Breven’s Sports Blog: SDSU Baseball, Basketball & Track

Bonnie Draxler cheering

SDSU Aztecs prove to be at the top of their game by winning major accolades and securing MLB draft picks. Soon enough, the basketball teams will face off opponents in the MWC.

Track & Field ends the year at Outdoor Champs with medals and honors.

What a year it has been for senior pole vaulter Bonnie Draxler. Back in March, the senior finished with a silver medal in the NCAA Indoor Championships. This time in the Outdoor Championships, she would do the same.

Last Thursday, Draxler would continue her run of making the podium for the field event by placing second. She cleared a height of 14-09.50 (4.51m) and finished as the NCAA runner-up.

In addition to Bonnie Draxler, the SDSU 4×400 meter team raced for a chance at gold. The team would come up short with a time of 3:33.64, which was good for 11th best.

The 4x400m relay team consisted of sophomore Sakura Robinson, senior Lise-Anne Barrow, sophomore Jalyn Harris, and freshman Nyjari McNeil.

As a result of this young team, the future is bright for SDSU Track and Field, especially in the 4x400m.

Over the weekend, history was made when all five athletes earned All-American honors, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Sunday.

Draxler was named to the first team and the 4x400m relay team was selected to the second team.

This was not Draxler’s first go-around as an All-American.

In four years as an Aztec, she became a four-time All-American, which includes becoming a two-time first-team All-American (2019 Indoor and Outdoor Championships), a second-team All American at the 2018 Indoor Championships, and was an honorable mention in the 2017 outdoor season.

4 Aztecs drafted into MLB

The month of June marks a new beginning for baseball players to start their professional career.

Every Major League Baseball Draft is composed of 40 rounds and this year, 1,217 players were selected; however, not all will decide to play pro ball. One reason is due to the college the person has already committed to.

In the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, four players from San Diego State were selected.

RHP Logan Boyer – 11th round, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Julian Escobedo – 17th round, Cleveland Indians

RHP Adrian Mardueno – 20th round, St. Louis Cardinals

SS Angelo Armenta – 38th round, Tampa Bay Rays

With these four players getting drafted, the SDSU Baseball Program now has 219 MLB draft picks and 21 since 2014.

From the Mountain West, only Fresno had a higher number of draft picks from their program, recording eight.

MWC unveils conference opponents and schedule

On June 6, the Mountain West Conference released the 2019-20 conference schedule for both men’s and women’s hoops, but unlike years past, there are some things that will change and some things that will stay the same.

In the past, Conference games started a week before New Year’s Day. This year, it starts almost a month before the new year. What will stay the same are the number of opponents a team will face.

The Mountain West will stick to its normal 18-game conference schedule, but conference play begins as early as December 4.

The Aztecs’ conference opener is set for Dec. 4 against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. and their first home game is Sunday, Dec. 8 against San Jose State.

The two early conference games is because the 2020 MWC Tournament is a week before and there is a convention the usual week the tournament would be held, according to a tweet from the Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire).   

After the conference games, the Mountain West takes a break for teams to play non-conference opponents and face finals. Conference play resumes New Year’s Day with the Aztecs staying home to face Fresno State.

Conference play will last until Feb. 29 when the Aztecs head to a familiar spot to end the season: Reno, Nev. to face the Wolfpack for a third consecutive year.

The MW Tournament will have the same format, but will begin March 4 and will go until the seventh.

There are pros and cons to moving the Conference schedule up two weeks.

Pro: by moving the conference schedule up two weeks the team(s) that makes the NCAA Tournament have two weeks to get ready rather than four days (or two days if in the first round play-in game).

Con: The Aztecs always ride the fans’ jubilant energy (particularly from the students; The Show), especially for conference games. As a result of the change and most students going home for winter break, the Aztecs will have to get fired up some other way for three games at Viejas Arena until the 2020 spring semester classes begins on Jan. 22. However, what makes it a con are the three teams the Aztecs are facing: Jan. 1 vs. Fresno St., Jan. 11 vs. Boise St., and Jan. 18 vs. Nevada.

Here’s the schedule for Men’s and Women’s Basketball for SDSU:

DateMen’s ScheduleWomen’s Schedule
Dec. 4@ Colorado StateVs. Colorado State
Dec. 7Vs. San Jose State (Dec. 8)@ San Jose State
Jan. 1Vs. Fresno State@ Fresno State
Jan. 4@ Utah StateVs. Utah State
Jan. 8@ WyomingVs. Wyoming
Jan. 11Vs. Boise State@ Boise State
Jan. 15@ Fresno StateVs. Fresno State
Jan. 18 Vs. Nevada@ Nevada
Jan. 22Wyoming@ Wyoming
Jan. 25@ UNLVVs. UNLV
Jan. 29@ New MexicoVs. New Mexico
Feb. 1Vs. Utah State@ Utah State
Feb. 8@ Air ForceVs. Air Force
Feb. 12Vs. New Mexico @ New Mexico
Feb. 15@ Boise St.Vs. Boise State
Feb. 22 Vs. UNLV@ UNLV
Feb. 26Vs. Colorado State@ Colorado State
Feb. 29@ NevadaVs. Nevada
Written by: Breven Honda
Featured Image by: goaztecs.com

Breven’s Sports Blog: An Introduction

Here on this sports blog, you will see articles from different sports at different levels throughout the summer. I have a wide range of sports knowledge from our sports here at SDSU to the pros.

