The life of a college basketball coach is nonstop work. There are few vacations. After the Aztecs finished a difficult season with COVID pauses, short rests, and a disappointing loss in the NCAA Tournament, Coach Brian Dutcher immediately hit the reset button and put his focus on the 2022-2023 season. While the rest of the university was off for Spring Break, Dutcher and his staff were on the recruiting trail selling their program to potential transfers.
SDSU has at most five scholarships available this offseason. That amount could drop by one or two depending on the decisions of Nathan Mensah and Aguek Arop. Both are considering returning to the Mesa next season. Whatever the final total turns out to be, Tuesday that number was reduced by one.
Seattle University transfer Darrion Trammell committed to San Diego State. The rising junior will have one year of eligibility with the Aztecs, plus an extra year due to the COVID-19 season.
A focal point for the Aztecs this offseason is adding multiple guards. Two year, starting point guard Trey Pulliam graduated. SDSU also lost guards Che Evans and Keith Dinwiddie. Both transferred from the program. Lamont Butler is the only true ball-handler on the roster with Adam Seiko, who is returning for a sixth season, able to fill in on a limited basis.
One person who knows Trammell well is his high school coach, Rob Marcaletti. He coached SDSU’s newest point guard for four years at St. Ignatius Preparatory in San Francisco. His praise of his former player should have Aztec Nation excited about what Trammell brings to SDSU.
Trammell appears to be the perfect fit for an Aztec team that desperately needs a scoring guard. Kenpom ranked him second in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in offensive rating for players who were used on 28% of possessions. Last season, for the Redhawks, Trammell averaged 17.3 points per game. He scored 39 points in his final game, a 78-76 loss to Abilene Christian in the WAC tournament semifinal.
He can create his own shot. Like Pulliam, he utilizes a floater, he has a step-back jumper that will rival Bradley, and he can shoot from three. He is a career 34.6% shooter from behind the arc. His Instagram post of his commitment was captioned, “Imagine if I listened to the odds…” He may be shorter, but through his size disadvantage, he has developed creativity with the ball which separates him as a scorer.
“Elite level communicator and teammate – has the ability to make others better both on and off the court,” Marcaletti responded when asked what kind of teammate Trammell was in high school. “Quiet in the locker room but loud on the floor! Believes in a servant style of leadership where his work ethic and actions become contagious and speak volumes.”
Trammell stands just 5’10” and may draw parallels because of his size and scoring to former SDSU guard Terrell Gomez who averaged 19.8 points at Cal State Northridge before transferring to the Aztecs. But he is a different player.
Last season, the Aztecs went through shooting droughts because they became too reliant on Bradley and lacked a consistent player on the roster with playmaking ability. Trammell’s passing may be the most important addition to the team. He averaged five assists per game at Seattle. A guard with elite passing ability has been a missing dimension from previous SDSU teams. In the last 15 years, only one Aztec guard has averaged five assists a game: that was Malachi Flynn. If he can be a playmaker to complement his scoring, it will do wonders for the Aztec offense.
Trammell will also fill the essential need for free-throw shooting. SDSU lost multiple games last season due to missed free throws. The new transfer comes in shooting a career 84% from the line and has averaged 6.4 attempts a game.
Dutcher knows the team needs scoring, but he would not have looked at Trammell if he did not have the defensive ability. Last season, he made the WAC All-Defensive team. He is a pest on the ball. He averaged 2.5 steals per game, and he will be a tremendous complement to Butler who made the MW All-Defensive team.
The Aztec coaching staff will continue their offseason searching for transfers and awaiting commitments. They likely will look to add another guard and potentially a big man depending on Mensah’s decision. Regardless of what happens in the next weeks, the search is off to a great start.
“I have three daughters, and I have always said the best compliment I can give Darrion is that he is exactly the type of kid I hope my girls bring home one day. Class act and a ferocious competitor.,” Marcaletti concluded.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated Darrion Trammell has two years plus the Covid season. The article has since been corrected to say he has one year plus the Covid season. Trammell spent one season at the City College of San Francisco, and two years at the University of Seattle.