With experts around the country placing SDSU basketball in their offseason Top 25, videos of clear growth in the returning players’ games, reports of the famous Aztec “gym rats” circulating, and people excelling against professionals at the Swish Pro-Am, Aztec Nation has been holding its breath waiting for the first bad news for the 2022-2023 team.
The collective exhale comes with news that Chad Baker-Mazara is no longer an Aztec. It became official this afternoon.
“Chad failed to live up to his academic responsibilities and is no longer with the program,” Head Coach Brian Dutcher said
Beginning last summer when he transferred to SDSU from Duquense, multiple people including his father, Derrek Baker, have been open about Baker-Mazara lacking the maturity to handle all facets of being a student-athlete. A year later these issues cost Baker-Mazara a place on the team.
Baker-Mazara averaged 6.4 points and a pair of rebounds a game.
His biggest moments as an Aztec came on SDSU’s biggest stage a season ago. During the NCAA Tournament, he scored 17 points in 17 minutes. More impressively, in a game where the Aztecs’ struggles from the free-throw line led directly to their 72-69 overtime loss, Baker-Mazara was 6-7 from the charity stripe. The rest of the squad was 4-10, leaving many wondering why he did not receive more minutes in the contest.
As recently as this past weekend, Baker-Mazara’s passion, energy, and competitiveness were on full display at the Swish Pro-Am. His team was short players forcing him to do what he has done his whole life, play against bigger, older players. His dad is a professional coach and would allow Baker-Mazara to practice with his teams.
Hopefully, this setback is a minor one for the ultra-talented player. It is a cautionary reminder that games in March are won with the effort put in when no one is watching. If SDSU is to reach its high expectations in 2022-2023, there is a lot of work still to be done by all players on the team.