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

Aztecs men’s basketball set to tip off for 2023-2024 campaign

Men’s basketball looking to run it back coming off a historic season
Jesse Gordon
The San Diego State men’s basketball team huddles up before their exhibition game against Cal State San Marcos on Monday, Oct. 30 at Viejas Arena.

The San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team is fresh off its deepest tournament run in program history, in which they finished as the national runner-ups.

Coming into the season, the Aztecs are ranked No.17 in the nation, according to the Associated Press.

This is the second-highest preseason ranking in program history — the program was ranked No. 16 to begin the 2014-2015 season.


The Aztecs retained four of their top six scorers from last season, including the starting backcourt of senior guards Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler, who was last year’s Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year as voted by the media.

Senior guard Micah Parrish and senior forward Jaedon LeDee, both of whom came off the bench last season for the Aztecs, also return.

The Aztecs also have three upcoming sophomores that seldomly played last season. Sophomores guard Miles Bryd and forward Elijah Sanders are a pair of four-star recruits who are entering their second season with the program. Sophomore forward Demarshay Johnson Jr. is a three-star recruit who is also in year two with the Aztecs.

Head coach Brian Dutcher is entering his seventh season leading the program. Dutcher has posted a record of 151-47 while leading the Scarlet and Black to March Madness in five of his first six seasons.

Dutcher spoke about what fans should expect for the upcoming season in a press conference.

“We have the ability to play a lot of different ways,” Dutcher said. “Including a four-guard lineup if we so choose.”

Dutcher also expressed the defense as the calling card for the team.

“We’ve always been good defensively,” Dutcher said. “That’s a trademark of this program and we will not let that slip.”

Last season, the Aztecs posted a staggering record of 22-0 when they surrendered 65 or less points.


The Aztecs lost four players from the regular rotation last year, three that graduated and began their professional careers and one that entered the transfer portal.

Two starters departed, including leading scorer, guard Matt Bradley, as well forward Nathan Mensah, who led the team in blocks last season. Guard Adam Seiko, who was second on the team in 3-pointers made (behind Bradley) last season, has also departed. Bradley, Mensah and Seiko have advanced their basketball careers to the professional level.

Senior forward Keshad Johnson, who was a starter last season, transferred to the University of Arizona.

Forward Aguek Arop has exhausted his eligibility and has moved into a role with the Aztecs men’s basketball staff as the director of player development.


The Aztecs added a pair of transfers looking to make an immediate impact.

Jay Pal is a senior forward who last played at Campbell University. Pal is coming off a season in which he averaged 12.3 points and nearly seven rebounds a game. The big man can also stretch the floor for the Aztecs as he hit nearly 33% from beyond the arc on 2.5 3-point attempts per game.

The Aztecs also brought in junior guard Reese Waters, a transfer from the University of Southern California. Waters was last year’s Sixth Player of the Year in the Pac-12.

Waters averaged 9.8 points with shooting splits of 43.8% from the field, 30 percent from deep and 77% from the charity stripe.


The Aztecs’ schedule this season will feature two teams that made the top 25 preseason Associated Press poll. The Aztecs will face No. 23 Saint Mary’s on Friday, Nov. 17 in Las Vegas, as well as travel to take on No. 11 Gonzaga on Friday, Dec. 29.

Following that matchup, the Aztecs start Mountain West play against Fresno State on Wednesday, Jan. 3, before closing the regular season at home against Boise State on Friday, March 8.

The Aztecs faced off with Cal State San Marcos in an exhibition game, winning 81-50 on Monday, Oct. 30.

SDSU opens the regular season against Cal State Fullerton on Monday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Viejas Arena.

About the Contributor
Mac Pham, Staff Writer
Mac Pham is a Journalism major and a senior transfer student from Palomar Community College. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2023. Writing stories, story telling, reading and talking to people is something he enjoys doing, so he figured why not talk sports with that. His favorite aspect of sports writing is being an analyst and breaking down the details of a football or a basketball game. In his spare time, Mac is an avid swimmer and likes to play basketball. He hopes to be a sports writer whose calling card is writing articles filled with sports analysis. Mac is bilingual in Vietnamese.