The Daily Aztec


by Staff

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Senior guard Matt Thomas returns after receiving another year of eligibility because of a back injury that ended his 2006-07 season after two games. This is his fifth season at SDSU, and he’s played in 88 career games. His experience will be important on the court, especially when he’s on the floor with D.J. Gay. With Gay being more of a shoot-first point guard, Thomas will be asked to run much of the Aztec offense.

Senior forward/center Ryan Amoroso’s first season at SDSU was a pretty successful one. He led the team with 6.5 rebounds per contest 8212; good for fifth in the Mountain West Conference. With his 6-foot-8-inch, 263-pound frame, the Aztecs need his production inside again. The top three rebounders in the conference are gone, so Amoroso has a chance to dominate in the post.

Sophomore guard D.J. Gay was a pleasant surprise last year, leading SDSU with 45 3-pointers. With Kyle Spain’s role likely changing and with the uncertainty of Kelvin Davis’ health, Gay comes into the season as the Aztecs’ No. 1 option from downtown. If he can improve on his 37.2 percent rate, it will help stretch opposing defenses, especially against the zone.

The 5-foot-10-inch Richie Williams is lightening quick, and was second on the team in assists (75) and steals (42), but also in turnovers (64). Sometimes the senior guard simply tries to move too quickly. If he slows down, he could return to his sophomore year form, when he led the MWC in steals (69) and was second in assists (151).

Senior forward Kyle Spain. SDSU is a much better team when a physical forward is slashing in the lanes. That’s why Lorrenzo Wade was so important to the team. With Wade suspended, that duty falls on the legs of Spain. He can shoot behind the arc, but Spain needs to create mismatches for other players by cutting with the ball.

Sophomore forward Billy White, the MWC Freshman of the Year last season, has exceptional footwork. He routinely finds himself in excellent position for layups and dunks. That’s how he shot 61.5 percent from the field last season. White is a high-energy player, and he will give teams fits again if he continues to position himself well on both ends of the floor.


Although she is often overshadowed on the stat sheets, junior guard Quenese Davis is one of most important players for SDSU. Her solid ball control and strong basketball mind allow her to conduct traffic on the court. Her leadership skills come second to none on the floor and earned her the most playing time of any player on the team in 2007-08.

At 6-foot-4, sophomore center Paris Johnson is the Aztecs’ most daunting physical force under the basket. Her physicality helped her lead the team in rebounds as a freshman and made her second on the team in total scoring. Johnson lived up to her hype as a highly touted recruit in 2007-08 and is poised to be an even more imposing force this year.

On top of her many other abilities on the court, junior guard Jené Morris is by far the most accomplished shooter on the team. Her 46 3-pointers last year and .374 percentage from beyond the arc make her one of the most dangerous players in the Mountain West Conference. Last season against UNLV, Morris hit seven of nine attempts from 3-point range in a huge road win.

Coming in under the radar last season as a redshirt freshman, forward Allison Duffy made a name for herself on a team already stacked with young talent. Her sturdy presence in the paint makes her an excellent compliment to Johnson’s play and helped earn her All-MWC Tournament honors last season.

As the shortest player on the 2008-09 squad, senior guard LaSandra Dixon has mastered the ability to use her speed effectively. Dixon was fourth on the team in offensive rebounds last year. Her quickness makes her one of the team’s hardest players to defend.

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