Posted: 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
By Brad Best
Local San Diego product Trey Kell has verbally committed to play basketball at San Diego State. He is fulfilling a dream of playing for a high-caliber Division I program. The 2014 shooting guard out of St. Augustine High in San Diego has decided to stay close to home and play for the Aztecs. He had 17 other offers which included the likes of New Mexico, Boise State, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Oregon and even skipped a recruiting trip to Arizona, where he also held a scholarship offer.
The Aztecs took a calculated risk in making Kell their top shooting guard prospect, instead of pursuing more highly rated players. Without Kell, the Aztecs would have been lacking a pure shooter who can also finish at the rim. But the risk paid off when Kell committed on Oct. 1.
ESPN gives Kell four stars and has him as the No. 79 player in his class. Scout.com also gives him four stars as the No. 13 shooting guard in the country.
Coach Steve Fisher often loads the team with athletic wing players and forwards. See Kawhi Leonard. But having a go-to shooter who can stretch the defense will make it easier for everyone else in an Aztec uniform. This was an essential area of need and Kell fills it.
San Diego State is starting to do what all great programs expect to do, and that is, keep top talent at home. Historically the PAC-12, and especially Arizona, has been successful in pirating the best high school players from San Diego (i.e. Chase Budinger, Jeff Withey, etc.), but the tide is changing. Matt Shrigley from nearby La Costa Canyon took a redshirt in his first season with the Aztecs and appears ready to contribute this season.
Angelo Chol, a bounce-back after two years at Arizona, will need to sit out this season before suiting up for the Aztecs. Previously Malcolm Thomas and James Rahon, who also played high school basketball in San Diego County, bounced back from Pepperdine and Santa Clara respectively, to be strong contributors to the rise of San Diego State basketball.
This recruiting success would have been unlikely five years ago and unheard of ten years ago, but this isn't your father's San Diego State. Most prospects aren't historians, so their point of reference is a fairly limited span of time. With the Aztecs in the midst of eight consecutive 20 win seasons and corresponding trips to the post-season, they are starting to solidify themselves as the best in the west.
Whether prospects like Kell enjoy sunshine and fish tacos is becoming as irrelevant as whether players like the weather in Lawrence, Kansas. And that's saying something.
Check out these highlights of Kell: