Guess who’s back? Aztecs’ Pulliam and Tomaić returning for extra year 

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Noelani Sapla

San Diego State men’s basketball senior forward Joshua Tomaić (left) and senior guard Trey Pulliam (right) pictured during the Aztecs’ 78-66 overtime win over Boise State on Feb. 25, 2021 at Viejas Arena.

by Luis Lopez, Assistant Sports Editor

San Diego State men’s basketball seniors, guard Trey Pulliam and forward Joshua Tomaić, announced they will be returning to the Aztecs for the 2021-22 season on April 13. 

The NCAA granted all student-athletes who played last year an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing players like Pulliam and Tomaić to play one more year of basketball. 

Citing it as more of a basketball decision than anything, Pulliam said with the way last season ended for him, along with his game still improving, coming back was the right move to make. 

“I feel like for me it was the right decision, especially with the end of last season,” Pulliam said. “I feel like I’m just now getting into my rhythm really.”

That rhythm Pulliam mentioned was a definite improvement last season. 

The junior college transfer more than doubled his scoring average, going from 3.3 points per game in 2019-20 to 7.3 per game in 2020-21.

In addition to more buckets, Pulliam also improved his greatest strength: passing. He almost tripled his assist average in his second year on the Mesa, going from 1.9 per game to 3.5.

As for Tomaić, he evaluated all his options, which included potentially playing overseas in his native country of Spain. 

Because he is still a Spanish citizen, Tomaić wouldn’t take up an international roster spot, which teams can only have a certain number of.

Despite the option, Tomaić opted to stay in America’s Finest City.

“I’m just really comfortable here because everybody makes it easy for me to be here. I feel part of a family, I just really like this place,” Tomaić said. 

In addition to the basketball side of things, the Maryland transfer said he still wants to explore all that San Diego has to offer. 

“Obviously during COVID and stuff, I didn’t really have a chance to go explore or really get to know the city, but that’s something that I’m probably going to do more now,” Tomaić said. “Just get to know campus a little bit more as well, with everything closed and shut down I really don’t know anything. I’m like a freshman really out here.”

In Tomaić’s first year at SDSU, he got extended minutes for the first time in his college career, serving as the primary big man off the bench. 

Appearing in all 28 games for the Aztecs, Tomaić averaged 4.6 points per game, along with 3.3 rebounds per contest.

Another thing that convinced both players to return was the pursuit of their master’s degrees. Pulliam remains undecided on what to pursue, while Tomaić is looking for a degree in homeland security with a focus in cybersecurity.

“I want to do whatever I can to take my education as far as I can because if I can get a master’s degree, that’s something I never thought about,” Pulliam said.

Tomaić felt the same way.

“This is just a great school … I already have a degree. Coming back gives me the chance to finish my college career with a master’s,” Tomaić said. 

In addition to his master’s and getting to experience the city, Tomaić will also get the opportunity to do something he hasn’t done yet: play in front of Aztec fans. 

“It’s been a long time — nothing against the cutouts, but that’s not it,” he said. “It gives you a different level of energy, like a boost sometimes when you have fans … I just can’t wait, I’ve heard great things about (the fans).”

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