EL CENTRO — The 2019-2020 Aztec basketball campaign continued to make history in the final week of January when State added two more victories to their undefeated win column at 23-0 and retired Kawhi Leonard’s Jersey Saturday, February 1.
When the Aztecs retired ‘The Claw’s’ (#15) jersey, Leonard became the first SDSU basketball player to be awarded such an honor.
Leonard’s athletic contributions to the San Diego State Basketball program and family include setting the Mountain West Conference record for career double-doubles in MWC games (21), double-doubles in a season in MWC games (12), lead the team in scoring 27 times, rebounding 43 times, and assists 16 times, as well as scored 20 points in SDSU’s 2009-2010 MWC Tournament Title game, and helped the ‘Tecs get to the sweet 16 the same season.
Kawhi continued his dominance as a pro and established himself as one of the premier ballers in the world after winning the NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and taking home MVP honors for his 23.7 points average during the series and 68.9 shooting percentage.
After being traded to the Raptors in 2019, ‘The Claw’ carried Toronto into the NBA finals where once again, Leonard hoisted up the NBA Championship Trophy and Finals MVP Award.
Since the departure of Kawhi, this is the most regular season success State has encountered.
Upon the Associated Press Top 25 week 14 rankings that came out Monday, February 3, SDSU remained at (4) for a school record third week in a row after routing New Mexico in ‘The Pit’ (85-57) Tuesday, January 29, then hammering on Utah State (80-68) at Viejas Arena Saturday, February 1.
This season also marks the first time in SDSU history ‘The Black and Red’ has won back to back road games at UNM, following UNLV or visa-versa.
The two previous times SDSU won 20 games in a row, the Aztecs made it to the sweet 16.
With the league talent homogenizing and shifting from power conference blowouts to mid-major bullies, the national spotlight is on Montezuma’s Mesa and no game is a guaranteed win.
SDSU is one win away from clinching, at least a portion, of the Mountain West Conference championship but the intensity and randomness of Championship Week looms less than a month away.
Brian Dutcher’s boys are rolling and have the time, athletic ability, and discipline to continue creating magic on the Mesa in 2020.