Steve Fisher Lands Another Formidable Basketball Class

Aztecs Keep Fighting

San Diego State Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher has had a remarkable career, spanning over 20 years coaching Division I basketball. His first Division I head coaching position was with Michigan where he coached the infamous Fab Five recruiting class to back-to-back NCAA Championship Game appearances. After taking over San Diego State in 1999, he was able to help the program end a 17 year NCAA Tournament drought. 


After that first tournament appearance in 2002, Fisher guided the team to five more appearances, including turns in each of the last four tournaments. The team is off to a smashing 21-2 start to this season and should easily be a tournament team once again. They have been lead by seniors Xavier Thomas and Josh Davis, and while the team this year seems destined for the tournament, it looked to be a tall order for the team to continue their success next year. 


The future looks considerably brighter now, as Fisher landed a formidable recruiting class for 2014. While it may not be on the level of the Fab Five, the talent coming in for San Diego State looks sufficient to continue this run of success. 


The top player of the class looks to be 6’9 forward Malik Pope, a five-star recruit out of Elk Grove, California, in the northern part of the state. Pope’s draft stock was hurt after suffering a broken leg last spring, with complications to the injury. However, Pope’s raw athletic ability looks to translate well to the college game. He has a great shooting touch, even from the three-point line, where he made 48% of his shots last season. As long as Pope comes in healthy, the signing could end up being a coup for Fisher, after other schools like Gonzaga and Kansas had expressed interest in him. 


Teaming with Pope in the front-court will be 6’8 forward Zylan Cheatham out of South Mountain High (Arizona). Cheatham was a four-star recruit by, and was heavily recruited by schools as varied as Washington, Arizona State, and Memphis. Cheatham actually went through a late position switch this past summer, going from a low-post forward in a summer tournament to a point forward. This demonstrated a versatility that will be important given the losses San Diego State will have to endure for next season.


Shooting guard Trey Kell was one of the earlier commits for Fisher, setting off this class. Kell was ranked as the #118 recruit in the country by, demonstrating his skills at summer tournaments in Las Vegas. The 6’4 guard out of St. Augustine (California) has shown solid scoring ability and will benefit from the attention paid to the other two top recruits. Despite receiving attention from programs like Michigan, North Carolina, and Arizona, Kell decided to stay close to home at San Diego State.


Right now the focus at San Diego State is on this year’s team as it looks to make a long tournament run. Whatever ends up happening, the talent is there for San Diego State to continue on with their competitive streak next season. This class has been hailed by some as the best in San Diego State’s history, making Aztecs basketball something to watch closely down the road.