New Aztec, transfer Matt Bradley, excelled in his first game with SDSU, a season-opening win over UC Riverside. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via goaztecs.com

As their season began with a victory, San Diego State basketball planted seeds this week for the future by inking a pair of four-star recruits.

Elijah Saunders, a 6-8, 220 pound forward who will graduate next year from Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, is nationally ranked No. 115 at his position, No. 23 at power forward and No. 8 in him home state, according to 247Sports, He’s described as equally comfortable down on the block as well as beyond the 3-point line.

As a junior, the No. 145-ranked recruit in the nation, according to Rivals, averaged 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 22 games on a team that won the 2021 Arizona Interscholastic Association Conference 6A Boys Basketball State Championship.

Saunders chose San Diego State over 24 other offers, including Notre Dame and Virginia, as well as Mountain West programs UNLV, New Mexico, Nevada, Fresno State and San Jose State.

Miles Byrd is a 6-7, 185-pound shooting guard who will graduate this year from Lincoln High School in Stockton. A four-star prospect, according to 247 Sports, Byrd is nationally rated as the No. 162 recruit, the No. 20 shooting guard and No. 15 in California.

He averaged a team-leading 19 points, 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks in an eight-game COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 season.

In a 28-game sophomore campaign he logged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

His father, Calvin Byrd, is a former college basketball player. He’s an assistant coach at the University of the Pacific.

Byrd chose the Aztecs over ten other programs, including California and Stanford, as well as Mountain West programs Colorado State, New Mexico, and San Jose State.

San Diego State won its regular season opener on Tuesday against UC Riverside, 66-53. Transfer Matt Bradley, in his SDSU debut, led the scoring with 23 points.

“I think as he gets more comfortable he’ll become more dangerous,” head coach Brian Dutcher said.

The Aztecs head to Provo, Utah for a Friday meeting with Brigham Young. Tip is set for 6 p.m. with the broadcast on BYUtv.

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