Visiting SDSU hoops fan here. Decent scouting report. About 70% accurate, but missing several key points. I’ll help y’all out wtih some comments/observations (and, yes, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever typed "y’all.):
Trey Kell- their biggest offensive threat. 6-4 guard, very strong.loves to drive, very good at drawing fouls. not a good shooter but will take his shots. not the best handler…in respect to houston, not sure if he will be keep up with smaller faster guards (he is very similar to bj taylor from ucf, but slightly bigger and worse shot)
Don’t sleep on Trey Kell. You might be tempted to, given his overall stats for the entire year – a year in which he was tabbed pre-season as first-team All-MWC and potential POY. But it’s been a rocky road. He sprained his left ankle early in the season in the second half of a game against Wash. St., a game in which SDSU had a double digit lead only to collapse late and lose a game that was theirs for the taking. He would return a few games later only to get kneed in the thigh and have to sit a couple more games with a deep bruise. Upon his return, he got sick, played poorly and then his illness morphed into pneumonia, causing him to miss another couple games. Upon his return, he sprained his right ankle and missed another three or four games. Kell returned in time for the Feb. 14 game against Wyoming in which he was able to right the ship following a 2-6 stretch that included back-to-back Feb. blowouts by Fresno St. and Nevada. The team hasn’t been the same since. Neither has Kell. And make no mistake, this is his team. In games without Kell, SDSU was something like 2-8. They play terrible without him. Since his return, and over the team’s 9-game win streak, Kell has racked up a remarkable 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He facilitates, with his favorite targets via interior passing as Pope and McDaniels. Kell’s favorite shot is a runner or teardrop in the middle of the lane or the pull-up jumper from 10 to 18 feet. He’s also adept at driving to the rim. While his three-point shooting is off this year, he isn’t afraid to drop a timely bomb when he’s feeling it. And he’s really the only player on this team capable of carrying it on his back late in games. It’s what he did in clutch wins over Gonzaga, Fresno St., Boise St., Nevada and New Mexico. Go back and watch the last five minutes of each of those games and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The guy is fearless, clutch and makes excellent decisions. And, no, Kell isn’t lightening quick, but he’s far from slow. Further, he’s the best defender on the team and is fully able to lock down the opposing team’s best guard. He’s also able to switch and guard 1 through 3 and sometimes 4 due to his size.
Devin watson- 6’1 G their point. has the ball most of the time, the only speedy-ish player they have. the only real threat at making his own shot from distance when guarded… but very turnover prone. takes a lot of reckless shots …a score first PG
Watson is a superb ball handler. He’s quick, can dribble and can drive the lane against just about anyone. He’s able to make some circus shots in traffic and definitely knows how to score. Against Nevada in the MWC Tournament, Watson hit back-to-back-to-back threes that turned what had been a close game into a laugher that SDSU led by 30 at the half. Watson is prone to driving into traffic and triple coverage at times, which drives me nuts. He’s also SDSU’s biggest liability on defense. Defense has been SDSU’s calling card since Steve Fisher first arrived here. He’s accomplished that by recruiting long, rangy athletes. Watson is the first player in a long time who doesn’t fit that mold. When he’s in the game, he requires help on D on many occasions.
Malik pope- 6’10 PF-- he is super skinny but he is essentially a guard. he has a very good midrange & he can shoot from the 3 well but doesnt do it often, will drive when he sees his opportunities. he does try to body people in the paint when he sees a mismatch, and he is their best rim protector. he and devin are similar, he is a skinnier but taller version of our devin
Pope came in as one of the highest-rated recruits in SDSU history. Many thought he would be one-and-done. He wasn’t. His first three years at SDSU were laden with lots of nagging injuries. This year, he’s been fairly injury free and seems to be really hitting his stride. He has great handles for a big man and a silky-smooth shot. When he gets separation from his defender, his turnaround 6 to 8 footer and/or his pull-up 10-footer is unstoppable. He has a high release that’s impossible to block. He first came to SDSU unable to play with his back to the basket, but was often forced to because our lack of interior scoring. This has added a new dimension to his game, though he’s not really hefty enough to back guys down in the post. Pope has great hands. He loves receiving interior passes and alley-oops and usually catches the defense napping three or four times per game. Pope has developed a telepathic/symbiotic relationship with Kell, with whom he’s played with for four years now. Kell is always looking for ways to get the ball into Pope’s hands. For his size, he was never a good rebounder early in his career, but that has changed. He’s now a frequent double-double guy. One of his biggest issues is that he sometimes drifts off and disappears seemingly for minutes at a time. He’s not the kind of guy to carry a team on his back. Also, he sometimes finds himself on the bench sitting for long stretches because of a couple early tick-tack fouls he seems to have trouble avoiding.
