Tag: San Diego State

Steve Fisher

San Diego State’s underwhelming offense

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There are a few highly-ranked teams this season that thrive on defense but have so far left much to be desired on the other side of the ball. One such squad San Diego State. Despite their overwhelming victory against San Jose State tonight — 90-64, a game in which the Aztecs scored 1.20 points per possessions — SDSU truly struggles executing their halfcourt offense.

Other than Arizona, there isn’t another team this year that can lock up an opponent like Steve Fisher’s group. The Aztecs have defensively stymied opponents, holding teams overall to .91 points per possession — that OPPP is still a robust .95 in Mountain West play — but the Aztecs are an offensive mess. Of the handful of teams that could compete for the national title this year, a group that includes SDSU, no other squad possesses a lower offensive efficiency rating than SDSU (1.06 PPP). They don’t have a perimeter outlet since SDSU doesn’t take, or make, many threes, so the majority of their scoring has to come from within the arc or at the bucket, but that offense, specifically their two-point shooting, has suffered, hovering around 45 percent in conference play.

One would think a team with Xavier Thames, however, one of the country’s most dynamic guards, would field at least a somewhat competent offense, but Fisher’s squad simply has trouble getting easy baskets. The reason is surprising — SDSU is way too dependent on one-on-one and isolation possessions. The team’s assist rate is one of the lowest in Division I, a shocking 38.4 percent; nearly three-quarters of SDSU’s field goal attempts come in the halfcourt and the team’s effective field goal percentage for a non-transition attempt is under 50 percent. Taking the numbers deeper, and a troubling pattern is further fleshed out: a majority of the shots in those halfcourt sets are twos, and the Aztecs’ field goal percentage is just 32.5 percent.

A significant problem for the Aztecs is ball-watching: both Thames and Winston Shepard have usage rates of more than 25 percent, but no one Aztec who plays significant minutes has a rate over 20 percent. The team relies too heavily on both guards to create and distribute that the offense suffers when an opponent does manage to contain the backcourt.

This offensive stagnancy was evident in this weekend’s loss to New Mexico, managing only four assists and posting one of their worst offensive efficiency ratings this year (.75 PPP). San Diego State’s top 25 ranking is largely attributed to their defensive fortitude, but if the Aztecs fall early in the NCAA tournament, a large factor will likely be this inability to score.

Trey Kell commits to San Diego State

NCAA Basketball Tournament - North Carolina State v San Diego State
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San Diego State added a second commitment in the Class of 2014 on Tuesday night, as Trey Kell, one of the best scoring guards on the west coast, committed to Steve Fisher and the Aztecs.

The decision wasn’t much of a surprise. Kell’s decision reportedly came down to SDSU and Vanderbilt, and the Commodores have already added a number of perimeter players in their 2014 recruiting class.

“It’s a dream of mine to play Division I college basketball,” Kell told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “and to play it in my hometown at such a high-caliber program around family and friends is really a dream come true.”

Kell isn’t an overpowering athlete at the off-guard spot, but he’s got size and he understands how to score. He has range well beyond the three point line and he understands had to use change of pace to beat defenders off the dribble. He will score a lot of points in the Mountain West.

Kell is the No. 118 player in the class, according to Rivals. He’ll join Kevin Zabo in the Aztecs’ 2014 class.

San Diego State assistant Mark Fisher diagnosed with ALS

NCAA Basketball Tournament - North Carolina State v San Diego State
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San Diego State is restructuring it’s men’s basketball staff in light of the awful recent news that assistant coach Mark Fisher — the son of head coach Steve Fisher — has been diagnosed with ALS.

The 34-year-old Mark Fisher has been with the Aztecs for 12 seasons — the last six as an assistant coach — and he’ll be remaining with his father’s staff as an assistant to the head coach according to a release from the school.

Filling Fisher’s assistant coach spot will be David Velasquez, who has served as San Diego State’s director of player development the past six seasons after spending time as a manager for the Aztecs from 2002 through 2007.

This is certainly some very sad news heading into the new season and we wish the Fisher family the best during this difficult time.