The guy on the end of the bench of a 30-2 team is in the transfer portal.
Walk-on guard Caleb Giordano announced he is transferring in hopes of finding a scholarship and rotation minutes after primarily working on the scout team in two seasons at San Diego State. He played one year at Miramar College, redshirted his first year at SDSU, then appeared in 11 games for 26 total minutes in 2019-20 — taking all 10 of his shots and scoring all nine of his points from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I have talked with my family and I believe it is my best interest to transfer and play at another school,” Giordano said in a message posted on social media. “I want to thank you for everything and hope that you respect my decision. I wish the best of luck to the program and all of my brothers still there.”
The 6-foot-3 Giordano, who has two years of eligibility remaining, becomes the fourth walk-on in five years to transfer after coming to SDSU less with the intention of playing than improving.
Parker U’u went to Division II San Francisco State, where he averaged 7.9 points before his senior season was cut short by injury. Ben Perez, who was part of SDSU’s rotation as a freshman, detoured to a junior college in Texas before spending his final two seasons at Div. I Iona, averaging 8.2 points as a junior on a team that reached the NCAA Tournament.
Niksha Federico, a 6-7 wing from Cathedral Catholic High, transferred to Hawaii Pacific for his final season and averaged a double-double (21.7 points, 10.4 rebounds), ranking among the nation’s Div. II statistical leaders. He now plays professionally in Spain.
“Caleb has been an asset to the Aztec program, we’re going to miss him and we wish him well,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “He’s going to try to get a scholarship and increase his playing time somewhere else. You just have to find the right situation where there’s a need for you.
“Niksha went down a division and parlayed it into playing professionally overseas. It was a solid move, and he got better from being in our program. Coaches, players, everybody has their own path. You just have to find what that path is.”
Replacing Giordano on the scout team will be Derek Morhar, a 6-5 incoming freshman from Calabasas High. Morhar was a first team all-county selection by the Ventura County Basketball Coaches Association and was named Scorebook Live’s Southern California player of the week in February after scoring 37 points against Westlake.
The NCAA has extended the recruiting “dead period” for all Div. I sports from June 30 through July 31, meaning coaches can’t travel to see players or host them on campus visits. That could help and hurt the Aztecs as they pursue transfers for their final scholarship.
Daivien Williamson, a 6-2 guard from East Tennessee State, has narrowed his list to SDSU, Wake Forest, BYU, Tulsa and Georgetown, with the first two considered the front-runners. SDSU offers a winning program and recent success with a transfer guard (Malachi Flynn), but Williamson has never been to San Diego and now can’t visit until August. Wake Forest is rebuilding but offers familiarity; new head coach Steve Forbes came from ETSU, and Williams grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The other transfer they’re linked to, Utah guard Both Gach, knows the Aztecs program well. He picked Utah over the Aztecs two years ago, took a recruiting trip to SDSU, played against them last December and is close friends with junior forward Aguek Arop.
Frank Anselem, a 6-10 senior from Prolific Prep in Napa, also has SDSU in his list of finalists.
Dutcher has one scholarship remaining for 2020-21, assuming Matt Mitchell withdraws from the NBA Draft and returns for his senior year, as most expect. The original NCAA deadline for underclassmen to retain collegiate eligibility was June 3, but that has been extended indefinitely with the June 25 draft postponed. The NCAA has said it will wait for the NBA to solidify a pre-draft timeline before setting a new date.
©2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune