Aztecs’ Schakel wins MW Player of the Week

Credit: AP Photo

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Last week the San Diego State University Aztecs played just one game. A big-time victory over No. 23 ranked Arizona State was all Jordan Schackel needed to win the Mountain West player of the week. He even received national attention when Andy Katz, a March Madness host, named Schakel his player of the week for all of college basketball.

When it comes to being named the Mountain West player of the week, Schakel said, “It means a lot. I’m just extremely thankful. All glory to God, and I just thank everyone who has helped me along the way. I’m blessed to be in this position and thankful to all my teammates and coaches.”

Against ASU, Schakel put up 25 points with six rebounds and two steals. He shot 9-15 FGs, 5-9 from deep, and made both his shots from the charity stripe. This season he has added more offensive depth to his game, allowing him to be an elite scorer. Last season he was more of a catch and shoot (from deep) type of player, a Klay Thompson-esque player. This year he is more confident with handling the ball and driving to the basket.

SDSU lost a lot of offensive production when Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzel, their No. 1 and No.3 three scorers, went on to play professional basketball. Schakel has filled the void going from 10 points per game last season to 15.2 points per game this season.

One thing that makes him such a deadly shooter is his efficiency. Using the stat PPS (points per shot), we can see how well a player is efficient a player is with their shot selection. Last season he had a PPS of 1.38, which was slightly higher than Flynn’s 1.35. This season Schakel has increased his PPS to 1.52,  equating to roughly 1.52 points for every shot.

On the idea of adding depth to his game, the stats show how he has added more depth. He went from making 3.3 field goals per game in 2019 to making 4.8 in 2020. That can be attributed to taking more shots and a 4.7% bump in his field goal percentage. When asking about his mid-range plays, he said:

“Actually, I’ve always liked the pull-up. I used to do it a lot in high school. When I first got to San Diego State, it was hard to know when to take those shots. It was hard to know how I can get them off against a faster, stronger, taller guy. I think as a senior; you get confidence in being able to take those shots. Like that fade away, I didn’t really practice that. It’s just something that was kind of instinctual; having confidence to take and make the shot.”

It cannot go without mentioning that Schakel, like most Aztecs, can play very defense as well. The defense was the cornerstone of former head coach Steve Fisher and remains one with Brian Dutcher. With his ability to shoot the ball well and play SDSU level defense, this probably won’t be the last time Schakel earns the player of the week nod.

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