Blog Entry

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:50 pm
 

By Jeff Goodman

Kawhi Leonard may be in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, but he's still making his presence felt with his former teammates at San Diego State. 

"His work ethic, I think we all watched him and learned a lot," Aztecs guard Chase Tapley said. "I know I did. He's so humble, just wants to win and worked so hard and it rubs off on everyone else." 

But work ethic can only do so much. You still need talent -- and after Steve Fisher lost a first-rounder early in Leonard, and three other starters off last season's team, just about everyone figured it would be a rebuilding year. That San Diego State, one of the true feel-good stories a year ago, would return to mediocrity. 

Instead, the Aztecs - coming off a huge win at the Viejas Center this past weekend, are 15-2 and sit among the Top 20 teams in the country heading into Wednesday's tilt at the Pit in New Mexico. 

Fisher has done a remarkable job with this group, one that should put him right there for National Coach of the Year honors. 

"I think we all thought it was a rebuilding year," Tapley admitted. 

Tapley, the lone returning starter, has been phenomenal this season. He's averaging 16.9 points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 49 percent from long range. This coming from a guy who was a role player last season, one who averaged 8.6 points per game and played in the shadow of Leonard, Malcolm Thomas, D.J. Gay and Billy White. 

Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin is a terrific talent who had to wait his turn and is quickly taking advantage. James Rahon is a threat from the perimeter and two transfers -- Xavier Thames and Garrett Green -- have both been solid. 

The wins haven't been eye-opening until the one against UNLV. There was a road victory in Tucson, which is never an easy task, and another Pac-12 win against Cal. The Aztecs also took down the top two teams in the Big West: Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. 

However, beating the Runnin' Rebels gave this team credibility. 

"We knew that UNLV beat North Carolina," Tapley said. "And everyone knows how talented Carolina is. We knew that UNLV was going to be a huge test for us, and that we couldn't blow this opportunity." 

But now comes another. 

Comments

Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2012 2:24 am
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

It's Fisher in the west.

Back east, considering tonight's results: Brey > Boeheim.



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:15 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Didn't realize Arizona was that great this year. Try again.



Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:30 am
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

MikeSyr18 writes:
Until they actually beat a big time power conference school, I won't take SDSU seriously.
----
You do know they beat Arizona on Arizona's home court this year right? That's a school that frequently wins the PAC-10/12 and has more then a dozen sweet 16 appearances and has been to the final four more the same amount of times as Syracuse and has won a NCAA championship. Between 1985 and 2009, Arizona has reached the NCAA Tournament 25 consecutive years.  Since the institution of the two-round draft system in 1989 by the NBA, no school has had more draft picks than Arizona. Arizona also has the third highest winning percentage in the nation over the past 20 years?  Arizona made it to the Elite 8 last year and also like SDSU, lost to the eventual championship team Uconn.
I think that qualifies as a big time power conference school. Did I mention SDSU beat them on their home turf?






Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:44 am
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Syracuse is moving to the ACC. I could honestly care less.



Since: Sep 19, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:28 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Don't worry Mike.  We will have plenty of oppurtunities in the next few years as Big east is giving us Home and Away games each year becasue we joined for Football.  You guys will have to come out here for a change.  Plus why does UNLV not count?  They are not a "big time conf."  as you put it but they beat NC by ten and they beat Illinois at their place.  You mean we are nothing until we beat UConn or Duke or one of those?  I guess thats fair.  But we are up and coming and it takes time.  Took time for us to get here but it improves every year and has for the last 10 and this is how Arizona started decades ago.  We will see.



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 8:47 am
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Season ain't over yet, Billy.  We will see what we see.  
Didn't do it last year or the year before, probably won't do it this year either. 



Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:01 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

While San Diego St is a surprise, they had a nice run last year. It is an up and coming program that I would like to see more of. Oregon is a surprise this year, if they gel, they could make a little noise. Still I think San Diego St. is the best team in the west.



Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 8:50 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Until they actually beat a big time power conference school, I won't take SDSU seriously.
Season ain't over yet, Billy.  We will see what we see.  




Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 8:32 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Until they actually beat a big time power conference school, I won't take SDSU seriously.



Since: Jun 6, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:02 pm
 

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

@Tomahaha, Your missing the whole point of this article. The surprise is they LOST ALL OF THEIR STARTERS EXCPET FOR ONE. Nobody expected them to compete in the MWC let alone in the NCAA. This team was ruled out of any contention for the dance and was picked to finsh 5th in the MWC. SO for them to be ranked at this point and playing at the level they are is a BIG SURPRISE...!!! 


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