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SDSU-TCU MBB Postgame Notes
Jamaal Franklin lifts No. 22 MBB past No. 12 UNLV
Photos from the Aztecs' practice in preparation for Friday's second round game against NC State.
Entering 2011-12 Season
Tony Bland, a two-time all-Mountain West Conference selection who guided the Aztecs to an NCAA and postseason NIT appearance in his two seasons on Montezuma Mesa, enters his first season as an assistant coach at his alma mater.
Bland, 31, is the first San Diego State graduate to serve as a full-time assistant coach since the 1977-78 campaign. He also becomes the third former Steve Fisher-coached player to serve as a full-time member of the coaching staff at SDSU, following Gary Grant and Mark Hughes.
His duties as an assistant coach include on-court coaching, opponent scouting and recruiting.
Bland transferred to San Diego State after playing two seasons at Syracuse. A native of Los Angeles, Bland played college basketball for two national championship coaches in Jim Boeheim and Fisher and was part of teams that won 84 games and advanced to three NCAA Tournaments and a postseason NIT in his four seasons at the collegiate level.
As a college player at San Diego State and Syracuse, Bland recorded 1,368 points, 331 rebounds, 319 assists while playing in 127 games and making 95 starts.
Bland, a captain on the 2001-02 Aztec squad, led the team to its first Division I postseason victory in school history, a 67-62 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara in the NIT. That year, as a senior, Bland averaged a career-high 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He earned second-team all-conference honors and was named a member of the NABC District 13 and USBWA District IX teams.
As a junior, Bland led San Diego State's magical run to a Mountain West tournament championship and the school's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1985. He averaged 15.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists, in becoming the first player in the history of the Mountain West Conference to rank among the league's top-10 players in scoring and assists and top-20 players in rebounding.
After college, Bland earned an invitation to take part in the Indiana Pacers training camp before playing in the United States Basketball League (USBL) where he played for former NBA player John Starks. During his stint in the USBL, Bland averaged 18.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists en route to earning the league's Rookie of the Year award. From there, Bland participated in the Sacramento Kings' training camp in the fall of 2004 before signing a contract with the team.
Following his stay with Sacramento, Bland played in Russia before moving on to the NBDL's Albuquerque Thunderbirds, where he played for two seasons for former NBA player Michael Cooper and won a championship in 2005-06. Shortly thereafter, Bland went overseas to play in Europe before returning to San Diego State prior to the 2008-09 campaign to serve as the team's head manager and ultimately finishing his degree in social science. That season, the Aztecs won a then-school-record 26 games en route to the postseason NIT semifinals.
Prior to his return to San Diego State, Bland was the personal trainer for Trevor Ariza, a forward for the New Orleans Hornets, for two seasons.