San Diego State has become a popular destination for promising transfers seeking a return to California and a fresh start. Ex-Arizona big man Angelo Chol went to high school in San Diego and was in search of a new school.
Seems like a natural fit, right? Well, they both apparently thought so too.
Chol visited San Diego State on Tuesday and told the San Diego Union-Tribune the next day that he has informed coach Steve Fisher he plans to join the Aztecs. Despite interest from dozens of schools across the country, San Diego State was the only school the 6-foot-9 rising junior visited.
The addition of Chol is more impactful for San Diego State than his modest scoring and rebounding numbers at Arizona would suggest.
A former top 100 recruit at San Diego's Hoover High School, Chol chose Arizona over the likes of Kansas, North Carolina and Washington. The Sudan native contributed sparingly at Arizona as a freshman before watching his playing time off the bench all but vanish as a sophomore as a result of the three highly touted big men coach Sean Miller landed in the class of 2012.
Even with forward Grant Jerrett unexpectedly turning pro recently, it probably would have been more of the same next season for Chol. The addition of McDonald's All-American Aaron Gordon to go with returners Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski ensured that Chol would have been no better than Arizona's fourth big man had he returned.
There should be more opportunity for Chol at San Diego State. Whereas Miller typically would replace Chol with a starter as soon as he missed a defensive rotation or had a ball squirt off his hands, Aztecs coach Steve Fisher has a reputation for patience and for letting players play through mistakes.
Chol probably won't provide much scoring for San Diego State besides a few put-backs or dunks here and there, but his shot-blocking, rebounding and ability to run the floor can be an asset. Pair him with shot-blocking big man Skylar Spencer once Chol becomes eligible for the 2014-15 season, and that's an intriguing interior duo.
The one problem with adding Chol for San Diego State is it does little to address the team's primary need at the moment: more scorers.
A lack of scoring was already an issue for the Aztecs before Chase Tapley graduated and Jamaal Franklin turned pro. Chol probably won't help address that much unless he develops a low-post game during his redshirt year, but his rebounding and defensive prowess were too hard for San Diego State to pass up.