Aztecs ready to again challenge Mountain West

In News by Ken Cross

By Ken Cross

As coach Steve Fisher took the San Diego State basketball program to it’s highest levels in his 19 years, the script flips to his well established assistant Brian Dutcher as the Aztecs open their schedule tomorrow evening against San Diego Christian in Viejas Arena.

Flip Card – San Diego State vs San Diego Christian

SDSU is looking to rebound off it’s 19-14 season of a year ago and hopes to push the envelope in challenging MW favorite Nevada.  Dutcher discussed how hard this team has worked to see such improvement.

“All of these improvements, to a large degree, are based on the improvements that these kids put in over the summer to improve themselves not only strength-wise but also shooting-wise,” he commented, “As coaches, we’re reaping the benefits of that now on the floor, and the whole team is. Hopefully it’ll continue and if hard work is rewarded, then we’ll have a better year.”

That dynamic has helped develop the depth with which the Aztecs will need to challenge in what will be a tough Mountain West.  The potential will be there for the league to get back to three or four NCAA tournament bids as it may have bottomed out last season.

“I started all three guards at USC in the closed scrimmage,” said Dutcher, “They played very well, and I could very well do that in the opener Friday or at Arizona State on Tuesday. That lineup will be based on who we’re playing and who’s playing well.”

Dutcher’s knowledge and experience join his basketball acumen as he was named Fisher’s successor several years ago.  Junior guard Jeremy Hemsley sees an immediate difference in the styles as the Aztec way will take on a different meaning with the culture and differences of Dutcher and Fisher.

“I know Dutch is a more happy-go-lucky guy – not saying that Fish wasn’t but Fish wouldn’t show those emotions as much as Dutch does, but at the same time, Coach Dutch does a good job of…when it’s time to be serious, when it’s time to get work done, he does a good job of making that clear,” explained Hemsley, who will accrue major minutes this season.”

After hosting San Diego Christian on Friday, the Aztecs head to Tempe for a Nov. 14 match up with the Arizona State Sun Devils.

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