Malachi Flynn wins Mountain West Male Athlete of the Year honor


Sam Mayo

Then-junior guard Malachi Flynn hits a game-winning 3-pointer to give the Aztecs a 59-57 victory over San José State on Dec. 8, 2019 at Viejas Arena. “The Shot” preserved the Aztecs’ undefeated record and improved the team to 10-0.

by Kyle Betz, Sports Editor

San Diego State men’s basketball guard Malachi Flynn was named the Mountain West Male Athlete of the Year by the Mountain West Conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Flynn is the only SDSU men’s basketball player to win the award — something that Kawhi Leonard was unable to accomplish during his time on the Mesa.

The Tacoma, Washington native is the third Aztec to win an Athlete of the Year award alongside running back Rashaad Penny in 2017-18 and track athlete Shanieka Thomas in 2012-13.

He’s also the second men’s basketball player to earn the honor, joining former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette (2010-11).

Then-junior guard Malachi Flynn at SDSU men’s basketball media day on Oct. 23, 2019 at the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center. (Sam Mayo)

“It means a lot,” Flynn said in an interview with SDSU Athletics. “It really just shows how well the team did this year, though. A lot of success is to the fans, to the coaches. I mean, I feel like everybody really had a part in this; this isn’t an individual award.”

Flynn joins New Mexico cross country and track and field athlete Weini Kelati, who won MWC Female Athlete of the Year and has 13 All-America honors running for the Lobos.

But Flynn had plenty of recognition going his way, too.

He became the most decorated SDSU men’s basketball player in a single season by leading the Aztecs to a 30-2 record, including a 26-game winning streak, regular season conference championship and a conference tournament championship appearance.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard ranked first in the MWC in steals, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Flynn averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in 32 starts during the 2019-20 season. He was the third Aztec — alongside Michael Cage in 1984 and Kawhi Leonard in 2011 — to be named a consensus second-team All-American.

And the recognition is expected to continue.

Flynn declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft in April, entering his name into the draft process and hiring an agent.

He’s projected to be a late first round pick by Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated and Kyle Boone of CBS Sports.

Kyle Betz is a senior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBBetz.