San Diego State Aztecs basketball head coach Steve Fisher has announced that injured freshmen Zylan Cheatham and Malik Pope will not be ready at the start of the NCAA basketball season. San Diego State Aztecs home opener is Friday, November 14 at home against Cal State Northridge.
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"“Malik is kind of at our discretion. We’ve been taking it a little slower than even he thinks we should. We’ve had him do some 5-on-0 and individual stuff lately, but he hasn’t done any live, competitive stuff, even 1-on-1or that kind of stuff. Hopefully that will be the next step.” -Coach Fisher"
Cheatham and Pope are the key pieces of the Aztecs top-15 recruiting class, the highest ranked recruiting class in program history.
Zylan Cheatham is a 6ft, 7 in. power forward out of South Mountain High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Cheatham went down with a broken foot in August and went in for foot surgery right away. His recovery time was expected to be 3-4 months so a January return is very likely.
Malik Pope is a 6 ft, 8 in. small forward out of Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, Califronia. Pope is the highest ranked recruit in program history. Pope was a 5-star recruit and ranked as the 17th best recruit in the nation. He went down with a broken leg during his junior year of high school. He injured the same leg earlier in the year and is not expected to be seen this season.
The Aztecs will continue to be careful with both players in their recovery. These athletes are the future of the San Diego State Aztecs basketball program and should not be rushed. Either player could be a candidate for red shirting this season as well.