bleedCrimson.net: Xavier Thames is the player most people know about for San Diego State but who else makes this team go?
Matthew Bain/Mountain West Connection: J.J. O'Brien. Looking at the stats, you'd almost wonder why O'Brien starts for SDSU, much less why Steve Fisher labeled him as one of his favorite players of all time. He gets the Aztecs 8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in about 28 minutes per game. But he does so much that doesn't show up on the stats sheet that makes him probably the most important player out on the floor. He's SDSU's best on-ball defender and oftentimes matches up against the opponent's best scorer--and most of the time he shuts them down. For instance, J.J. Avila of Colorado State, whom NMSU fans know all-too-well from his 29-point performance against the Aggies, shot 4-17 for 9 points when the Rams came to Viejas. Why? Because O'Brien guarded him most of the night. O'Brien is also the best switcher on defense, which SDSU does quite often. He makes things happen without ever touching the ball.
bc.net: It looks like Dwayne Polee II has had a very good second half of the season, what’s been the key to his emergence?
MWC: Confidence. Polee played a grand total of zero minutes against Arizona and a whopping six minutes against Kansas. But Polee broke out for 15 points and five rebounds in SDSU's loss at Wyoming, and I think Fisher realized what a lot of fans had thought for a while: this guy can play. He's a feisty defender, with six games with three or more steals. Behind Xavier Thames, Polee is SDSU's most dynamic scorer: in his last five games, Polee has scored 26 from inside the 3-point line, 24 from long range and eight from the free throw line. He's feeling it right now and he immediately gives his teammates that energy when he gets off the bench to the roar of the crowd. Fisher doesn't even see Polee as a bench player anymore, even though he won the MWC Sixth Man of the Year. He told the media at the MWC Tournament that Polee is his "sixth starter." Continue Reading This Post >>