The Daily Aztec

Column: Trey Kell struggling to overcome bad luck

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Senuior guard Trey Kell drives the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore Raquan Mitchell during the Aztecs 97-78 victory at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24.

Senuior guard Trey Kell drives the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore Raquan Mitchell during the Aztecs 97-78 victory at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24.

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Senuior guard Trey Kell drives the ball against Colorado State redshirt sophomore Raquan Mitchell during the Aztecs 97-78 victory at Viejas Arena on Jan. 24.

by Abraham Jewett, Assistant Sports Editor

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San Diego State basketball senior guard Trey Kell is having a tough year.

He is a captain of a 12-8 Aztecs team, one which has let second-half leads slip away in every one of its losses.

A once promising season appears to be in a downward spiral that is sending the team to the depths of the Mountain West Conference.

Whether it be blown second-half leads, blown out ankles (Kell), cases of walking pneumonia (Kell) or playing against opponents who make late-game shots better suited for the Harlem Globetrotters (looking at you Boise), this team can not seem to catch a break.

But don’t count on head coach Brian Dutcher to tell you that.

“I mean in the end you always get what you deserve in basketball,” Dutcher said after the team blew a 10-point halftime lead in a loss against the University of New Mexico on Jan. 20.

The Aztecs followed up the loss with a home victory against Colorado State University on Jan. 24, but proceeded to lose another game (and slim early second-half lead) in an 88-78 road loss to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Jan. 27.

Kell, whose leadership on the court has been invaluable at times, played only three minutes in the game after spraining his ankle for the second time this season.

Or, to be more specific, his other ankle.

The first ankle that Kell sprained was his right one, near the end of a closely contested loss to Washington State University back on Nov. 26.

SDSU was winning by five points at the time when Kell went down with under seven minutes to play, and WSU proceeded to go on a 23-11 run to win 93-86 and hand the Aztecs their second loss of the season.

To make matters worse, senior forward Malik Pope — Kell’s co-captain — could only watch from the bench as he sat out the entire second half with a, you guessed it, sprained ankle.

“College basketball is hard enough to win itself, you gotta have your players healthy,” Dutcher would say after the game.

The bad luck for Kell, who has scored under his season average of 10.2 points in five of the Aztecs eight losses, hardly stopped there.

Kell missed the next two games with the injury, before playing as a shell of himself (three points in 18 minutes) during SDSU’s home loss to the University of California, Berkeley on Dec. 9.

The Aztecs led in that game by four points with under one minute to play, in case you were wondering.

Following a bout of pneumonia that left Kell largely ineffective during the Aztecs losses to New Mexico and Fresno State — second-half leads, check and check — the senior guard finally appeared to have gotten back on track while scoring 17 points with five assists in the team’s second victory of the season over CSU.

“I wasn’t 100 percent. I wanted to play, but at the same time I didn’t want to be stupid and make something worse,” Kell said after. “I told the coaches I’ll play short spurts if I have to, and help the team any way I can.”

Three minutes into the next game against UNLV and Kell is back down on the court, grabbing at his left ankle, a new injury, another setback.

It may not be an excuse, but it certainly does not feel like it is what he (or his team) deserves.

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