Sept. 24, 2012
SAN DIEGO -
The San Diego State men's basketball team, back-to-back Mountain West regular-season champions, has been tabbed 15th in Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview's 2012-13 top-25 poll.
The publication, which features reigning MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin on its cover, has the Aztecs reaching the NCAA Tournament for a fourth consecutive season as a No. 4 seed in the East Region. As far as advancing in the Tournament, Athlon has SDSU reaching the round of 16 for the second time in three years.
Franklin has been recognized as a third-team All-American a season after earning AP Honorable Mention All-America accolades. The junior was also rated as the second-best scorer nationally behind Baylor's Pierre Jackson and was selected to the preseason all-MW team.
Chase Tapley, meanwhile, is regarded as the ninth-best shooter in the nation for an Aztec side that is predicted to finish second in the Mountain West by the publication.
SDSU newcomer JJ O'Brien, who sat out last season after he transferred from Utah, is one of Athlon's 40 Key Transfers. The 6-7 sophomore forward out of Rancho Cucamonga will be eligible at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. Lastly, fellow newcomer, freshman Winston Shepard, was ranked No. 32 on Athlon's top-100 freshman list.
The Aztecs, who finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 26-8 record, are coming off their fourth straight season with at least 25 victories and their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. In each of the last seven years, SDSU has won 20 or more games and advanced to the postseason.
In 2012-13, San Diego State is slated to return four of its five starters and its top four scorers from last season. The Aztecs are also slated to welcome three Division I transfers and a heralded recruiting class that was ranked No. 24 nationally by Rivals.com.