Winston Shepard and Skylar Spencer ready for last bout at Viejas Arena for SDSU basketball

by Ryan Posner, Sports Editor

Senior forward Winston Shepard stepped onto the San Diego State campus as one of the most highly touted recruits in school history, ranked even higher than Kawhi Leonard by most recruiting outlets.

Saturday, he will suit up for the last time at Viejas Arena for the men’s basketball team against UNLV, and will do so as the winningest player in Mountain West history, as he passed former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette last Tuesday in the team’s win over University of New Mexico.

Joining him as the winningest player is senior forward Skylar Spencer.

Both have been a part of one of the school’s Sweet 16 runs (2013-14) and have been to the NCAA tournament all three years on campus.

“We’ve been a part of some great teams the past few years,” Shepard said.

Spencer’s name is scattered all over SDSU and MW record books as he’s both the school’s and conference’s all-time leading blocker.

Those are records that Spencer has continued to pile onto this year.

“Hopefully that one stays for a long time,” Spencer said with a smile.

The record for most blocks and also being the winningest player in conference history, along with Shepard, are honored distinctions.

But Spencer has a chance to put himself on a higher pedestal with three more wins this season, which would give him the school record for career victories, passing D.J. Gay.

It’s no accident that Spencer is on the precipice of the record.

He’s played in 106 games in his career and as head coach Steve Fisher said Friday, “even when he’s hurt, he’s not hurt.”

“I watched him as a high school player and he played with some terrific talents and all he wanted to do was blend, and win,” Fisher said. “And he’s done that tremendously for us.”

Not to be forgotten in the senior night festivities is senior forward Angelo Chol.

Chol did not rack up records like Shepard and Spencer, after transferring from University of Arizona after his sophomore year, but he’s content with his decision to come to SDSU.

“It’s been an honor to play with coach Fisher and all my teammates,” he said. “I loved it. I think it was a great decision to transfer here.”

Fisher knows game will be emotional

With two of the most iconic players in his coaching tenure having their senior night Saturday, Fisher knows emotions will be running high.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t play with too much emotion as we start the game,” he said.

Shepard and Spencer usually start every game, minus a stretch in the middle of this season, but Chol will also be in the starting lineup against UNLV, Fisher said.

“The lineup will be a little disjointed to start with, and yet, it’s a lineup that should function together,” Fisher said.

Shepard one of nation’s most accomplished players

Something that has marked the play of Shepard, especially during conference play this season, is his ability to work within a system and help other players get open.

Now with his final stretch of games ahead of him, Shepard’s career numbers put him in rarefied air, nationally.

He’s one of 11 players in the country to have 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 250 assists in a career.

“He truly has become a great teammate,” Fisher said. “As he moved into his senior year he really started to say, ‘What is my job? And how can I do it better than anyone else?'”

How to watch

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. tonight at Viejas Arena against UNLV. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network or heard on The Mighty 1090 AM.

Follow along @DAztecSports and @thedailyaztec for live updates and postgame coverage.

 

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