The Daily Aztec

Kell attempts to fix shot amid SDSU basketball’s struggles

by Patrick Carr, Sports Editor

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The thing about Trey Kell that most people heard about was his lethal touch from 3-point range.

For the San Diego State men’s basketball sophomore guard, the hometown kid from St. Augustine High where he won championship after championship and poured in dozens of points every night, his second year on the Mesa is starting off how his first ended.

So far, Kell’s performances through four games have been a bit shaky. Against Illinois State in the opener, he fouled out. The next game against No. 16 University of Utah, he had 15 points and zero fouls, but on 5-of-15 shooting and with two critical late-game misses from the free-throw line.

Against San Diego Christian College, he sat out the second half with a sore knee. Last Saturday against Little Rock, he was virtually anonymous.

He spent the summer reworking his shot with assistant coach Dave Velasquez. One of the main problems with it, Kell said, was that his shot was too slow. It was clunky and hesitant.

“When I shoot it faster it goes in a majority of the time, when I shoot it slower that’s when my percentage drops,” he said.

Ideally, he would want to catch and shoot in one fluid motion, just like NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

“There’s no one else in the world that can do that except him, it’s crazy,” Kell said.

Kell is shy — very shy. The very though of taking a speech class with 30 other students terrified him.

“I remember they told me on my visit here that I had to do a speech class freshman year and I was not happy about it, let’s just put it that way,” Kell said. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

It was a tedious process last year when Kell, a 2-guard in high school, was slotted in as SDSU’s starting point guard, a position he didn’t play. It was very difficult to adjust to, not just because of Kell’s abilities from beyond the arc, but because of his personality.

It’s not as if he has a crippling anxiety, he’s just quiet. A point guard has to be loud and commanding and be able to take charge. That was Kell’s biggest hurdle playing the point.

Both he and Aqeel Quinn both spent time at the point last year. After three games in the Maui Invitational in which Kell took charge and showed off his marksmanship and why he was so highly touted, he disappeared.

His confidence fell. Instead of hearing a ‘swish,’ he heard a ‘clank.’ As for the Aztecs, they’re 2-2 heading into a Monday night matchup against East Carolina University.

The 2-2 mark has been a bit disappointing to fans, who salivated at the thought of sophomore forward Malik Pope and his roommate redshirt-freshman forward Zylan Cheatham running up-and-down the court throwing down dunks like they were going out of style.

Instead, the offense has been hesitant, but it’s still early in the season.

“I just feel like it’s just getting to know each other, what everyone wants to do on the court,” Kell said about a possible weakness of the team back in October before the season. “Team chemistry. Every team goes through that the first couple games of the year.”

As for the team’s current struggles, which have started to awaken a few frustrations from fans, Kell saw it coming, whether or not it was in the form of a 2-2 record.

“There’s going to be some growing pains, obviously, like every team has and we’ll be able to work through that,” he said in October. “We’re going to make mistakes, we’re all human.”

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