The numbers don’t lie; Jamaal Franklin is simply carrying the load for San Diego State this season.
It was expected that Franklin would lead the way for head coach Steve Fisher, but at 20-8 overall and 8-6 within the Mountain West Conference, the Aztecs are still trying to find their niche as a group before the NCAA Tournament arrives.
Overall, Franklin is leading the team in points (17.2), rebounds (9.1), assists (3.1) and steals (1.5) per game. Mr. Versatile has simply become the do-it-all performer for the Aztecs and we are about to find out soon enough whether or not it is beneficial to their success.
San Diego State could have the potential to make a run within the Big Dance, but that will likely require others to step up around Franklin. The inconsistencies and up-and-down structure of how the past month and a half has played out for the Aztecs has limited them from emerging near the top of the conference standings. In fact, San Diego State has not won three games in a row since a stretch between Jan. 2 and Jan. 12.
How does this relate back to Franklin? Well, it’s clear that when Franklin struggles, the Aztecs struggle.There is nobody who has stepped in to help bail them out recently.
Looking back at San Diego State’s last three losses, Franklin has scored in double-figures on each occasion, but is shooting a collective 12-of-41 from the field. That’s a 29.2% clip. As for their past two wins, Franklin is averaging 21.5 points per game while shooting 14-of-19.
Now, that’s only a comparison of Franklin’s production and relation to the team’s success over the past five games, but that’s the up-and-down effect of having a talent like Franklin pacing the squads in four major statistical category.
If San Diego State is going to advance and make a run within the NCAA Tournament, Franklin is either going to muscle up for a historic run or others will need to step up alongside of him.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS