Women's Basketball | 11/18/2007

Cheriet: Matador this season, Aztec in '08-'09

San Diego State signs Matadors' Preseason All-American to official letter of intent

Yuma, Arizona November 19, 2007 Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Men's Basketball player Mehdi Cheriet has signed an official letter of intent to attend San Diego State University in San Diego, California next fall, and play basketball for the Aztecs next season. The announcement comes a little under a month after Cheriet was named as an NJCAA Preseason All-American.

Cheriet has already gotten out of the starting gates quickly this season, leading the Matadors in scoring in 2 of their 3 contests, and averaging just under 17 points per contest overall. Cheriet has taken on a much larger leadership role this season-especially since he's the only returning starter from a season ago. The 6'9 Cheriet has also had to adjust his game somewhat, spending as much time working on the perimeter with his outside game as he has in the paint this year. As a freshman, once the Tarare, France native made the adjustment from the international style of play to which he was accustomed to the American game, his game took off-along with the Matadors' late-season offense. Cheriet scored in double figures in 11 of the Matadors' last 14 regular season games in 2006-07, including his season-high of 32 points (and 9 rebounds) in the final regular season game against Central Arizona on March 2nd. 'The Freshman Frenchman' finished the season with an 11-points-per-game average last season-good enough to make the ACCAC Top 25 in scoring. He also was second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 boards per contest, and his 53.6% field goal shooting was 2nd-best of the AWC Starting 5.

Cheriet's current coach thinks the sophomore's signing during the NCAA's early signing period will help the sophomore's comfort level for the rest of this season. "We're really proud that San Diego State has seen in Mehdi what we've seen for two years," said AWC Men's Head Basketball Coach Kelly Green. "Mehdi has represented our program well, and will continue to do so this season. We've only had two guys sign during the early signing period since I've been here (the other being former NBA 1st Round draft pick Rafael Araujo, who signed with Brigham Young University early in his sophomore season at AWC), and I think getting that out of the way will help Mehdi just concentrate on getting good grades and playing basketball." His future coach is ecstatic about getting Cheriet in the fold early. "We are very excited about the addition of Mehdi for the '08-'09 season," said San Diego State Aztecs' Men's Head Basketball Coach Steve Fisher in a release. "He is the consummate European player who has the ability to play outside and inside. He will be a wonderful addition both as a student and a basketball player. We are very excited to have him."

Cheriet and the 17th-ranked Matadors are currently preparing for their final non-conference tournament of 2007 this weekend in Thatcher. They'll take on Clark College from Washington to open up play at the Eastern Arizona Classic Friday night, and then will take on Grand Canyon JV for the second time this season Saturday night in Thatcher. Both games tip off at 5:30PM. The Mats will then return home for their first conference matchup of the season a week from Wednesday, November 28th, as they host the Pima Aztecs as part of a men's-women's basketball doubleheader. The Lady Matadors will tip it off at 5:30PM with the men's Matadors taking the floor at 7:30PM. It will also be the first Matador Sports Network basketball doubleheader broadcast for the 2007-08 season. The Underhill Transfer Matador Basketball Pre-Game Show will kick off the coverage on radio (SportsRadio 560 KBLU) and internet (www.azwestern.edu/athletics)-courtesy of Audio Sports Online-starting at 5:15PM, and AWC TV (Time-Warner Cable Channel 74) will begin their coverage at 5:30PM.

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