The ninth player in the MWC Wire staff’s rankings is San Diego State forward Malik Pope.
Pope, who is from Sacramento, California, enters his senior year trying to fulfill on his potential and prove that he is an NBA talent. His journey here has been long documented. Breaking his leg twice in high school, his freshman year was limited as the staff erred with caution rather than rush him back. During his sophomore year he showed flashed of the potential that made him a five-star prospect in high school.
His junior year was once again hampered by injuries, this time in the preseason, however he began to improve as the year went on.
Last year he finished third on the team in scoring (11 points per game) and second in rebounds (6.1 rebounds per game). A good shooter, especially for a big man, Pope nearly equaled his career best last year while shooting 45.3% from the field and 39.2% from three. Staying healthy will help San Diego State as no one on the team has his combination of height and shooting ability, which makes Pope a dangerous weapon.
Should Pope put it all together this year then this will likely be the best Aztecs team in the last couple years. Having a player with his athleticism and shooting ability will cause consistent mismatches that will make it difficult for opposing defenses to stop.