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SDSU Men's Basketball Signs Four to National Letters of Intent

Steve Fisher announced the signing of four players to National Letters of Intent.
Steve Fisher announced the signing of four players to National Letters of Intent.

Nov. 12, 2008

SAN DIEGO - San Diego State men's basketball head coach Steve Fisher announced the signing of four players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The quartet, which consists of Kawhi Leonard, Chase Tapley, Malcolm Thomas and Alec Williams, will be eligible to play beginning with the 2009-10 season.

"We are very excited with this class," Fisher said. "We have not only quantity, but also quality. It would not take much imagination to envision all of them on the court together at the same time. We have recruited a number of spots with highly skilled athletes and one junior college player that brings added experience."

A 6-6, 210-pound small forward, Leonard signs with SDSU after helping King High School in Riverside, Calif., to a 32-3 record (8-0 Ivy League) in 2007-08. King advanced to the CIF Division I Southern Section finals where Leonard went on to score 23 points against Compton Dominguez. As a junior, Leonard averaged 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. An all-area second-team choice by The Press-Enterprise, Leonard is rated among the best at his position by various recruiting sites. Rivals.com ranks him as a four-star player, the 14th -best small forward in America and the 76th-best player at any position. Meanwhile, Leonard is Scout.com's 25th-best small forward and is ranked 34th at his position by ESPN.com.

"Kawhi is a long and athletic and has the ability to play all over the floor," Fisher said. "He is the kind of player that every coach loves to have. He is hard to guard and will guard hard."

Tapley, a 6-2, 185-pound guard from Sacramento, Calif., led Sacramento High School to its first-ever CIF Division III state finals appearance in 2007-08 after helping the Dragons to their first CIF Northern California Regional Championship. In the state title game, Tapley went for 35 points, nine rebounds and four steals en route to averaging 22.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.6 steals for the season. Tapley comes from a basketball family as his father played college basketball at Arkansas State.

"As a sophomore, Chase was maybe as athletic a player as there was in the country," Fisher said. "He suffered a broken leg and some people no longer recruited him. We stayed on him the whole time. We love his game. He is a big guard who can score in a variety of ways. The bigger the game, the better he plays."

Thomas is currently at San Diego City College after spending his 2007-08 freshman season at Pepperdine. During his stay in Malibu, Thomas averaged a team-best 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and was the Waves' second-leading scorer at 12.5 points behind current Aztec Tyrone Shelley, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. The 6-9, 220-pound forward played in all 32 games, made a team-high 28 starts and averaged a team-high 30.2 minutes. Prior to his stint at Pepperdine, Thomas was a standout player at nearby Crawford High School. In his final season as prep, Thomas averaged 13.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in helping Crawford to a section title. In two seasons at Crawford, Thomas blocked 215 shots to rank seventh all-time in CIF San Diego Section history and had 168 in 2005-06. Thomas will be a junior in 2009-10.

"A Crawford High School product, Malcolm will be an immediate impact player," Fisher said. "He is someone who will be able to use his size and versatility to be an instant factor in the Mountain West Conference."

A native of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Williams inks with the Aztecs after earning all-Trinity League second-team honors during a 2007-08 season in which he averaged 14.4 points at JSerra Catholic High School. Williams, a 6-6, 230-pound forward, guided the Lions to a 19-9 record and was an Orange Holiday Classic all-tournament team selection as a junior. Prior to JSerra, Williams played at Aliso Niguel High School.

"Alec is an undersized high-post, low-post player. He has the ball skills to step out and play on the perimeter."

The four signees join a pair of players who are already on the 2008-09 roster and are currently sitting out this season in Pepperdine transfer Shelley and Brian Carlwell, who transferred from Illinois.

San Diego State is expected to sign one more player during the early signing period, which started Wednesday and extends to Nov. 19.

2009-10 Men's Basketball Incoming Class
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl.* Hometown/Last School
Brian Carlwell^ C 6-10 295 Jr. Maywood, Ill. (Illinois)
Kawhi Leonard F 6-6 210 Fr. Riverside, Calif. (King HS)
Chase Tapley G 6-2 185 Fr. Sacramento, Calif. (Sacramento HS)
Tyrone Shelley^ G 6-5 220 So. San Diego, Calif. (Pepperdine)
Malcolm Thomas F 6-9 220 Jr. San Diego, Calif. (SD City College)
Alec Williams F 6-6 230 Fr. San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (JSerra Catholic HS)

* - 2009-10 classification
^ - Currently redshirting at San Diego State