Summer 2019 at San Diego State is in full swing. I hope all of you had a great Memorial Day weekend. There will be at least one blog per week that could discuss SDSU’s Men’s basketball team to even the San Diego Padres.

Some topics include NBA Free Agency: Who will leave the Golden State Warriors? In addition, I may analyze the NBA Awards and the rest of the playoffs. Will the Warriors be the first team since the Lakers to three-peat?

In addition to the playoffs and the awards, the NBA Draft has developed major storylines. Everyone knows about Duke’s Zion Williamson and Marquette’s Ja Morant, but there is also San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniels looking to hear his name be called in the draft.

Besides basketball, some Major League Baseball blogs might be seen here, especially with the San Diego Padres playing .500 baseball right now. In their 50th Anniversary since the first MLB Padres’ team was assembled in 1969 (hey, that’s when KCR began at SDSU), a lot has happened. You could also see some blogs on the Padres’ history as well.

July is filled with big things for baseball such as the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, hosted by the Indians. At the end of month, it is the MLB Trade Deadline. Who will go and help that team make a playoff push into October? Which team will decide 2019 is the year to rebuild by trading some their biggest stars, similar to what the Baltimore Orioles did last year by trading Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop?  

As the calendar turns to fall, our SDSU Football team will be getting ready for the 2019 season. They have some big opponents coming to SDSU, including the rivalry game against Fresno State here at SDCCU Stadium on national television.

Speaking of the stadium, Measure G was passed last November, which means SDSU will have a new home for Aztec football. Stay here for updates on the new stadium and what is next to come from SDSU Athletic Director, John David Wicker.

Last but not least, golf could make an appearance. Former Aztec and San Diego-product Xander Schauffele is playing on the PGA Tour and will compete in tournaments this summer.

All of that and more so stay tuned!

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Sports Blog: NBA Finals Preview

Thus far, the NBA Playoffs has been pretty predictable, but still very exciting. Tomorrow, the NBA Finals begins with the back-to-back champions, the Golden State Warriors looking to go for a three-peat against the Toronto Raptors.

Let’s take a look back at how these two teams got to the Finals; The top-seeded Golden State Warriors were able to get past the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, despite losing center Demarcus Cousins to injury. Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant got past the Clippers and was one point shy of recording an NBA-record for most points scored in the first half of  playoff game. He did this in game six by tallying 38 points. Durant would finish with 50 points in the Warriors’ close-out game. Although Durant could not quite make history, one of his teammates did.

The two-time Most Valuable Player and Warriors’ Captain, Stephen Curry passed Ray Allen for made 3-pointers in the playoffs in game one, which he finished with 38 points and made eight shots from beyond the arc.

The Toronto Raptors entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and was able to hold off the No. 7 Orlando Magic in five games. The Magic was able to pull off a game one upset win in Toronto, but the Raptors would win the next four.

The Raptors have been on the rise. They were the best team in the Eastern Conference last year and lost to the Cavaliers in Round two. After trading a star (DeMar DeRozan) for another star (Kawhi Leonard), it elevates a franchise to win more. Even though the Raptors have former SDSU Men’s Basketball player, Leonard, the difference maker is Kyle Lowry.

In the loss to the Magic in the first game, he did not score and was 0-6 beyond the 3-point line. But in game two, Lowry would give the Raptors 22 points in the 111-82 blowout at home.

Not saying that Leonard is not good (I mean he is one of the best players in the NBA), but it is Lowry who was drafted by the Raptors and been a part of the organization for seven years while getting the Raptors over the ‘hump’ against teams. He knows the fans, the fans know who he is and when a player becomes a franchise player, like Curry, like Kobe Bryant, and like Dwyane Wade (in Miami), they step up and change the culture of the franchise.

Conference Semifinals

Round two of the playoffs featured a rematch between the Warriors and the No. 4 Houston Rockets. Both teams were able to hold home-field advantage from one another through the first five games.

However in game six, the Warriors lost their superstar, Kevin Durant to a right calf strain, but the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 60 points and overpowered the Rockets’ backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden, winning 118-113 on the road.

