Kimo Ferrari returns home to San Diego with an opportunity

Kimo Ferrari

Credit: Brown Athletics

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Kimo Ferrari
Credit: Brown Athletics

On June 1, San Diego State added another local product from the transfer portal.

With one of the coolest names in all of the sport, Kimo Ferrari returns to his hometown as a walk-on for Brian Dutcher’s new-look Aztecs.

Ferrari has just one year of eligibility left since his first season at Brown University was canceled due to Covid. The Ivy-League prohibits graduate students from competing in athletics. That opened up a door for him to enter the portal and pursue his dreams elsewhere. It just so happened that Dutcher reached out with an opportunity.

“The whole transfer portal process is pretty hectic in general,” Ferrari told the East Village Times. “I am glad I was able to find a great spot at San Diego State. I mean, I have been pretty blessed in my three to four years at Brown. For my last year of college basketball, I was looking for a great culture and I think coach Dutcher and this State team have a great one so I am looking forward to it next season.”

Ferrari graduated from Francis Parker High School, just down the street from University of San Diego. He made quite a name for himself as the team’s most valuable player as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Furthermore, he was a two-time First Team San Diego All-County, two-year All-Academic, and was named to the Honor Roll for three years.

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Seeing him pursue his dreams at Brown was no surprise.

The San Diego native played his entire three-year career at Brown. He improved each year as a Bear and earned seven starts this past season, where he averaged 6.7 points on 46.5% shooting from the floor. Ferrari earned his stripes from the three-point line, averaging 1.7 made three’s a game at 44.8% shooting.

Ferrari’s senior season had its ups and downs. Few, though, had a better single-game performance. Against Dartmouth on March 2, he scored 39 points on 14-16 shooting, including 10-12 from three. His total was the 26th-highest single-game scoring mark in the NCAA last year.

That game was a performance of a lifetime. Ferrari more than likely won’t have the opportunity to score close to 40 points in a game at SDSU, but what he will have the opportunity to do is play in front of his friends and family who watched him grow up playing the sport.

Ferrari was asked if that was a motivating factor in his decision.

“It was a little bit of a factor,” he said. “Brown is over 3,000 miles away and so not a lot of my immediate family got to watch me play. But for the most part it was more of a ‘culture fit’ that I was looking for.”

The role Ferrari will have on this team is uncertain. He’s a three-point specialist who will help spread the floor when in the game, but with the added backcourt depth this staff brought in this offseason, it may be tough for Ferrari to earn minutes right away.

Kimo Ferrari
Credit: Brown Athletics

The good news for Ferrari, is that he doesn’t need to rely on his shooting to earn time. The 6-foot guard averaged 1.1 steals per game last season and 0.9 for his career. If the local product can come in and turn heads on the defensive end in practice, then coach Dutcher won’t think twice about giving him his shot to earn a role on the team.

Ferrari mentioned that he was dealing with a back injury this past season which hindered his movement, but still believed that defense is the reason that got him on the court.

“I felt that in my sophomore and junior years what really got me onto the court was my overall basketball IQ and my defense,” he said. “I think defense gets you on the court at these types of levels and I think it’s parallel with what coach Dutcher emphasizes here at San Diego State.”

The newest Aztec saw what his new school accomplished on the big stage during the NCAA Tournament, especially when they took down his former rival and fellow Ivy-League squad, Yale, in the Round of 32.

Yale defeated Auburn 78-76 thanks to a late comeback in the First Round, which was a stunner, to say the least. However, Yale would not have been in that game if it had not been for their 1-point win over Brown in the conference tournament. Seeing Yale succeed on that level motivated Ferrari to want to be on that stage for himself, and SDSU gives him that opportunity.

“Definitely,” Ferrari said when asked if playing in the NCAA Tournament is a goal of his. “Everyone growing up wants to play in March Madness so that is definitely a goal. We lost by one (to Yale) but we also were up six with 20 seconds left so seeing them on that stage and how much notoriety they got and how much they seemed like they enjoyed the moment was motivating to want to be on that stage next year with the Aztecs.”

Funny enough, SDSU went on to face Yale in the Round of 32 and defeated them by 30. That stood out to a player who was facing a tough decision on his future.

“I thought San Diego State was going to win the championship,” Ferrari said of his initial thoughts on SDSU defeating Yale. “I don’t think SDSU missed many threes, (Jaedon) LeDee was a force, the whole defense was a force. That was an impressive outing by State. They had a tough matchup in the Sweet 16 but looked real good in that (Yale) game.”

Ferrari is now back in San Diego and is preparing for the off-season program starting July 1. He has yet to meet any of his new teammates but has been in touch with some of them to prepare and start working out together.

The newest Aztec returns home with something to prove. He knows the odds are stacked against him, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he feels he belongs at San Diego State.

“I just want to be a great teammate,” he said when asked about what he can bring to the table on a nightly basis. “Day to day I really try to pride myself on being a teammate that people love coming to play with everyday. I want to help the team win no matter the aspect.”

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