The Aztecs secured their first commitment in the transfer portal on Tuesday. Junior point guard Darrion Trammell from Seattle University out of the WAC conference announced on his Twitter page that he will be transferring to San Diego State for next season with 2 seasons left of eligibility.
I don’t think anyone who follows the Aztecs closely saw him as a likely transfer candidate so most of us were surprised by the news. Some fans lamented about his lack of size at 5’ 10” inches tall and wanted a guard with length instead.
The initial reaction of surprise soon turned to intrigue as stats and videos of Darrion’s play at Seattle U. began to be shared on social media. SDSU coaches have a track record of using the transfer portal to find gems. Flynn, Feagin, Wetzell, Gomez and Bradley have all been starters and key contributors for SDSU. Trammell could be the latest in a growing line of Aztec legends snatched from the transfer portal.
It was no secret the SDSU coaches would be looking for offense in the transfer portal after last season saw one of the worst offensive units in the Steve Fisher/Brian Dutcher coaching era. According to BartTorvik.com, the Aztecs ranked 173rd out of 358 teams in offensive efficiency in 2022. Darrion should provide a shot in the arm to a beleaguered Aztec offense attack. Below are his numbers in a Seattle U. jersey.
A closer look at the levels of newest @Aztec_MBB transfer Darrion Trammell @dtrammell__
The CA native is an exceptional passer, knockdown FT shooter, a steal magnet, and knows how to get a bucket. #SDSU ⚫️🔴🏀🔥SOM JAM🎮
Originally tweeted by SONS OF MONTEZUMA™ (@sonsofmonty) on April 6, 2022.
Darrion scored in buckets for Seattle. He primarily played the point guard position and was effective both in transition and operating out of a pick and roll offense, the same offense that SDSU runs. Trammel has a quick 1st step and can get downhill toward the basket in a hurry. Unlike his predecessor Trey Pulliam whose best shot was a running mid-range floater, Trammell excels at getting to the rim. According to BartTorvik.com, in the 2021-2022 season he shot 55% when attacking the rim compared to only 32% on other 2-point shots.
An additional benefit of attacking the rim is that Trammell shot 6 free throws a game making 82% of them. Matt Bradley led the Aztecs last season with 4.5 free throws a game. The video clip below shows how well Darrion attacks the rim against much taller players.
While there is no disputing that Darrion is a true scorer, his best attribute on offense may be his passing. Trammell averaged 5 assists to only 2.9 turnovers per game. In transition, he’s adept at recognizing number advantages and proper spacing to get easy buckets for his teammates. In the halfcourt, he has unbelievable court vision and delivers a quick, accurate pass to his teammates for wide open shots. I found myself watching film and saying to myself “how did he make that pass?” over and over again. See for yourself in the video clip below.
There should be no concerns about Trammell’s ability to defend in the Aztecs’ system. Like the guards who in years past transferred to SDSU, all have improved their defense during their time as an Aztec. Trammell makes a living out of pick pocketing his opponents as he averaged 2.5 steals per game last season.
Opponents are going to get flustered trying to dribble with guys like Darrion and Lamont Butler hounding them all game. The Aztecs may have the best duo of ball thieves in the country next season.
How Does It All Fit?
Speaking of Lamont and Darrion, the million-dollar question is whether they will be in the starting lineup together or will there be a competition to see who starts at point guard? Most fans like myself assumed that Lamont served his apprenticeship under Trey Pulliam for two years and would be given the keys to the offense in 2022-2023. It’s a big reason why a lot of us diehard fans didn’t even have Trammell on our radar for potential targets in the transfer portal.
The addition of Trammell to the roster clouds the picture of whether Lamont will play the point. Last season he played out of position at the 2 spot and deferred primary ball handling responsibilities to Trey. Darrion mainly played on-ball at Seattle and did a fabulous job in that role of creating shots for himself and others.
While Darrion confirmed on the Jon & Jim Show on XTRA 1360 radio the day after he committed that he will be playing a little of both on-ball and off-ball at SDSU, it is unknown to what extent he will share primary point guard duties with Lamont and whether each will be comfortable and happy in their role next season.
One transfer guard who people are comparing Darrion to because of their similar size is Terrell Gomez who only played the 2020-2021 season with the Aztecs after transferring from CSUN. After he announced he wouldn’t be returning for his Covid year, Gomez publicly stated in an interview with Mark Zeigler from the San Diego Union Tribune the following: “I don’t think I fit in like I thought I would. It was just really tough for me to be consistent. Certain play calls, I feel like didn’t really fit me. We had certain plays to get shots, and we never got shots off those plays.”
The fear with bringing in transfers is that they will not fit into the team’s offensive & defensive system. After getting to the free throw line over 100 times each season at CSUN due to its up-tempo pace, Gomez only got there 17 times during his year at SDSU.
Like Gomez at CSUN, Trammell played in a more up-tempo offensive system at Seattle U. and frequently got to the line as well. Will Trammell be able to adjust to a slower pace at SDSU and rely more heavily on his offensive skills out of the halfcourt offense? Trammell shot as many attempts from the field per game at Seattle as Bradley did for SDSU (13). In Gomez’s only year as an Aztec, he averaged the lowest volume in shots of his college career. How will Trammell adjust to a lower shot volume? If Trammell gets moved to the 2 spot with Lamont at the 1 spot, how will he deal with the change in role? If Trammell loses the competition for starter at the point guard position and is relegated to coming off of the bench, how will he adjust to not being in the starting lineup? There are a lot of questions that I’m anxious to have answered when the team starts back up again in the Fall.
I’m very excited to have Darrion join the Aztec family. He is undeniably talented. I just hope it’s the right fit for him and others in the program that will help the Aztecs to finally end their NCAA 1st round losing streak and go further than any team in SDSU program history. Go Aztecs!