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March 9, 2012

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to EdwardFLewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Krish: We have heard a lot about the QB competition. How are some of the other position battles playing out? Specifically at RB and D-line?

That's been the weird thing about this SDSU camp. Outside of the quarterback battle, there really aren't any position battles going on. At running back, you know Walter Kazee and Adam Muema are going to be your workhorses, so the battle there is really for the No. 3 spot. Right now, Brandon Wright is my favorite for that job. He's had a stellar camp in my opinion and has been consistently busting off long runs whenever he gets the chance.

As for the defensive line, it's in a very similar situation to the offensive line this spring. Two starters are injured, so it's hard to get a read on who will play where and who's making a push at whom. But Dontrell Onuoha has been a beast out there this spring, and if everything turns out OK with his legal troubles, he should be locked in as a big-time defensive end for this team in the fall.

The only other questionable battles out there are at wide receiver and warrior. With receiver, it's clear Colin Lockett, Brice Butler and Dylan Denso are the big three at this point, but Jemond Hazely and Larry Clark have had great camps so far. At warrior, Rene Siluano and Gabe Lemon will be pushing Marcus Andrews when he returns from his injury.

Outside of those, the starters are pretty much clear cut, or won't be close to determined until August.


Jake: Regardless of class, who are some of SDSU's recruits that you've seen in person that you've been most impressed with?

That list starts with Matt Shrigley for me. Every single time I have gone to watch one of his games, he's put on an absolute show. Whether it's the best poster dunk I've seen in person or his abuse of the higher-rated Robinson twins, Shrigley gets it done on the floor.

Then of course there's Winston Shepard, who talent-wise and size-wise is maybe the most impressive recruit I've ever seen. Brandon Randolph knows how to fill up a stat sheet, Parker Jackson-Cartwright is just ridiculous and Roschon Prince is always a treat to watch as well.

But the one recruit I would watch any chance I get is Marcus LoVett. As a 2015 freshman in high school, he looks like he could play and do well in the Big West right now. He scores with ease and has some of the best handles you'll find on the West Coast.


Kevin: With the men's team being so loaded next year, why is there still talk about adding Anthony January? How could it work?

Well, the reason the talk is still circulating is because January is one of the premier athletes in the state. There's talk from our national guys over at Rivals.com that he might not only get a boost in the new Rivals150 next month, but he might even get a bump up to a four-star rating.

Now, there's two ways January landing at SDSU could work. The easiest would be if January goes to a prep school next year, gets all of his transcripts / grades in order, and joins the Aztecs in 2013 when they have four free scholarships. The second option is, as we've chronicled so often these past few weeks and months, to hope a scholarship frees up some way, somehow in the next few months. It will definitely be interesting to see if and how this how works out.


Matt: We all have Xavier Thames penciled in as the starting point guard, but is there a chance Shepard overtakes him next year?

This really is a great point that I think has been underrated in the "Who will be the starting five?" debate. When Thames is on, he might be the best point guard in the Mountain West. But, and I think a lot of this has to do with his knee injury, when he's off his game, it's not really pretty.

Meanwhile, by all accounts from most scouts and coaches, Shepard is a true NBA prospect. We've yet to really see what he can do as a full-time point guard, as he plays the wing at Findlay Prep, but he has insane size and skills and will get the opportunity to showcase his potential at the one next season for SDSU. If he's as good as most believe he is, he really could contend to be the starting one for the Aztecs next year.


Daniel: How do you see SDSU's NCAA Tournament seeding playing out with regard to their play in the Mountain West Tournament? What's the worst and best case scenarios for the Aztecs this weekend?

If SDSU loses tonight to Colorado State, that would obviously be the "worst case scenario." But since the Rams are all but a lock to be an NCAA Tournament team, I don't see how that would affect their seeding all that much. It's not a bad loss, it's on a neutral court and the Selection Committee will see it's not easy for a team without depth to win two games in 24 hours. So I would think the Aztecs stay at about a six or a seven seed.

If SDSU beats Colorado State, and then beats either UNLV or UNM in the championship, that "best case scenario" I think skyrockets SDSU all the way up to a four or even a three seed, especially if the Aztecs end up beating UNLV on its home court for the 'ship.

Really, though, I don't think seeding is the biggest factor in all of this. Proximity will be the key, in my opinion. And whatever seed gets them closer to San Diego for the first round should be the biggest concern at this point.


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