120 wins. A trip to the national championship game. Adam Seiko leaves San Diego State after six years on the Mesa as the winningest player in Aztec basketball history.
From unheralded prospect to undisputed winner, Seiko’s name will be etched in the San Diego State record books. His basketball career chronicles the journey of a young man who made it to the top through hard work and perseverance.
Seiko was an under the radar recruit when the Aztec coaching staff offered him a scholarship. He was so under the radar that most sites did not have him rated or rated him a two-star prospect, which was a default rating.
In high school he played for Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California. The team was a star-studded squad with future NBA draft picks Marvin Bagley and Cassius Stanley. Former Arizona State and Kansas point guard Remy Martin and UCLA big man Cody Riley rounded out the starting lineup for the Trailblazers his senior year.
With many stars starting along side him, Seiko was an offensive afterthought. However, if you watched his games you knew that he was the defensive stopper on the team and his coach trusted him to stop anyone on the opposing side.
I remember watching the 6’3″ Seiko matchup and frustrate 6-10 Michael Porter Jr, a future first round draft pick, in a game his senior year. Seiko pestered the bigger Porter into bad shot after bad shot, displaying a hard-hat type of attitude that would define him as player in college.
Finding Seiko, a defensive specialist who could shoot the three ball, and getting him to commit to San Diego State was an underrated steal for the coaching staff.
His freshman year at SDSU, he dealt with injuries and eventually redshirted to heal and prepare himself for a healthy redshirt freshman campaign.
It is often quoted that at San Diego State “if you can play defense, you will see the floor.” Playing defense is what got Seiko on the floor early on in his career. He played in every game that first year, averaging about 12 minutes a contest and scoring 2.2 points a game.
Year number two was more of the same, but year three was when we saw Seiko take the next step.
In his redshirt junior year, Seiko began seeing 20-plus minutes a game. While not yet the knock down shooter that we know and came to love, Seiko became a solid rotational player at this time.
As a junior he nearly doubled his scoring from his freshman year (2.2 to 4.2 points per game) and shot a career best 78.3% from the free throw line. This attribute made him a clutch performer from the charity stripe and one that Coach Brian Dutcher could depend to be on the court in tight finishes.
In his final two senior years, Seiko became a three-point threat. He averaged over 40% from three-point range and five points per game. Even though his point total was modest, he became a threat to explode and score points in bunches.
This was most pronounced this season as he scored in double figures seven times, including a career high 25 points against Utah State on January 25th. That day he shot 77.8% from three-point range and became a fixture in opposing team’s scouting reports.
Afterward it was clear that the opposing team was told, “do not let Seiko get any open space.” Teams stopped helping off of him and his man was stuck to him like glue. Seiko was now an offensive threat.
Ultimately his career was an incredible one. He went from a no-star/two-star prospect to the winningest Aztec basketball player of all time. This is a testament to his hard work and determination.
I had previously interviewed Seiko numerous times and what always stood out to me was his understanding of who he was as a player and as a person. He knew he was never going to be the big name or the star of the team, but instead knew that he was going to be an important member of the team.
As of now Adam has notified Sons of Montezuma he is spending his life after SDSU, training hard in Los Angeles, CA for pre draft workouts. The professional ranks are within his grasp, but just listen to Adam for any amount of time and you clearly hear the voice of a potential coach.
Looking back at his career, some of his personal goals did not come to fruition, but others did. I doubt he ever thought he would have ended his career like this, as the most winningest Aztec. Or maybe he did have an idea of how it would end.
“…I want to make it to the Final Four and potentially win a national championship.” he once told me.
He did it and he almost brought it home. Either way Adam gave Aztec Nation six amazing years on the Montezuma Mesa and fans will always remember the joy & excitement he brought to us, for a very long time.