December 20, 2006
State Versus State
For those not familiar with the cautionary tale of the gift and the curse, know this; from where you draw strength can also be the site of your demise.
Such is the story of the 2006-2007 San Diego State men's basketball team. For all their gifts, the Aztecs are completely wrapped up in themselves.
Last season, despite being picked as pre-season Mountain West Conference champions, SDSU acted as though they were the underdogs. Despite what everyone else thought the Aztecs were capable of, they knew they hadn't proven anything yet. That attitude, not to mention the most talent in the MWC, carried them to a school best 24 wins, the MWC title and a NCAA Tournament appearance. Last season, SDSU was Rocky. This year, they're Apollo Creed.
The Aztecs don't always play hard for 40 minutes. Sometimes, they don't play hard at all. They play like a bunch of spoiled brats who believe things are owed to them and that's the only way you can really say that they play together. The Aztecs don't move the ball well, preferring to play one-on-one basketball. Every player is looking for his shot first.
While the Aztecs might be a team composed mainly of prima donnas, they are right to expect respect from their opponents. No team in the MWC can match SDSU in terms of what it as accomplished in the past and is capable of accomplishing in the future. No other MWC team can boast two all-conference first team players like senior guard Brandon Heath and senior forward Mohamed Abukar. The Aztecs don't have the biggest impact transfer in the conference (that would be New Mexico forward and former Kansas Jayhawk J.R. Giddens), but no other school received a jolt of talent like the Aztecs got from sophomore swingman Lorrenzo Wade and junior center Jerome Habel. For a look at what SDSU is capable of, just look at their biggest win of this season.
The California Bears came into Cox Arena on November 18, grabbed a 31-30 halftime lead, but didn't play with any sense of urgency until they trailed by seven points with 14 minutes remaining in the second half. Cal tried to coast and the Aztecs, once again in the role of the underdog, took advantage. Abukar and Habel led the team with 23 points each, exposing the Bears lack of quickness and athleticism up front with an 86-79 win.
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