Franklin's Draft Status, Replacing Seniors

San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said Thursday afternoon that Aztecs star Jamaal Franklin is not near a decision regarding his NBA draft status. He'll have until April 28th to determine if he'll return for his senior season...

San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said Thursday afternoon that Aztecs star Jamaal Franklin is not near a decision regarding his NBA draft status.

"We're in the fact-finding stage, just as we did a year ago," Fisher said. "The NBA has a group that you submit your name to for information, and they give it to you over the phone. They do not give you feedback until after the Final Four, so we're hoping to get something sometime in that week."

SDSU would be losing 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game if Franklin were to declare for the draft.

"Then Jamaal and I will sit down again - we've talked already - and he and his mom will make a decision," Fisher added. "I will give them the facts and they will make the decisions."

The 6-foot-5 forward from Hawthorne (Calif.) will have until April 28th to make his final decision.

"We're in the process of doing all the due diligence, in terms of what the NBA people say," Fisher explained. "Once we do that and I get a chance to look at it, then I'll give him what my thoughts are. So right now, it should be left at that."

If Franklin comes back for his senior season or begins his professional career, either way he'll be ready.

"I guarantee you no one from our program or from any program has been in the gym more since their last game than Franklin," Fisher said.

Replacing the Seniors

The Aztecs will have a ton to replace in 2013-14 due to losing seniors Chase Tapley, Deshawn Stephens, James Rahon and possibly Franklin to the draft.

"It's the nature of the business, the nature of sports," Fisher said. "We've got the potential for 13 guys to be on scholarship. You recruit good people who are good players and when opportunity is there, you expect them to perform."

The four combined for 43.6 of SDSU's 69 points per contest (63.1% of their scoring).

"We've had players leave before and people wondered how we would replace them, and somebody steps up," Fisher explained. "Those will be the challenges the program and the individuals face. It's not a divine right if you started this year that you start next year. You earn opportunity, but then it's performance."

Who are guys that will have a shot to step up?

One guy expected to contribute next season is La Costa Canyon shooting guard Matt Shrigley, who redshirted during the 2012-13 season.

"I think Matt Shrigley, who didn't play at all, made real progress," Fisher said of his progress during his redshirt freshman year. "I'm proud of how he approached it. He wanted to be out there in practice every second and guard (Franklin) every chance he could. He said, `I need to learn how to defend at this level.' I'm anxious to see what he'll look like heading into the fall."

The Aztecs will also lean upon big man James Johnson and forward Dwayne Polee Jr., pair only played in 39 games on the season, to take a positive step towards developing their overall game.

"Two guys with great expectations that didn't get to play as much as they would have liked, we've got to roll up our sleeves and go to work and help them get better," Fisher said. "They made progress, but sometimes opportunity will allow you to show what you can do. So we'll have that opportunity as we move forward for sure."

Not to mention four-star wing Dakarai Allen and three-star point guard D'Erryl Williams will join the mix and should at least have an opportunity to play in a Winston Shepard type role.

"We've got two young freshmen coming in that I love to death," Fisher said of the Sheldon teammates. "I think they're going to be good players. They will compete for playing time. We've got guys on this team that didn't play as much as they thought they would that will have an opportunity."

The Aztecs are still looking to add "someone(s)" to the 2013-14 via the JuCo route.

Finishing Notes

-There has been a lot of talk about Fisher's future and health but he quickly reassured Aztec nation on Thursday:

"My health is great," Fisher said. "I had my annual physical back in October, and I did better than I did the year before on the stress test and all the other things incorporated with it. So I'm feeling great, excited about recruiting and looking forward to the spring, summer and next season with our program."

-The team met on Tuesday to discuss academics because they have missed so much class lately. They'll discuss when to start spring workouts after spring break, that will probably be April 9th or 10th.

-Mountain West Conference did not have any of their five tournament teams make it to the Sweet 16 but will that hurt its chances of getting multiple bids in the future:

"I think if we continue to schedule and have the non-conference success that we had this year, it will be hard not to have multiple bids from our league," Fisher said. "If we have similar non-conference success next year, I would say we will have multiple teams in. Whether we have five in or not, I don't know."

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