDSU fans have tweeted asking why the Aztecs weren't included, and it's a fair question. I could argue that SDSU is merely 33rd at KenPom.com and thus not necessarily worthy of inclusion, but I don't believe that. I think SDSU's resume, to date, is legit.

So why didn't I rank the Aztecs?

Here's the deal: I now update the Top 25 (and one) each day, and I generally do not like dropping teams out of the rankings that don't lose on that particular day. I'm not saying I'll never do it; I'm just saying I don't like doing it. And, truth is, only two teams that I had ranked Sunday actually lost on Sunday -- Oklahoma State and North Carolina. (Note: By Sunday, having adjusted earlier, I had neither Creighton nor Marquette ranked.) Clearly, I couldn't drop Oklahoma State all the way out because that would've been stupid, and Memphis, with that win over Oklahoma State, had to take the place that North Carolina vacated. So I quite simply did not have a spot for San Diego State in the Top 25 (and one), and I realize some fans will not agree with that explanation, but it is, if nothing else, my explanation.

Either way, know this: SDSU is on deck.

I suspect the Aztecs will be ranked here and other places very, very soon.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and college basketball insider for the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts an award-winning radio show in Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two sons and two dogs.
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