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SDSU senior guard Jordan Schakel SDSU senior guard Jordan Schakel
 


Aztecs Receive Numerous Postseason Honors

SDSU enters the Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championship as the No. 1 seed and will begin tournament play on Thursday at noon.
By GoAztecs.com
 

Preparations are well underway for the 2021 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men's Basketball Championship Tournament, and with it award season underway.  

On Tuesday, San Diego State University men’s basketball head coach Brian Dutcher, senior forward Matt Mitchell, senior guard Jordan Schakel and junior forward Nathan Mensah were included in the Mountain West Conference's postseason awards, which are based on the conference's regular-season schedule and are voted on by the league's 11 head coaches.
 
Mitchell was named the Mountain West Player of the Year and a first-team All-Mountain West performer. Schakel is a second-team All-Mountain West selection and Mensah was named an honorable mention All-Mountain West honoree. In addition, Mitchell and Mensah are members of the Mountain West All-Defensive Team and Dutcher received the Steve Fisher Mountain West Coach of the Year award.
 
Mitchell is the fifth Aztec in the Mountain West era to earn league player of the year distinction, joining Brandon Heath (2006), Jamaal Franklin (2012), Xavier Thames (2014) and Malachi Flynn (2020). Mitchell finished the regular season averaging 15.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals. In league play, he matched his season total of 15.4 points and 1.9 steals, but upped his steals to 1.6 per game and his rebounds to 6.3 per game. 
 
During the season, Mitchell joined Winston Shepard and Trey Kell as just the third Aztec to score 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds, dish out 200 assists and have 100 steals in his career. This is the second time in as many years Mitchell has been named a first-team All-Mountain West performer. He is the first Aztec to do that since Franklin did in 2012 and 2013. Other Aztecs who have garnered multiple first-team All-Mountain West honors are Heath (2006, 2007) and Kawhi Leonard (2010, 2011). On Monday, Mitchell was honored with the first-team All-Mountain West designation from the media who regularly cover the conference.
 
Fourth-year head coach Dutcher has led the Aztecs to back-to-back, outright Mountain West regular-season titles, No. 1 seeds in the Mountain West Tournament and Coach of the Year honors. An SDSU coach has won the Coach of the Year honor in six of the last 11 seasons: Steve Fisher in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 and Dutcher in 2020 and 2021. This season his team posted a 14-3 record in league action, and in the last two seasons he has led SDSU to a 31-4 record in conference play. His 50 total victories in the last two seasons are the eighth most of that span of years in SDSU's Division I era (since 1970-71). The team's current 11-game win streak is tied for the fifth longest in school history and  second longest conference winning streak for the program.
 
Schakel, was twice named Mountain West Player of the Week, which was tied for the most this season, and led the league in three-point percentage (46.4%), three-point field goals per game (2.96) and total three-pointers made (71), and was the No. 15 scorer in the league. Schakel averaged 14.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists in the 2020-21 season. His three-point field goal percentage this year is the highest for a senior season in Mountain West history.
 
Nationally, his three-point percentage ranks No. 3, and he hit a three in every game (24) this season, recorded multiple three pointers in 17 games, in which SDSU was 15-2 in those contests. Schakel was also awarded second-team All-Mountain West recognition by the media who regularly cover the conference.
 
Mensah led the team with 6.3 rebounds per game and had career-highs in points (8.8) and blocks (1.4) in 2020-21. The forward is the anchor of the best defensive team in the Mountain West, which also ranks fourth nationally (60.1 points per game) and is seventh in defensive field goal percentage (38.7%). He ranks second in the conference in blocks at 1.42 per game. His 95 career blocked shots ranks No. 10 in the category in the program's record book. Mensah was also recognized as a league honorable mention from the media who regularly cover the conference.

On Monday, senior guard Trey Pulliam also received honorable mention designation by the media. Pulliam, who averaged 6.5 points, 3.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals during the regular season, upped his averages to 6.8 points, 3.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals during conference play.

The Aztecs return to action on Thursday, March 11 as the No. 1 seed at the Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. The game tips at  noon at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center and will be  carried on CBS Sports Network. SDSU will face the winner of today’s matchup between eighth-seed Wyoming and ninth-seed San José State.