Malachi Flynn, 36 points, Favorite For MW Player of the Year

Malachi Flynn, scoring 36 points on Saturday, is favorite to win Mountain West Player of the Year

March 2, 2020
Malachi Flynn

© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Original byline Will Galvez @ 97.3 The Fan

Go ahead and grab the chisel out of the toolshed. The time has arrived to etch this historic regular season in stone on the Montezuma Mesa. What this team has accomplished during the season has set a precedent for future teams that will dart and dash across Steve Fisher Court. 

Gaining traction across the treacherous national media landscape but still disrespected enough to keep the chip on the player’s shoulders. To continue to have that insatiable appetite to appear in perhaps:

A Final Four? A National Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia?

In recent memory, this is one of the whackiest seasons in Men’s College Basketball. One where there is NOT an undisputable, number-one team littered with NBA Lottery picks. Anything is possible. 

Hell, peak at the AP Top 5 after the massacre this weekend. No.3 Gonzaga (WCC), No.4 Dayton (A-10), and No.5 SDSU (MW) all won and declared conference supremacy. The rest of the “Power Conferences” and “Bluebloods”, yikes...

This team has lofty goals. But before we rush into the beautiful chaos of March Madness, let’s reflect on the glorious journey the regular season produced:

—  (28-1), (17-1 MW) Record.

— Undefeated Road Record (First Time in Conference History).

— Malachi Flynn’s 36 points, 37th Aztec in school history to score 30+ in a game.

— Averaged 75 points per game.

The narrative of this magical season was the cohesiveness of the upperclassmen transfers of Malachi Flynn, KJ Feagin, and Yanni Wetzel jelling with the underclassmen. I would say it has been splendid.

On Leap Day, the San Diego State Aztecs can possibly leapfrog some teams in the standings. More on that in a bit with some shakeup losses that happened in the Top 25 on Saturday.

Facing a nine-point deficit heading into the locker room after the first half concluded, as well as UNR shooting a torrid 57 percent from the field, the Aztecs stormed back (their third victory after overcoming a double-digit deficit) and rallied to spoil Senior Night for the Nevada Wolf Pack in front of the soldout crowd of 10,855 at Lawlor Events Center. 

Jordan Schakel (9 points) who has been one of the sneakier weapons to State’s success this season sparked the comeback with some corner three-balls before getting into foul trouble later in the second half along with Matt Mitchell.

SDSU 83  Nevada 76.

In 2012, “Linsanity” took the country by storm for roughly two weeks for the New York Knicks. I am referring to Jeremy Lin, whose meteoric rise to NBA stardom was swiftly doused in the Spring of that same season after LeBron James’s Miami Heat brought Linsanity back to reality.   

In 2020, it’s “Flynnsanity’s” turn. 

“He put on a show,” said Brian Dutcher regarding Flynn’s stellar performance. 

Malachi Flynn is in strong contention to win the Mountain West Conference player of the year after scoring a career-high 36 points and outdueled junior, Jalen Harris, who also shined in front of NBA scouts sparsed throughout the crowd in Reno. 

“I just got it going early, and my teammate kept feeding me,” the junior guard said.

Being named as a Bob Cousey Award finalist (Nation’s Top Point Guard). Flynn, who transferred from Washington State and was forced to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer rules, has completely capitalized from his time away from the game looking stronger, quicker, and durable. 

He played all 40 minutes while leading the number-five ranked team in the country past Nevada and ending their six-game winning streak. Mal’s 36 points are the highest for an Aztecs player since Brandon Heath scored 37 versus UNLV in 2005. 

SDSU’s guard play was superb on Saturday, including Feagin’s 14 points (50 combined for the frontcourt) but it might have taken a hit. 

With 12:35 remaining in the game, KJ rolled his ankle during a play and winced in pain on the court before the athletic trainers and coach Dutcher helped him off the floor and gingerly walked to the locker room to get his ankle taped and returned to play. 

“My team needed me,” the senior guard said. “I taped it up, I could run just enough for me to play, so I got back on the court. Props to the coaches for putting trust in me.”

Media panelist has suggested that head coach Brian Dutcher be named the Naismith College Coach of the Year.

Ummm, you think?

Brian Dutcher’s first three years on campus have been productive. Coach collected his 71st victory on Saturday. 

He will prepare his team for the quarterfinals matchup in the Mountain West Conference Tournament which will begin on Thursday morning with tipoff at 11:30 am (PST) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

SDSU will face the winner of the 8/9 game. No. 8 Fresno State vs. No. 9 Air Force at noon on Wednesday. Fresno State won the season series (2-0). 

In terms of the “Big Dance” and where the Scarlett and Black will be seeded remains to be seen.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi explained, “Why San Diego State Remained a No.1 Seed” (https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/28768744/why-san... ) considering their lone blemish in the loss column after their perfect season was thrown out the window on Interstate-15 as UNLV came in and stunned the then, No.4 ranked Aztecs at Viejas Arena last week, 66-63.

March Madness is approaching rapidly. But on the Leap Day, this kooky season continues of unexpected losses and upsets continued. There were nine (9!!!) teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings that lost. Six (6!!!) lost to teams that were unranked. The AP voters have shuffled the rankings more than a Las Vegas card dealer on Labor Day weekend. After the proverbial massacre this weekend, the voters will have their hands full again. Come Monday morning. 

Kawhi Leonard and the 2010-11 basketball team are the measuring stick of success for this program. 

If Dutcher’s squad can remain focused. Get sophomore center, Nathan Mensah healthy enough to get minutes off of the bench. And advance past the Sweet Sixteen round in the tournament, then we will have to bust out a bigger chisel and find more surface area on that stone to etch postseason school history as well.