This past Sunday the San Diego Swish Pro-Am League had their inaugural games at Miramar College. Four games consisting of eight teams hit the court this past weekend to showcase the top players in the city.
A pro-am is an event that consists of professionals and amateurs competing together. The San Diego Swish League is a “San Diego-based Pro-Am basketball league for high-caliber players from top Southern California colleges and high school programs, plus select-game appearances by pro players from the NBA, G-League, European and other pro leagues around the world.”
Some of the best players in San Diego play for the Aztecs and while many of the players are scheduled to play for the league, a good number of them have not reported for the second summer session and are therefore unavailable right now. Eleven Aztecs are scheduled to participate at some point in the league, and a few ex-Aztecs as well, but in week one five players from the current roster were in attendance as well as a former-Aztec who is now a professional overseas.
In game one we got our first look at Yanni Wetzell, a graduate transfer from Vanderbilt, who will suit up for his senior season at San Diego State. Wetzell plays for Team Belmont Park, who faced off against teammate Joel Mensah and Team Mt. Soledad. Wetzell showed flashes of skill throughout the game, including a nice outside shot and some nifty moves in getting to the basket. I was most surprised with his athleticism and strength, as he really dominated and pushed around his defender. He finished with eight points and four rebounds.
We spent a lot of time following Mensah in high school and were excited to see the development in his game. While his minutes were limited during his freshman season, we noticed a lot of the things that we loved from high school as well as some new developments. His rebounding has always been a staple of Mensah’s game, and he continued showing that on Sunday. Defensively he was better staying with his man and did not fall for the shot fake which he has been prone to do. His touch near the basket was almost automatic and his work in the pick and roll was much improved. Mensah finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Mt. Soledad 76 – Belmont Park 65
Caleb Giordano was the next Aztec to play, however he did not play until the third game of the day, which pit Team Washington Park versus Team 619. Giordano is a walk-on who transferred from Miramar College. Last season he redshirted and will be an active member of the team this season. He is not expected to have a huge role on the team during games, but he is a player that will help the Aztecs as they scout their opponents. At 6-3 he is a guard, so it seemed to reason that he would take a lot of jumpers. His jumper was off on Sunday but when he took it to the basket he was pretty good at getting a basket or drawing a foul. He finished with seven points and was credited with one rebound, however I know he got a lot more and most of them were hustle boards.
Team Washington Park 74 – Team 619 54
Swish League could not have asked for a better ending and a better crowd. The entire event had a great crowd, but the last game surpassed them all in number, and we were even a witness to Aztec royalty as Jamaal Franklin made an appearance. In the final game of the night Team Pacific Beach faced off against Team Balboa. Team Pacific Beach had a trio of Aztecs as current players Matt Mitchell and Nolan Narain, teamed up with former Aztec, and current professional Skylar Spencer. The last game was the most exciting of the night as it came down to the wire.
Mitchell was the star of the game, ending with 14 points and four rebounds, while also hitting the game winning three-pointer with 3.0 seconds left in the game. He was a bully getting to the basket, drawing fouls or getting in for some easy buckets. Obviously his three-pointer is the most memorable part of the game, however his leadership, control, and direction were instrumental for his team to come back from a double-digit halftime deficit.
Narain battled down low on both sides of the court. He showcased his versatility defending in the paint all the way out to the free throw line. Narain looked his best out in transition, running the floor and scoring on the run. For the game Narain had eight points and four rebounds.
It was good to see Spencer patrolling the paint once again. He was a treat to watch, blocking shots, dunking, and just being a menace on both ends of the court. His offensive game was more developed than when he was on the Mesa. Spencer demonstrated a soft touch around the basket and dunked the ball with intensity. He finished with eight points, four rebounds, and two huge blocks.
Team Pacific Beach 70 – Team Balboa 68
This week the Swish League has games on Thursday starting at 3:30 pm and on Saturday at 9:00 am. You can check the games out on the Livestream, Swish TV, or in person at Miramar College. Admission and parking are free.