This July Live Period San Diego State Is Looking To Fill Its Biggest Need In Recruiting, Big Men
San Diego State basketball needs to find guys that play down low. This July Live Period they will be checking on the big men they have offered and maybe they will find some new ones.
San Diego State Searching For Big Men In 2018
San Diego State had a succession plan for when Skylar Spencer graduated. They were going to bring in M.J. Cage, which would have stabilized the position for the next few years. Then the Gary Parrish article about a possible recruiting violation by the coaching staff, which ended up being completely false, hit the internet and recruiting went in complete disarray. Gone was the carefully crafted plan that had been laid out, instead the new plan was to weather this storm.
San Diego State went the graduate transfer path that could bring in players to play immediately. Last year, they brought in Valentine Izundu and this year they welcome in California grad transfer Kameron Rooks. Under the difficult situation the coaching staff has been able to survive this turbulent time.
Living off transfers is helpful in rebuilding a team over a short period of time, however it is not a long-term solution. I tend to agree with Steve Fisher when he says that the ideal situation is to get high school players and develop them in the program. Under new head coach Brian Dutcher that seems to be the plan.
Dutcher has sent out a large number of scholarship offers, more than I recall Fisher ever sending out in a year. Whether that is his personal philosophy or just a necessary shift to stay competitive with other programs, it is noticeable that San Diego State is more aggressive when it comes to recruiting.
None of this is more obvious than in the number of scholarships the Aztecs have put out to big men in the 2018 class. By my count there are eight players who could play the power forward or center role for San Diego State. The Aztecs are looking to get two big men for the 2018 class; here are the options to pick from.
A local prospect, the 6-10 big man is well suited to play the power forward role in college. He needs to get stronger to bang down low with big men in college, however he has improved his athleticism and has a lot of potential if he continues to develop. Butler, California, and Utah are the three schools that seem to be in contention for his commitment.
At 6-11, Penn-Johnson is a more traditional down low type of big man. He is an intriguing prospect, as he is nowhere near fulfilling his potential. Recently he received an offer from both Arizona and UCLA. It is safe to say that he is no longer an under the radar prospect and will likely end up at a Power Five conference.
The 6-10 Mensah is an emerging prospect. Originally from Ghana, Mensah has been steadily improving and holds a trio of high-major offers. Oregon, San Diego State, and Southern California have all offered Mensah and the Aztecs have been aggressively pursuing. He would be a great addition for 2018 and a real strong target to join the class.
Finding diamonds in the rough requires good scouting and evaluations and San Diego State’s coaching staff hopes that Majak is one of those. Majak is originally from Sudan and is a raw prospect with a developing skill set. At 7-1 he holds an important skill, height. Offensively he is a work in progress, however he is already a defensive presence. With a slight frame, Majak will look to get stronger before arriving in college. Connecticut and Washington are the latest offers for the big man.
Joel Mensah, no relation to Nathan, is another 6-10 Ghanaian who the Aztecs are after. Like Nathan, Joel Mensah is emerging as a prospect as he gains experience. This July Evaluation Period Joel Mensah will be playing at the Nike Peach Jam with his New York Lightning team. He is another big time target for San Diego State.
A recently offered prospect, Lee received a lot of attention after appearing at the Pangos All-American Camp. After Pangos Lee received offers from BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, and San Diego State. The 6-8 power forward lives around the basket and would give the Aztecs a guy who does not need to be around the perimeter. For the Aztecs to stay in the mix they need to get him on campus and out of the Texas area.
Tolu Jacobs Yaffa
Yaffa is a 7-foot center originally from Nigeria who is currently playing at Capital Christian School in Sacramento, California. He has been a name that the coaching staff has been following for some time and they decided to offer in June. He holds offers from California, Nevada, and Utah State, as well as the Aztecs. His recruitment is wide open as of now and may not change much as he will not be playing during the July Evaluation Period due to injury.
The most recent recruit to be extended a San Diego State offer was Oakland Soldiers and Folsom High power forward Mason Forbes. Forbes is a 6-8 big man who was dominant at the Aztecs team camp two weekends ago. At the camp he played extremely well against his AAU teammate Taeshon Cherry and led his team to the finals of the camp where they lost to San Marcos in overtime. He is athletically gifted and active around the rim. This July Evaluation Period could go a long way in helping him rise up the Aztecs recruiting board.