Video: Watch Kawhi Leonard's Jersey Be Retired by San Diego State

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2020

FILE- In this March 12, 2011, file photo, San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard gestures after hitting a 3-point basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball championship game against BYU in the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas. Nine years after Leonard helped lead San Diego State to national prominence, the Aztecs will honor the greatest player in program history by hoisting his No. 15 jersey into the rafters at Viejas Arena, high above Steve Fisher Court on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. ((AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Before Kawhi Leonard was an NBA champion and on the short list of the league's best players, he was the leader of the San Diego State Aztecs.

Now his No. 15 jersey will never be worn again at the school.

San Diego State retired his jersey as part of Saturday's game against Utah State at Viejas Arena. He is the first player in Aztecs history to have his jersey retired, and he earned the distinction with just two collegiate seasons.

Leonard arrived at San Diego State as a 4-star prospect in the class of 2009, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and won the Mountain West Freshman of the Year behind 12.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He also led the Aztecs to the NCAA men's tournament for just the sixth time in program history that season.

While his freshman campaign was impressive, he took a significant leap in 2010-11.

Leonard averaged 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game and was named second-team All-American and first-team All-Mountain West Conference. He also led the Aztecs to 20 straight victories to start the season and a spot in the Sweet 16.

They lost to the eventual national-champion Connecticut Huskies, but they also won a March Madness game for the first time in program history.

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San Diego State made the NCAA tournament the four seasons after Leonard left as well, advancing as far as the Sweet 16 in 2014. It is now a national title contender with an undefeated record and the No. 4 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25.

It is not hyperbole to suggest Leonard helped set the program on its course, considering the success it enjoyed while he was there and in the subsequent years compared to before his arrival.

He was honored accordingly Saturday.

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