San Diego State Aztecs Mens Basketball

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San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena

San Diego, California, is home to one of the premiere basketball programs in the Mountain West Conference. The San Diego State University Aztecs play at Viejas Arena, which opened in 1996 as the Cox Arena and currently seats 12,414 for basketball. The Viejas Arena incorporates part of the Aztec Bowl, which was once home to the SDSU football team, and due to its position on the National Register of Historic Places cannot be entirely torn down. They are coached by Brian Dutchers, a longtime assistant to Steve Fisher at Michigan and SDSU who was promoted upon Fisher's retirement in 2017.

San Diego State Aztecs Men's Basketball History

San Diego State Teachers College first fielded a men's basketball team in 1921, and achieved success in the lower divisions of college basketball, winning the 1941 NAIA championship. From 1956 to 1970 the Aztecs played in Division II of the NCAA, making the leap to Division I in 1970 under Dick Davis. San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn succeeded in both baseball and basketball at SDSU, becoming the only two-sport All-Conference player in WAC history. Gwynn still holds the Aztecs career mark for assists, with 590 made between 1978 and 1981. Entertainer and television pioneer Art Linkletter also played for San Diego State in the program's early years.

1999 was the dawn of a new era for San Diego State, as they moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the new Mountain West Conference and hired legendary Michigan coach Steve Fisher to rebuild the program. Los Angeles Clippers superstar and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard played for two seasons with the Aztecs, from 2009 to 2011, before declaring for the NBA draft after his junior year. The Aztecs reached the Sweet 16 twice, in 2011 and 2014, behind the play of Leonard and such players as Malcolm Thomas, D.J. Gay and Xavier Thames.