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Now that San Diego State’s season is over with a loss to Baylor in the NIT semifinals Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, here are a couple of quotes from senior Lorrenzo Wade that stood out in my mind.

Both say a lot about the state of Aztecs basketball after 10 years of Steve Fisher turning around what was one of the worst programs in the country. SDSU’s 26-10 record is the most wins in school history and three wins in the post-season the most since a 1941 NAIA title.

Wade, who was with Louisville as a true freshman in the 2004-05 season when the Cardinals played in the NCAA Final Four, made both comments during the NIT run.

After the loss to Baylor:

“I’m going to miss playing with this group of guys. This is, I believe, the best team, well, one of the best teams I’ve ever been on, and this is definitely the closest team that I’ve ever been on.”

After the win over Saint Mary’s:

“I am possibly more excited for Coach Fisher than I am for myself. He has been through the trenches here at San Diego State. There are a lot of people that kind of turned their backs on him for a little while and didn’t believe that he could get the job done. He has turned this program around, brought in good players and San Diego State is now something that the city of San Diego can be proud of. That is all because of Coach Fisher.”

Here’s a guy that has been to the Final Four with a program, Louisville, that attracts all the pro basketball agents and shoe and apparel companies in the shadows.

Yet in the end, he finished his college career helping Fisher build San Diego State basketball into a legitimate program. Wade leaves SDSDU standing closer to the ideals of what college athletics are supposed to stand than he ever was at Louisville.

— TOM SHANAHAN

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