Kawhi Leonard quickly ascended into position as the greatest basketball player to come out of San Diego State. His induction into his alma mater’s athletic Hall of Fame seems like a simple decision, and the university followed through on that Tuesday.
The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard will be inducted into the SDSU Hall in October, according to Rob Dauster of Pro Basketball Talk.
Leonard contributed to what’s become the finest era of San Diego State men’s hoops. His two years in southern California began a steady run for a program not previously relevant in the college basketball lexicon.
Prior to being taken No. 15 overall by the Spurs in 2011, the wing led the Aztecs to the NCAA tournament in 2009-10. That appearance would be the first of six for Steve Fisher’s program, and the future NBA All-Star inflated his stock and furthered the school’s hardwood reputation the following season.
The 2010-11 Aztecs reeled off a program-record 34 wins, going 34-3 and climbing to as high as fourth in the country. Leonard, who led San Diego State to the Sweet 16, averaged 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds that season despite standing only 6-foot-7. He was a consensus All-American that season, after which he declared early for the draft.
Other members of San Diego State’s Hall of Fame include NFL standouts Marshall Faulk, Brian Sipe and La’Roi Glover, baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, along with future No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, and former NBA talent Michael Cage.
Leonard averaged 21.2 points per game last season with San Antonio and earned his first All-Star nod. More notably, the former Aztec earned NBA Finals MVP acclaim for his work against LeBron James in the 2014 Finals.