Inaugural Event Scores Points with Attendees
(l-r) Betty ('41) and Bud Thompson ('39) attend the February 13 Aztec Athletic Legacy alumni chapter men's basketball reunion.
Bud Thompson (’39) is amazed at the changes in college basketball since he was captain of the Aztec team that played in the championship game of the 1939 National Intercollegiate Tournament.
“The players are bigger now and they’re better,” he observed. “Our game was based on maybe 25 or 30 points. If we ever had 60 points, it was fantastic. It’s a much faster game and, of course, a much more interesting game.”
At age 92, Thompson is likely the oldest surviving player to have donned an Aztec basketball uniform. He and his wife, Betty (’41), were among the 70 or so former men’s basketball players, trainers, managers, coaches and their families attending the February 13 inaugural reunion celebrating the SDSU men’s basketball program.
The event was organized through the Aztec Athletic Legacy alumni chapter, which was formed last semester to facilitate connections among former Aztec athletes and to build support for SDSU’s athletics programs.
“I think the turnout was great,” said former Aztec guard Chad Nelson (’98) who helped organize the reunion. “Just seeing some of the old faces together again, talking basketball, talking coaches, talking San Diego State history; that’s what this is all about.”
Aztec Director of Player Development Dave Velasquez gives a scouting report to former players attending the February 13 Aztec Athletic Legacy alumni chapter men's basketball reunion.
Reunion attendees visited the Saturday morning shoot-around at Viejas Arena as men’s head coach Steve Fisher and the team prepared to take on UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels. Lunch at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center included a scouting report from the Aztecs’ director of player development, Dave Velasquez. Then the group attended the afternoon game where Thompson was introduced to an appreciative crowd of Aztec fans.
LAYING A FOUNDATION
Former Aztec point guard Ray Barefield (’94) attended the reunion with his son, Sedrick, a seventh grader who plays league ball. He said he appreciates what Coach Fisher has accomplished with his players.
(l-r) Sedrick Barefield and his father, Ray Barefield ('94) at the Aztec Athletic Legacy alumni chapter men's basketball reunion.
“He does a great job not only of preparing them for basketball on the court, but you can really see the type of people he recruits and the type of people he builds and develops as they mature into young men,” Barefield explained. “I have to say he does an excellent job with that.”
Barefield said he would like to have had some of the facilities the university now has during his days as a student. But he says he appreciates the experiences he had as an Aztec basketball player and the friendships he still maintains from his time in the program.
“Without San Diego State I would say it wouldn’t have been possible, in a sense, to be where we are today in terms of the success we’ve had on and off the (basketball) floor,” he said. “Our experience here helped lay the foundation for us in business and in life.”
As for the basketball reunion, Barefield hopes it will attract even more attendees as Aztec basketball enjoys even greater success.
“As this (reunion) builds and more former players reach out,” he said, “they will come back and feel honored to be a part of the program.”Are you a former Aztec student athlete? Join the Aztec Athletic Legacy Alumni Chapter now!