As their season began with a win, the San Diego State basketball planted seeds this week for the future by inking a pair of four-star rookies.
Elijah Saunders, a 6-8, 220-pound forward who will graduate next year from Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, is ranked No.115 in his post, No.23 up front and No.8 in his state. Originally, according to 247Sports, he’s described as just as comfortable on the block as he is beyond the 3-point line.
As a junior, the nation’s No.145-ranked rookie, according to Rivals, averaged 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists in 22 games with a team that won the state basketball championship. 2021 Arizona Interscholastic Conference men’s 6A ball.
Saunders chose the state of San Diego from 24 other offerings, including Notre Dame and Virginia, as well as the Mountain West UNLV, New Mexico, Nevada, Fresno State and San Jose State programs.
Miles Byrd is a 6-7, 185-pound shooting guard who will be graduating this year from Lincoln High School in Stockton. A four-star prospect, according to 247 Sports, Byrd is ranked nationally as the No. 162 rookie, No. 20 shooting guard and No. 15 in California.
He averaged 19 points, 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks leading the team in an eight-game COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 season.
In a 28-game second campaign, he recorded 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
His father, Calvin Byrd, is a former college basketball player. He is an assistant coach at the University of the Pacific.
Byrd chose the Aztecs from ten other programs, including California and Stanford, as well as Mountain West programs in Colorado state, New Mexico, and San Jose state.
San Diego State won its regular season opener Tuesday against UC Riverside, 66-53. Transfer Matt Bradley, in his SDSU debut, led the scoring with 23 points.
“I think as he gets more comfortable he becomes more dangerous,” said head coach Brian Dutcher.
The Aztecs travel to Provo, Utah, for a meeting Friday with Brigham Young. The tip is set at 6 p.m. with the broadcast on BYUtv.