San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

After last season’s NCAA Championship run, the sky’s the limit for returning veterans

Parrish, LeDee, Butler and Trammell give insight on the new season ahead
Photo Courtesy of Carson Cook
The Huskies try to block forward, Jaedon LeDee as he attempts to make a shot on April 3, 2023 at the Final Four match up (SDSU vs. UCONN) at the NRG Stadium, in Houston, TX.

San Diego State’s men’s basketball 2022-2023 season was a Cinderella story.

The “glass slipper fitting” moment was the win over the overall No. 1 seed, Alabama in the Sweet 16. Next, they beat Creighton with a last-minute made free throw in the Elite Eight, earning a place in their first-ever Final Four.

And then, there was the legendary Butler buzzer-beater win against Florida Atlantic.

Out of the roster that contributed to the historic season, four key players return to the Mesa: Micah Parrish, Jaedon LeDee, Lamont Butler and Darrion Trammell.

“Last year was great and I will never forget it,” Trammell said. “But I think we have to use it the right way and not let us get complacent. I think in the back of our minds, the sky’s the limit for this team.”

Trammell was named NCAA’s South Regional Most Outstanding Player and received an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention by the media.

The 5-foot-10-inch senior guard scored 21 points in the game against Alabama and made the clinching free throw against Creighton. His passing ability and defensive intensity are strengths that helped him lead the Aztecs to the regional win. He plans to bring that skill set to the court again this year.

“I think me guarding the full court makes others want to play hard,” Trammell said. “Giving the guys the ball in places that they like and creating shots for them; they love playing with me. That makes me play hard, too.”

Aside from defense being the cornerstone of Aztec basketball culture, this year’s team has been working on sharpening their offensive skills.

LeDee, one of the Aztecs’ notable double-digit scorers abides by this. He had two 12-point games in the NCAA Tournament against Alabama and Florida Atlantic.

The 6-foot-9-inch senior forward was also named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar and was mentioned as a Malik Award honoree. And to add further to his noteworthy success, LeDee was also named a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete.

Coming into the new season, he plans to stay forth with his offensive game by bringing more versatility to the court.

“I am just being myself and giving these guys all that I got. That is one thing I take pride in: being authentic,” LeDee said.

He and the rest of the returning veterans are looking forward to taking on their new leadership roles. The Scarlet and Black received some pointers from last season’s starting line up.

Of the leaders, one that SDSU fans have their eyes set on is Lamont Butler.

The 6-foot-2-inch guard was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-Mountain West by the media.

“I feel like it is my job now,” Butler said. “I am a senior point guard. Leadership is what I have to do now. We have had so many great leaders before, so I have had a lot to learn from.”

Both Butler and LeDee mentioned that they will be adding their personal touches to the flow of this newly formed team. By adding their “own twist” and “flavor,” they are going to try to make this new group of guys as great as they can be.

All the veterans agreed that the season brought for up and down moments. There is a system in which the game of basketball works. Head coach Brian Dutcher and his coaching staff trust the abilities of each individual player and construct game plays that showcase that.

Parrish, a junior, has shown that his skill set has made him a prominent player on the court when making these decisions.

The 6-foot-6-inch guard ranked at No. 7 in wins in SDSU’s single-season rankings. His most notable moment in the NCAA tournament was the 16 points he contributed against Furman, which led the Aztecs to the Sweet 16.

For Parrish, LeDee, Butler and Trammell, the Cinderella story of San Diego State becoming the second-best in the nation is a tale that will never get old. The standard is now set to a higher degree — one that is surely attainable.

“Having the experience to play in the national championship (game), not many college athletes played in that,” Parrish said. “Just knowing if we made it that far, we have that experience of making it that far again.”

The Aztecs will start their new season tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Viejas Arena against Cal State Fullerton. Their Final Four and Mountain West championship banners will be raised and it will be remembered by all, as one for the books.

About the Contributor
Sumaia Wegner
Sumaia Wegner, '23-24 Managing Editor
Originally from Santa Clarita, California, Sumaia Wegner is a is a double major, studying Journalism and Communication.  She started as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec, then became Arts and Culture Editor, and is now the current Managing Editor. Aside from her leadership role, Sumaia is also a reporter for the men's basketball team. Last year she covered the Mountain West Championship as well as the NCAA Championship. Sumaia is the president of the Asian American Journalists Association (SDSU Chapter) as well as the vice president of Culture and Diversity for SDSU's College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. She started her career as a journalist while she was traveling abroad in Bangladesh, where she was a writer for The Independent newspaper. She wrote for the “Youth and Independent” section focusing on narratives that evaluated eastern and western cultures. Sumaia has received the following awards for The Daily Aztec: "The Inspirer," "Quest for Excellence," and "Best Section."