San Diego, CA- San Diego State Aztecs senior forward Dwayne Polee II and junior forward Winston Shepard have been named to the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference team. The Aztecs are the only team with multiple players on the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference team.
With the loss of leading scorer Xavier Thames the Aztecs will need Winston Shepard and Dwayne Polee II to step-up their game this season and be the go-to guys on offense.
Dwayne Polee II last season was the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year averaging 8.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Dwayne Polee II was a key reason for the Aztecs advancing to the Sweet 16 scoring in double figures in their final five games off the bench. Dwayne Polee II will be a starter this season for the Aztecs and will be expected to be among the team’s leading scorers. This is big season for Dwayne Polee II as he posses incredible athleticism and could be the fourth San Diego State player to be drafted in the last five years with a big offensive season.
Shepard is the Aztecs top returning scorer and was a Mountain West Honorable Mention last season after averaging 11.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Like Polee II, Shepard was a key reason for the Aztecs advancing to the Sweet 16 due to his improved scoring and defense. Shepard a former top recruit, has been given the keys to the Aztecs offense this season. Shepard will be expected to be the team’s leading scorer and has been predicted by many media outlets to be the Mountain West Player of the Year.
When Shepard arrived at San Diego State many expected him based on his recruiting accolades to be a one and done player, but Shepard instead has needed a few seasons to grow and the Aztecs will need him to live up to his potential this season. Shepard has always had the potential to be a first-round NBA draft pick as a 6’9 versatile and athletic forward. If Shepard improves his outside shooting, overall scoring ability and has a big offensive season to go along with his shutdown defense, he could be the fourth San Diego State player to be drafted in the last five years.
The San Diego State Aztecs have been picked to win the Mountain West this season in the annual Mountain West Preseason Media Poll. According to Mark Zeigler of UT-San Diego, the Aztecs received 34 of 35 1st-place votes. Boise State was the only other school to receive a 1st place vote.
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The Aztecs open the season on November 7th against Point Loma at Viejas Arena for their only exhibition game of the season 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.