‘Mountain Men': Aztec Basketball Earns Prestigious Mountain West Conference Awards

San Diego State head basketball coach Brian Dutcher is the conference coach of the year, while Aztec senior forward Matt Mitchell is the conference player of the year

Mountain West Conference coaches really like what San Diego State accomplished on the basketball court this season and have recognized two Aztecs for their excellence with postseason awards.

In a vote by the conference's 11 coaches, Brian Dutcher was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year. This is the second straight season he's been the recipient of the award.

This season, Dutcher's team posted a 14-3 record in league action, and in the last two seasons, he's led San Diego State to a 31-4 record in conference play.

Dutcher has led the Aztecs to back-to-back Mountain West regular-season titles, and the team was the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Tournament both years as well. The Coach of the Year category has been dominated by the Aztecs in recent years, with a San Diego State coach winning six of the last 11 seasons: Steve Fisher took home the award in in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Also, senior forward Matt Mitchell was named 2021's Mountain West Player of the Year and a first-team All-Mountain West performer. Mitchell averaged 15.4 points, 5.5 rebounds,1.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44.7% from the floor and 38.0%jfrom three-point range.

Mitchell is the fifth Aztec in the Mountain West era to earn league player of the year distinction, joining Brandon Heath (2006), Jamaal Franklin (2012), Xavier Thames (2014) and Malachi Flynn (2020). Not a bad way to end the regular season for Mitchell, who considered turning pro after his junior season at San Diego State.

Mitchell and Dutcher weren't the only Aztecs honored by conference coaches. Senior guard Jordan Schakel is a second-team All-Mountain West selection and junior forward Nathan Mensah is an honorable mention All-Mountain West honoree. In addition, Mitchell and Mensah are members of the Mountain West All-Defensive Team.

San Diego State ended the regular season on an 11-game winning streak and opens up Mountain West Conference tournament play Thursday in Las Vegas.

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