Clippers Aztecs NCAA
Kawhi Leonard’s No. 15, which San Diego State retired Saturday at a ceremony at the half. Photo credit: @Aztec_MBB, via Twitter

Former San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said one word comes to mind when he thinks of Kawhi Leonard – winner.

“Big-time winner,” he added.

Fisher hosted the ceremony at the half as SDSU retired Leonard’s No. 15 Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd at Viejas Arena for the Aztecs’ game against Utah State.

Leonard, now a Los Angeles Clipper and two-time NBA champion, attended the ceremony, backed by family and an impressive Clipper contingent, as the university revealed his jersey in the rafters above Section R.

Fisher called the evening “the senior night that we never got to have with you,” referring to Leonard’s two years on the court, in 2009-11, before he left for the NBA.

Leonard called the evening “a dream come true,” thanking his family, the fans, Fisher, his former Aztec teammates and his current team. Known as a man of few words, though, he quickly turned the focus from himself to the 2019-20 Aztecs.

“The Aztecs are doing great this year,” he said. “Thank you for coming … but we got another half to go.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who stood on the court during the ceremony with his boss, team owner Steve Ballmer, said he “didn’t have to ask” his team to come to San Diego to celebrate Leonard, though they worked earlier in the day. The Clippers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-106.

Rivers added that Leonard leads with his play, not his words. “The example he sets, everyone follows.”

That’s exactly how Fisher summed up his former charge.

“Kawhi doesn’t talk a good game, he plays a good game,” Fisher concluded.

– Staff reports