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. 


Since: Oct 11, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:36 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

towcoach - only problem I have with Bill Self is Kevin Young.  He was an SDSU commit from Nov 10 until May or June.  Then somehow he ended up in Kansas.  I thought coaches were not going after committed players??? Young is not a superstar for Kansas, but those healthy legs would make a world of difference for the Aztecs this year.  By June there was no opportunity for Fisher to fill that spot.  So, both programs are doing better than expected.  Since the article was on the biggest surprise, the Aztecs probably qualify.  Coach of the year??? If doing more with less counts, I'd still go with Fisher.
I'm not going to argue with ez - the Aztecs would not dominate the BE.  For what it's worth they did beat likely leaders of the Pac12, Cal and Ariz as well as UNLV.  Beating a Long Beach team (that beat Xavier and Pitt) in Long Beach  was also a decent win.   They are better than most.  They deserve their ranking for what they can do.  The question is if they will hold up and be doing as well at the end of the season.

Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:34 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

hahaha Suck it Rebel Scum

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:01 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Kansas lost 4 starters plus two key reserves plus a transfer plus three incoming recruits and they are going to be back in the top 5 next week. Fisher is behind Bill Self for National Coach of the Year.

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 8:40 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

San Diego has one win and 2 losses versus "quality" opponents .  1/3 of their wins are against teams that have a .088 winning % against Div ! teams . I think Fisher is a great coach but I do not think giving the Aztecs the keys to the kingdom is called for just yet . Hype makes people read ads . No true value here . Dan Diego st is 39th to 69th in ALL the "system" ratings .

Since: Oct 11, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:22 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

Love the Aztec talent.  Tapley came through when needed last year, but didn't have to on a loaded team.  His work really shows this year.  Rahon plays with a broken bone in his foot and is also a major threat.  J Franklin is developing into a star.  The Xman is replacing DJ as well as anyone could.  They can play with anybody if they stay healthy and if their legs hold up.  This is a rebuilding year.  They do not have the depth they need.  Really hoping they can do well through all of the high elevation venues in the MWC.  This is something most conferences don't have to deal with and don't appreciate.  Then there is always my favorite rivalry and my annual greatest concern, a rematch with UNLV.  We could sure use another big.  Wasted a scholarship when a commited big backed out last May - too late to replace him.

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