By Michael Maciejewski
For former San Diego State players, finding games in the summer against top competition used to be a chore. Players often focused on working out or headed back home to play in games that they were accustomed to playing.
That all changed in 2019 when The Swish League Pro-Am established itself with its inaugural season. The league brought together some of the best professional, college, and high school players from San Diego and beyond.
While everyone comes to see the amazing basketball, they mostly come to see some of the familiar names on the court. Some of the biggest draws have been current San Diego State players. From transfers, to freshman, to the upperclassmen, getting a chance to see the Aztecs up close and personal has been a treat to the San Diego State faithful.
The Swish League completes it’s 3rd week this Saturday. Here are the key takeaways I saw at last week’s games as we step into this Saturday’s matchups.
NATHAN MENSAH MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN
The first game of the day was a matchup between the Nathan Mensah led Pro Energy and Team HIT. The game began without Mensah anywhere to be seen and Hit took advantage taking a sizeable lead after one quarter. Mensah arrived for the second quarter and the Aztec big man immediately made an impact on both ends of the court.
Offensively he posted up down low and either bullied his way to the basket or drew the double team and found the open man for a better shot. Defensively he guarded the paint and really limited Team Hit’s options on offense.
Mensah finished the game with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) and three assists and four blocks. Overall, it was a solid game for Mensah, who was the tallest player on the court, and he took the lead for his team; constantly demanding the ball to let the offense run through him.
Something that stood out was Nathan’s ability to find the open man, which is something that he struggled with this past year. On Thursday he was aware of his teammates all over the floor and always made the right pass, even when it was on the other side of the court. An improved court awareness would be a welcome improvement this upcoming year.
There were a lot of positives from Mensah, however there was one negative that stood out and that was the number of cheap fouls that Mensah committed while on the court. It has been no secret that he gets himself into foul trouble which has kept him off the floor for extended periods of time. Therefore, it was disappointing to see him giving bad fouls.
NEWCOMERS TRAMMELL AND PARRISH SHOW PROMISE—DESPITE LOSS
For the second game of the day I got to see two of the new guys on the Aztecs roster, Seattle transfer Darrion Trammell and Oakland transfer Micah Parrish. Both guys played for That Goods Life versus Elite Ballers.
Ballers took an early lead on Goods Life and then got hot beyond the arc to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter. With Goods Life never really in the game, Trammell and Parrish were unable to get into a groove and it may have affected their play, however each finished in double-digit scoring.
This was my first time ever getting to see Trammell and I left extremely impressed. He finished the game with 18 points and five assists. One thing that stood out about Trammell was his poise with the ball in his hand. He will bring a lot of stability to the point guard position and is a great replacement for Trey Pulliam.
On Thursday he showed his ability to shoot from deep, hit free throws (6-6), and to draw fouls, drawing two from beyond the three-point arc. Defensively he was pesky and annoyed his counterpart on every possession.
Playing against a clearly dominant team, Trammell did have some struggles of his own. He is 5-10 and had difficulty with bigger and more physical guards and players in general. This may be an issue when he is forced to switch off screens or faces off against some of the bigger guards in the nation.
Like Trammell, Parrish did not get an opportunity to settle into his game due to the early deficit. By the time he got off the bench the game was beginning to spiral out of control. He finished the game with 12 points and three rebounds.
Parrish did hoist up quite a bit of three-pointers, mostly to try to catch up, but overall he showed a nice stroke and a high motor. He also played the passing lanes extremely well, collecting a couple steals and a number of near misses too.
Defensively Parrish kept his man in front of him and gave up little in drives to the basket. It is obvious to see why he was a member of the Horizon League All-Defensive Team.
While Trammell got backed down by defenders because of his stature, Parrish at times also got muscled by defenders, but this was due to his slender frame. Also there were times where he was overly aggressive on defense and found himself out of position, which could be a product of the fact that the game was getting out of hand.
It is always great to sit court-side and watch the Aztecs. The Swish offers a great opportunity to see some Aztecs Basketball during the offseason. For me the most exciting part was seeing the new guys, who I believe will be instant contributors in the upcoming season. Their defensive toughness will buy them minutes on the floor, while their offense will be a compliment to the other scorers on the team.
If you get a chance, go check out the Swish League at La Jolla Country Day school. There you can see Aztecs former and current. After a July 4th Holiday weekend pause, here are the game lineups for this Saturday, July 10.
|3:30||That Goods Life||Team HIT|
Michael Maciejewski is a San Diego State alumnus and long time Aztecs basketball fan. Founder of the former aztecnation.com, Michael was able to visit the Swish League’s 2nd week of games and contribute with this article for sonsofmontezuma.com. Our Kiss The Rings Co-host basketball reporter & analyst SDSportsfiend, was also on hand and provided some terrific videos to coincide.