Matt Mitchell SF 6-6. bulky, loves the 3, takes more 3s than 2’s on most games… but is a streaky 3pt shooter at best,…he is also slow and not the best ball handler. most of his shoots come from being open or pick and rolls. tends to hang around the 3 point line (doesnt create his own). avoids contact despite size
You’re way off base with Mitchell. This guy’s a beast. He’s a poor man’s Charles Barkley. As for avoiding contact, that’s dead wrong. Dude’s a tank. Do not – I repeat, Do not – step between Mitchell and the rim when he’s driving the lane. Not if you value your health, anyway. Against Nevada, one of their 6’1, 190 lb. guards tried that and ended up with a sprained ankle after Mitchell sent him sprawling off the court and into a well of photographers and cheerleaders. He loves to take the ball to the rack. He’s also crafty under the basket with lots of English off the glass while finishing layups. He’s also a superb rebounder who uses his body to box out and is usually good for two or three putbacks after missed shots per game. He also loves shooting the three. He’s 36% from behind the arc on the year, but when he gets hot from outside, look out. He had an epic game early in the season against Eastern Illinois in which he hit 7 treys and scored a career high 31 pts. For most of the season, Mitchell had some bad freshman habits. He often would chuck cross-court passes that probably worked in h.s. but not in college. He would also dribble into traffic in the paint and get stripped. Had more than one or two five-turnover games. But those bad habits have been noticeably absent over the 9-game winning streak. Whoever gets assigned Mitchell on D will be feeling it the next day. Mitchell was vastly underrated and under-recruited in h.s. He hails from the same neck of the woods as Kawhi Leonard in S. Calif. He originally committed to Cal State Fullerton, but after blowing up on the spring/summer AAU circuit – and drawing the attention of Oregon, Arizona, Carolina, etc. – he decommitted and was a late commit (Aug. 2017) to SDSU. Many called it the steal of the recruiting season.
Jalen McDaniels- 6’10 C. their tallest starter, also really skinny. he doesnt try to body anyone more tries to grab the ball over. not great post skills but has amazing handles for a center, he is best drawing defenders out to the 3 and driving by them…used in pick and roles/lobs, and tries to his use length on put back…quick enough to stay on a guards on D
McDaniels has been a revelation. He’s a red-shirt freshman who didn’t play last year because he clocked in at 6’9", 180 lbs. He grew and inch and put on 15 lbs., which on his frame was hardly noticeable. But don’t be confused by his body. The dude is a ridiculously talented athlete. He’s absolutely spring loaded. He has big hands and cat-like reflexes with the ability to snag rebounds high out of the air. He can run the floor gracefully and has outstanding handles. Like Pope, he has a pretty stroke and is deadly with the pull-up jumper from 6 to 8 feet. Almost never shoots a three, but has been known to drain one from time to time. He’s an excellent garbage ball player and is good for anywhere from two to five offensive rebounds/putbacks. Woe is the defender who doesn’t think to box him out. And, like Pope, he has excellent hands. He loves to receive interior passes as well as alley-oops. McDaniels went toe-to-toe statistically all season long with UNLV’s 7’1" Brandon McCoy, a player many NBA draft pundits have going as a lottery pick. McCoy was named MWC Freshman of the Year, with McCoy undoubtedly coming in a close second.
Kameron Rooks, 7’1 center, girthy… not in basketball shape, can only be used in small spurts, not athletic, very slow. not a scoring threat…but makes great picks and his sheer size is a deterrent
Rooks had a forgettable first 7/8-ths of the season. But then he was inserted during Senior Day in a must-win game against Boise St. Dude was remarkable. Went 6-for-6 from the field and keyed a victory. He then played in stretches against an undersized Nevada, who had no answer for him. He’s a great change-of-pace player who can give the defense fits. Also, next to Kell he has the greatest positive points of anyone on the team. I believe SDSU is something like 12-0 in games in which Rooks plays for more than 10 min.
Max Montana,-6’8 PF… basically a guards, skinny, hustles and shoots the 3 really well but will only shoot it if he’s wide open (he is a PF version of vanbeck)
Montana has been up and down all season. When he’s on, he’s on. When he’s not, he’s not. He’s the team’s three-point-specialist, even though he only shoots about 36% from beyond the arc. He made a dagger 3-plus-1 against UNM – a spectacular 4-pt. play that essentially won the MWC Championship game for SDSU. However, he’s far from one-dimensional. He’s tall and fairly quick and plays a mean defense. He’s a solid rebounder and can drive the lane when needed. Played as a freshman at Indiana before transferring to SDSU.
Jeremy Hemsley 6-3 guard- lanky guard…used to be a huge player for sdsu but playing bad this year…streaky shooter but thats being nice, more of a bad shooter who shoots a lot of 3s because it occasionally goes in. could be their best defensive guard
Hemsley is an outstanding defender who is quick enough and tall enough to take on most opposing guards. His decision making is sometimes suspect and he’s prone to driving into traffic and getting stripped. With the addition of Watson, Hemsley has been demoted to backup PG. He can definitely shoot the three, and like his teammates, can light it up when he gets hot.
Bottom line is that this should be an excellent game against two superb teams. And, FWIW, no one in San Diego – not the coaches, players or fans – is looking past Houston. Best of luck, but not too much luck, on Thursday.