Some might compare the transfer portal to the wild west, but Brian Dutcher has roped in talent that can keep the San Diego State Aztecs at the top of the Mountain West Conference.
There are currently more than 1,200 players in the portal, but SDSU already snatched some great talent in Matt Bradley, Chad Baker, Tahirou Diabate and Joedon LeDee. While this could change at any time, SDSU is also the only Mountain West team that has not had any players leave via the transfer portal.
Dutcher likes to have a good amount of experience on the roster every season. While he has developed some great players like Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel since their freshman year, the portal has also allowed Dutcher to pick up some key pieces like Malachi Flynn and Terrell Gomez.
“We’ve built it both ways,” Dutcher said. “It’s just mixing and matching the right kind of people. I think the days of everybody having four year guys are over.”
Dutcher favors a more position-less style of basketball, so he expressed his need to recruit players with versatility and the ability to play more than one position. Here is a little bit about the four transfers joining the Aztecs.
Matt Bradley 6’4 guard, Cal
Bradley was considered one of the best players in the transfer portal, choosing San Diego State over powerhouses like Gonzaga, Kentucky and Kansas. Dutcher described him as an elite defender, but he also sees potential in the offense.
Last season, he led his team with an average of 18 points per game. Bradley scored in double digits in 21 of the 22 games he played in. In the one game when he scored less than 10 points, he was only on the floor for 13 minutes. Through his two seasons with the Bears, he shot 41.4% from beyond the arc.
Bradley received All-Pac-12 Second Team honors in 2020 and 2021. He has size and strength, but Dutcher also said he has the quickness and ability necessary to play any guard position and score at all three levels.
Chad Baker 6’7 wing, Duquesne
Baker had an impressive first college basketball season, averaging 9.6 points per game while leading his team in three-point shooting percentage at 41.7%. That percentage is the second-best in program history for a freshman (behind Tony Petrarca’s 42.6% in 1987).
The Dominican player appeared in 15 games and started in 13 of those. His season-high 23 points came on Jan. 27 against Fordham as he went 8-of-15 from the field, with seven made threes.
Another valuable thing he has going for him is that he still has four years of eligibility remaining.
Tahirou Diabate 6’9 forward, Portland
Diabate opted out of the 2020-21 season but he brings a lot of experience to SDSU with a total of 70 starts with Portland. The 22 year old is athletic and will be one of five Aztecs listed at 6’9 or taller.
He appeared and started in 31 games through the 2019-20 season while averaging 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The forward has shown he can be productive in the offense since his freshman year when he shot at 56.3% from the field. He shot above 50% every year since then and is leaving Portland with the fifth-best career field goal shooting percentage in school history (55.3%).
Diabate will join the Aztecs as a grad transfer after earning a degree from Portland in organizational communication. Oh, and he speaks five languages: Bambara, English, French, Japanese and Spanish.
Jaedon LeDee 6-9 forward, TCU
LeDee will likely have to sit out the 2021-22 season, but he is still a transfer and therefore had to be mentioned in this list.
As a senior in high school, LeDee was a four-star player according to 247Sports.com and ESPN. He appeared in 26 games as a freshman with the Ohio State Buckeyes before transferring to TCU.
LeDee played in 53 games with the Horned Frogs while shooting 55.3% from the field. Although he only averaged 13.2 minutes and 4.1 points through his two years there, he showed potential during a career-best game against West Virginia in March by scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting.