Grad transfers hope to make immediate impact for Aztecs


Sam Mayo

Senior guard KJ Feagin at SDSU men’s basketball media day on Oct. 23 at Jeff Jacobs JAM Center. Feagin, a transfer from Santa Clara, averaged 17.5 points per game as a junior.

by Luis Lopez, Staff Writer

San Diego State men’s basketball has just one returning senior playing in 2019.

Senior forward Nolan Narain will be playing in his final year with the Aztecs and was almost the only senior on this year’s roster.

Instead, head coach Brian Dutcher and the Aztec coaching staff went out to add experience to their roster, adding senior guard KJ Feagin and senior forward Yanni Wetzel.

Both Feagin and Wetzel are coming in as graduate transfers, with Wetzel coming from Vanderbilt and Feagin from Santa Clara.

Feagin is coming off a successful career for the Broncos, earning a spot on the all-West Coast Conference team twice in his time there, including an average of 17.5 points a game in his junior year.

To find success in the Mountain West conference, Feagin said he just needs to play his game.

“I just feel like basketball is basketball, no matter the conference, there’s good players everywhere,” Feagin said. “It may be a different style, but I feel like my game is equipped to play anywhere in any conference.”

As for Wetzel, he has been through the transfer process before, starting his college career at Saint Mary’s University before going to Vanderbilt.

At SMU, Wetzel won Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year, and at Vanderbilt, averaged 5.9 points and 3.8 assists a game in his junior year.

Originally from New Zealand, Wetzell said finding success in another program just comes down to being a team player.

“It’s just about being a team player, being coachable and fitting in with the team,” he said. “When I moved to Vanderbilt, I fit in well, it’s just about chemistry and building connections with your teammates and the coaches.”

That chemistry is something both Wetzel and Feagin have found quickly in their short time here on the Mesa.

Narain said he was happy to have two more seniors on the squad.

“It felt good, I came in with Jeremy, guys like Trey Kell, Max Montana and guys like that, so knowing that they’re not here anymore was kind of like ‘Damn, who am I going to hang out with this year?’,” Narain said. “With Yanni and KJ coming in, we got to meet on their visit, hang out over the summer and now we’re all roommates.”

In addition to good chemistry, the program as a whole appealed to Feagin and Wetzel for multiple reasons.

“The proximity to home, and the ability for my family to see me play in almost every game, the coaching staff as well just really meshed with what I value in coaches, so I felt like the opportunity was a match made in heaven,” Feagin said.

Feagin is originally from Long Beach, and his family currently resides in Carson, only a couple hours up the road – unlike Wetzel, who would have to catch a 14-hour flight to get back home to New Zealand.

Wetzel had two schools on his final list for transferring, one of last seasons’ Final Four teams in Texas Tech, and SDSU. Texas Tech was the national champion runner up.

Wetzel said his excitement for the upcoming season is based on what the coaching staff has put together.

“They’ve got a great history here,” Wetzel said. “I felt like with the recruits that they have and then the current players that were already on the roster, I thought that we could have a great year here.”

Luis Lopez is a junior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @Lopez509Luis.