Aztecs Ready For Offensive Season

SDSU basketball team wants to improve on last year's scoring woes

San Diego State’s men’s basketball team opens its regular season at Viejas Arena against the San Diego Christian College Hawks. It will be the first game under new head coach Brian Dutcher and to hear the players tell it this truly will be a new era of Aztecs basketball.

“I think there’s a different level of trust with the players and the coaches this year so that’s something I’m excited about,” said junior point guard Jeremy Hemsley.

That’s not to say the Aztecs did not trust long-time coach Steve Fisher. What Hemsley means is on the offensive side of the ball new Head Coach Brian Dutcher is giving his guys a lot more freedom than they had the last few years.

“Defense has always been our trademark for the Aztecs,” said Hemsley, and he’s right. Only 14 teams allowed fewer points per game than SDSU last season. But they had the nation’s 281st-ranked scoring offense. Under Dutcher the Aztecs want to stay stingy on D while opening up the O.

“It’s going to be another year where we’re good on defense,” said Hemsley, “but we have so many threats on the offensive end of the floor I think it’ll be refreshing for everyone to see.”

So what changed? For one, they’re trying to get a lot more flow in the offense instead of grinding things down to a half-court game.

“I think our tempo is better,” said Coach Dutcher. “We’re definitely pushing the ball up the floor faster on makes as well as misses. We’re trying to get it up the floor and get into our offense quicker.”

There is a fine line between playing fast and playing reckless. Dutcher says they may be playing quicker but they are not shooting it quicker just for the sake of speed.

“We’re looking for what’s available quicker and I think we’re playing the right way which is encouraging to me.”

In both exhibition games against USC and UC San Diego the Aztecs put up a whopping 98 points. SDSU is not only scoring the ball; they’re protecting the ball, too, which might be even more impressive and encouraging.

“We’ve had six turnovers in the games we’ve scored 98 points,” said Dutcher. “That’s unbelievably low. So if that can continue they we’re gonna have an outstanding year.”

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