While San Diego State has been one of the nation’s best teams in recent years when it comes to defending and hitting the offensive glass, perimeter shooting has not been a strength for the Aztecs. And with Matt Shrigley, the team’s best returning perimeter shooter, having suffered a torn ACL this summer it’s a situation head coach Steve Fisher and his staff need to find a way to address ahead of the 2015-16 campaign.
Enter 6-foot-4 shooting guard Ben Perez, who committed to the program Friday as a preferred walk-on according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. While Perez won’t have a scholarship this upcoming season, he won’t have to go through the rigorous tryouts that most walk-ons are subjected to. And as a player capable of knocking down perimeter shots, there could be the opportunity to earn some playing time despite the long odds.
“When the coaches laid out the situation and the track record they have with walk-ons and the chance I’d have this year, I felt it was the best opportunity for me,” Perez said. “They wrote down the whole depth chart and broke it down for me. They said: “There are really only one or two players at your position.’
“They didn’t make any promises obviously, they just told me I’d have an opportunity. But this is probably the best year to walk on.”
While San Diego State will be an early favorite (along with Boise State and a talented UNLV) in the Mountain West, there are some question marks to address. Most notably there’s the point guard position, where they’ll need freshman Jeremy Hemsley to show he’s ready to go from the start (which would also move Trey Kell back to his more natural shooting guard role).
And there’s also that perimeter shooting question, with Kell and wing Malik Pope among the possibilities (as is Perez). Defending and rebounding have been critical for SDSU in recent years, but if they’re to exceed last season’s performance they’ll need to be better offensively.