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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
San Diego State ready to rebound

By Diamond Leung

After going to the Sweet 16, San Diego State knew it was going to have to rebuild when Kawhi Leonard declared for the NBA draft and four other seniors departed from a 34-win team.

Yes, Steve Fisher was able to reload with a couple of talented 6-7 transfers in J.J. O'Brien from Utah and Dwayne Polee II from St. John's. But they won't be eligible until 2012-13.

For this coming season, the Aztecs have found that patching up some holes to be an uncertain process. Washington State transfer Xavier Thames gives them another guard, but the frontcourt is thin. Fisher signed former Loyola Marymount forward Kevin Young to a financial aid agreement, but the 6-foot-8 talent reneged and went to Kansas instead. The team also hopes the NCAA will grant center Brian Carlwell a medical hardship so he will have one more season to play, but has yet to hear back.

So when 6-foot-11 forward Garrett Green decided last month he would leave LSU attend graduate school and become immediately eligible, San Diego State pounced on the Southern California native and announced his signing Tuesday.

"Garrett gives us an ingredient we are lacking in -- size," Fisher said in a statement. "He should be an excellent addition and has the athleticism to be an extremely important piece to our 2011-12 season."

Green, who averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds, is a former ESPNU top-100 recruit who'll now have an opportunity to get major minutes closer to home.

After tasting NCAA tournament success for the first time, expectations remain high even though the Aztecs could be due for a transition year. Season ticket sales remain good, and the school is throwing in highlight DVDs from last season to customers.

This season's Aztecs team might not make anyone forget about last year's Leonard-led team, but Fisher certainly isn't going to concede a successful defense of the Mountain West Conference championship just yet.