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Leonard Attracting Offseason Attention from CNNSI.com

Kawhi Leonard is garnering national attention entering his sophomore season.
Kawhi Leonard is garnering national attention entering his sophomore season.

June 7, 2010

SAN DIEGO - After a stellar freshman season, CNNSI.com writer Andy Glockner has listed San Diego State rising sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard as the top player to watch from a non-automatic qualifying BCS conference. Leonard falls under Glockner's category of "Guys you may not have heard of, but will."

In 2009, Leonard was just shy of averaging a double-double with 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per a game. The Riverside, Calif., native was an all-conference first-team selection, as well as the Mountain West Conference's freshman of the year.

"As a freshman, Leonard was a rebounding savant, finishing in the nation's top 60 in rebounding rate at both ends," Glockner said. "San Diego State returns most of a team that made the NCAAs last season and once again should be a dangerous threat in the Mountain West."

The Aztecs are coming off a 25-win season after finishing the year with a 25-9 record. San Diego State, which won its third MWC tournament title en route to earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament last year, is also fresh off its fifth consecutive 20-win season and postseason appearance.

SDSU, which finished 30th in the final Associated Press poll, is scheduled to return all five starters and eight of their nine top scorers from last year, including Leaonard, the MWC tournament MVP, and seniors D.J. Gay, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White. What is expected to return for San Diego State has caught the eyes of the national media as ESPN.com's Andy Katz and Pat Forde have placed the Aztecs in their preseason top 25, and Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman has listed San Diego State among the nation's top teams for the upcoming campaign.