Aztecs notebook: Incoming freshman undergoes ankle surgery, out 2-3 months

Just when San Diego State got all its players on campus and cleared for summer basketball practice, it lost one.
Incoming freshman Magoon Gwath had surgery to repair a fracture in his right ankle and is out two to three months, likely meaning the promising 6-foot-11¾ forward from Dallas will redshirt.
Gwath played on the ankle for the first few weeks of summer workouts and showed flashes of his prodigious talents for someone his size, making step-back 3s or driving into the lane and Euro-stepping with his long legs through a tangle of players for an easy basket. Then X-rays revealed a fracture, and he was immediately shut down.
“Having talked to the doctors,” coach Brian Dutcher said, “even though he was out here playing on it, they just felt he was one twist or turn away from really fracturing it to the point where he couldn’t do anything. Out of an abundance of caution and knowing that Magoon is a long-term guy in the program, we wanted to make sure we get him healthy.”
Gwath was a late addition to the roster, committing on June 25 after initially intending to spend a post-grad year with Veritas Prep in the Los Angeles area. He grew up in the Dallas area and attended his first three years of high school there before transferring to Veritas Prep last season.
“He’s oozing with potential, just scratching the surface,” Veritas Prep coach George Zedan said in June. “You have essentially a 7-footer who can shoot the 3, is a willing passer and can actually handle the basketball. That’s obviously very, very unique. … The only thing holding him back now is he has to get stronger.”
At 190 pounds, redshirting was always an option so he can focus on gaining weight and strength without the regular grind of games, much like a rail-thin Jalen McDaniels did in his first year at SDSU before becoming an NBA Draft pick. The surgery may clinch that decision.
“I would say we’re leaning toward a redshirt,” Dutcher said, “but you never say never until you get him back and see what he’s capable of doing and how soon he gets back. He got enough of a taste and we saw enough of him to know he’s going to be a very good player.
“He has an incredible skill set. Most guys who are 6-11, you think they’re just a back-to-the-basket big. He can face up, shoot it, play off a close out with a one-dribble pull-up. He’s a very skilled player for 6-11, with really good footwork.”
Coaching retreat
Steve Fisher will receive a lifetime achievement award and Dutcher will be a featured speaker at the ESM Foundation’s Leadership and Coaching Retreat on Sunday, Aug. 20, at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public for a $200 donation that benefits two medical charities. (Register here.)
Dutcher’s topic is “Establishing a defensive identity.” Also scheduled to speak are Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. and Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Horst, along with others from the pro and college ranks.
The seminar is organized by Brian Elfus, a sports agent based in Carlsbad who represents dozens of coaches and front-office executives.
Elfus organized Zoom seminars among coaches during the pandemic shutdowns that started with 30 and quickly grew to more than 150, with participation from across the globe. Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May credited the weekly seminars during the Owls’ run to the Final Four, where they lost to SDSU on Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beating shot.
The event is followed by a charity tournament on Aug. 21 at Aviara Golf Club.
Barnett to CSUN
After four years as a walk-on guard at SDSU, Jared Barnett is a Division I scholarship player at Cal State Northridge under new coach Andy Newman.
It’s a logical fit, given Newman’s uptempo style and the ties to Westchester High School, where Barnett played, on the roster and coaching staff. Barnett got his degree from SDSU in the spring and comes to CSUN as a grad transfer with one year of eligibility left.
“We had him on an on-campus evaluation, he played great, the players really liked being around him, and we signed him,” Newman said. “He’s going to good for us, for what we do and how fast we play. He’s got a chance. I’m excited about him.”
The 6-1 Barnett appeared in 36 games in four years at SDSU, amassing 17 points, 10 assists and six steals in mostly mop-up minutes late in games. He did, however, get rotation minutes in a win during his junior year at UNLV when point guards Lamont Butler and Trey Pulliam were both out.
He was best known for running a scout team that Dutcher regularly lauded as one of the best in the nation.
“I think he did such a good job for (SDSU) that they wanted him to have a good final year and get some more meaningful minutes,” said Newman, who led Cal State San Bernardino to the Division II Final Four last season. “We needed a guy who can play the point for us. As we started investigating who was out there and available, we started making some phone calls about Jared and everyone we talked to said, ‘He’s really good.’ It was a perfect fit for us.”
End of summer
SDSU concluded summer workouts Tuesday, meaning players now get a couple weeks off before returning for the start of fall semester. Limited workouts are allowed through September before preseason practice begins.
Dutcher’s major takeaways from the six-week summer session: “We’re getting better. There are things that I’m concerned with, and that’s rim protection and rebounding. But that’s stuff I was concerned with before the summer started, and it’s something we’ll pay special attention to in the fall. We found a style of basketball offensively we felt suited us last year, and we’re just growing on it. There’s been a base that’s been set. I think we’ve hit a rhythm offensively where we’re better than we were at this time last year.”

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