San Diego, CA- San Diego State Aztecs basketball head coach Steve Fisher, junior Winston Shepard and senior J.J. O’Brien held their first press conference of the season Tuesday as they begin practice this Friday.
More from San Diego State Aztecs
- Aztecs forward Winston Shepard Should Be Applauded For Staying In School
- SDSU Aztecs On All Cylinders In Polee’s Return
- Aztecs Run Rebels Out In Return Home
- SDSU Shocks No. 25 Wyoming In 60-52 Win
- San Diego State-Wyoming: Defenses Battle
Winston Shepard when asked what are the Aztecs expectations for this season, expressed their desire to reach the Final Four.
"“I don’t want to make promises and things like that, but our goal as a team is Final Four. We’ve got a long time to get better.”"
J.J. O’Brien shared the same expectations as Winston Shepard.
"“We still have a lot of time to form our identity as a team. Of course we think we’re a great team and we have the ability to get to the Final Four and win an NCAA championship. So those are always our goals, but like I said, we still have a lot of time to build as a team.”"
Coach Fisher on the pressure to do well this upcoming season.
"“Pressure is good if you manage it and know how to manage it. Also, a lack of pressure and feeling the heat of expectations can be good, like last year. We’re moving past the stage of saying `Wait until next year.’ We knew we were going to be good (last season), we won 31 games. We’re going to be good this year. We’re going to be hard-pressed to win 31 games. Not many teams in the country win 31 games. Every year we talk about hanging a conference championship banner. If you do that, you’re going to get into the tournament. So that’s what we want to do. We’ve been there five-straight years, we want to be in the tournament again. When you’re in the tournament, you’ve got a chance. Last year we kept saying, `Why not us?’ We’ve proven again and again that we’re very close. Now how you go from very close to getting there is the tricky part. But you have to get up to bat to get there.”"
The Aztecs open the season on November 7th and expectations are very high for this seasons team.
The Aztecs went (31-5) last season and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, before falling to No. 1 Seed Arizona 70-64 . The Aztecs also won the Mountain West regular-season championship with the most conference wins by an Aztecs team, as they went (16-2) in conference play. The San Diego State Aztecs finished last season ranked No. 12 in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll’s, despite being unranked to begin the season.
This season the Aztecs will be ranked in the Top 25 polls to begin the season. All preseason rankings, have the San Diego State Aztecs in the Top 25 to begin the season, some rankings even have the Aztecs in the Top 10 to begin the season.
Despite the loss of leading scorer Xavier Thames and leading rebounder Josh Davis, the Aztecs return three starters in Winston Shepard, Skylar Spencer, JJ O’Brien and Dwayne Polee, Matt Shrigley, Aqeel Quinn and Dakari Allen off the bench. To go along with that the Aztecs are bringing in a a top-15 recruiting class, the highest ranked recruiting class in program history in freshmen Trey Kell, Kevin Zabo, Malik Pope and Zylan Cheatham.