This year so far the Aztecs have had a somewhat disappointing season. However, on the bright side San Diego State has been blessed by fantastic play by their three freshman players: Matt Mitchell, Jalen McDaniels and Jordan Schakel.
Mitchell, a 6-6 230 pound forward is averaging 11 points and four rebounds per game. He has been the most consistent freshman for the Aztecs this season. Individually Mitchell has exceeded expectations so far by giving his best effort every night. Sometimes his shots do not fall, but he makes up for it by rebounding at a good rate and playing great defense. Mitchell has started all but one game for the Aztecs. Currently he is shooting 45.4% from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc. Next season in Mitchell’s sophomore campaign we could see him drop a few “fat” pounds and replace it with more “muscle.” Also Aztec fans can expect to see his numbers go up with Trey Kell and Malik Pope graduating.
McDaniels, who is a redshirt freshman, has had a solid first season in college. The 6-10, 195 pounder started off the non-conference season on the bench, At first McDaniels struggled typically as any freshman would. Fortunately, since the Gonzaga game he has been on a tear and has been putting up phenomenal numbers for a freshman. In conference play, McDaniels is averaging 13.2 points and nine rebounds. In his sophomore year we can expect to see McDaniels getting stronger by adding 5-10 pounds and being more consistent from the start of the year to the end.
The third and last freshman of this year’s freshman class is Schakel. The 6-6 guard from Torrance, California has been a solid contributor for the Aztecs this season. He is shooting a pretty good percentage from three-point range at 36.1%. Even though he is only averaging 3.5 points, San Diego State coaches have been very pleased with his performance during his freshman campaign. In addition to his stellar three-point shooting, Schakel plays solid defense and gives his best effort every single game. For next year, Schakel could be even more productive than he was than this season. With a productive guard like Kell graduating the Aztecs will need someone else to pick up what Kell gave San Diego State for four years. Schakel certainly can fill the void.