With the road victory, the Warriors secured their 21st straight series win with at least one road victory. The Rockets kept saying all year long about how they were going to take down the Warriors.

The Raptors played a good Philadelphia 76ers team in the semifinals that had a starting five, similar to the Warriors, led by center Joel Embiid. In addition, they had Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.

In seven games, the Raptors would be the team to win all four games, but it was Leonard to put the icing on the cake.

He went from the top of the key to the baseline, right in front of the Toronto bench and nail the shot at the buzzer, making him the only player in NBA history to hit a buzzer-beater to win game seven. Not only did he make the shot, but the ball bounced on the rim not once, not twice, but three times, just to make the play more intense.

Conference Finals

In the Conference Finals, the Raptors faced the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the Warriors faced the No. 3 Portland Trailblazers. The Warriors secured home field by winning the first two games of the series. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr called the game two victory, “a steal.”

For the first two games in Milwaukee, the Bucks were able to also hold home field over the Raptors with Bucks’ Brook Lopez hitting a key three-pointer to seal the game one victory.

When it was Portland’s turn to play in front of their home crowd in both games 3 and 4, they would get out to big leads, but would lose it in the second half of both games and get swept to the reigning champions.

The Warriors were used to being down and finding a way back to ignite a push for the win. Remember last year in the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets when they were down in game six facing elimination and came back to win. In addition, it also came in the following game in a game seven, where the Warriors had to do the same thing, but on the road to win the game and the series.

Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry, who averaged 36.5 points in the series, and Portland’s Seth Curry became the first brothers to play each other in a Conference finals series.

The Eastern Conference Finals series was not like the Warriors sweeping Trailblazers in the West. After being down 2-0 in the series, the Raptors were able to win game three in two overtimes with Leonard keeping them in the game playing 52 minutes, the most he’s ever played in a game. The Raptors would take over for the rest of the series. They overpowered the Bucks and would win a total of four straight games, en route to winning its first Eastern Conference Finals series in franchise history.

The Finals

Now it is time to see who will heist the Larry O’Brien trophy. It all comes down to this series between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors to determine will be named the 2018-19 NBA Champions. The Warriors, who have made it to the NBA Finals for a fifth straight year, look to win the title and bring another championship back to the bay area and in the final season of Oracle Arena. Will the Warriors be able to defend the title for a third consecutive year and be the first team to three-peat since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal? Or will the Raptors win their first championship since joining the NBA and overthrow Dub Nation’s reign?

Here’s my prediction: Warriors in 6 games;

Finals MVP: Stephen Curry

With or without Durant, the Warriors have the experience with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguoudala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors, whether they are the favorites or not have the ability to win. This is the final year at Oracle Arena, home of Dub Nation for the past 47 and they will send Oracle the right way: a championship in the final game, game six.

Written by: Breven Honda

San Diego State’s March Madness Bid Hopes

On March 6th, the San Diego State men’s basketball team faces off against Fresno State University, hoping to gain a bid into March Madness.

This is the 30th game of the season for SDSU and will feature a senior night farewell to stars such as Jeremy Hemsley, Devin Watson, and Michael Sohikish. The Aztecs have won 9 out of their last 11 games and will battle Fresno for the 3 seed at the Mountain West Championship hosted in Las Vegas. With a win against Fresno, the Aztecs would go undefeated at home in conference play for the second time in 20 years. Although the Aztecs will receive an automatic bid at the conference tournament, the question remains whether they will make the March Madness bid?

SDSU has appeared in 14 NCAA tournaments in school history and they have a chance to make the 68 team bracket in a couple weeks. However, Utah State or the University of Nevada will probably receive the automatic bid to March Madness. Though SDSU is the reigning conference champion, Utah and Nevada have both won at least 6 more games than SDSU in the 2018-19 season.

32 teams receive an automatic bid to March Madness based on their conference championship, 36 receive an at-large bid, and 4 play for the 16th seed in Ohio during the First Four tournament.

It is going to be awfully close in terms of whether or not SDSU will make the bracket. I project them to be “on the bubble” and finish the season with a 20-11 record, beating Fresno at home and losing to #17 Nevada on the road. That kind of a record will float them just around a .650% winning percentage for the season, which is NCAA March Madness material.

First, they have to beat Fresno at home and give Nevada a run for their money. Look for 2-time MW player of the week Jalen McDaniels to help aid them in that journey as he is averaging 16.4 points per game this season. Strength of schedule will play a factor in the NCAA’s evaluation tool for determining the 38 teams. I believe that beating Nevada in a stunning fashion on February 20th at Viejas Arena, and playing them on the road to end the season will boost SDSU’s chances of making the tournament.

Come March 17th, hopefully San Diego State’s name will be called.

Written by: Jacob McCulloh