The Dagger - NCAAB

Steve Fisher appreciates the remorse sophomore Jamaal Franklin has shown since his DUI arrest earlier this month, but the San Diego State coach wants more from his 6-foot-5 wing than just apologies.

"It has to be a learning experience. It better be," Fisher said. "We preach every day accountability, responsibility and doing the right things. We say not to do anything that causes embarrassment to yourself and the program and he did that. He's a good kid, but he made a bad decision. Hopefully he'll learn and be able to help others down the road about how to do things the right way and what not to do."

Franklin's attorney told the San Diego Union-Tribune that his client's blood-alcohol level was .07 when police pulled him over near campus in the wee hours of the morning on Sept. 18. The legal threshold for drivers 21 and older is .08, but the 20-year-old Franklin was well above the .01 blood-alcohol level that can trigger a DUI for someone under age.

According to San Diego State's student-athlete handbook, Franklin would have to enter an alcohol intervention program and sit out for at least 10 percent of the season (three games) if he's convicted. Fisher said he'll wait until the legal process plays out before determining the length of Franklin's suspension.

The timing of Franklin's DUI is extremely poor for a San Diego State program that needs the energetic, athletic sophomore to be one of its most improved players to help make up for losing four starters from last year's historic 34-win season. Franklin averaged just 8.1 minutes per game as a freshman but performed well in the second half of conference play and in the NCAA tournament, showcasing an improved jump shot, relentless defense and an ability to get to the rim.

"Jamaal had a very unorthodox-looking jump shot to put it kindly when he got here," Fisher said. "He worked so hard to change everything about how he shot the ball. To see him turn into a very good catch-and-shoot player, that told us that here's a guy who can be special. He's going to play so hard all the time, but it's stepping up and making perimeter shots that was hard for him when he came in."

Since San Diego State lacks depth in the front court due to the loss of Kawhi Leonard, Malcolm Thomas and Brian Carlwell and the decommitment of LMU transfer Kevin Young, Fisher said the Aztecs may go small with Franklin at power forward. The idea would be that the sophomore can cause mismatches with his quickness on offense, yet boasts the strength and athleticism to defend bigger players defensively.

Regardless of where Franklin plays, Fisher envisions him having a breakout season.

"People saw a glimpse last year of what Jamaal can do," Fisher said. "He's high motor and extremely competitive. He needs to make sure he manages that, but I do believe he has tremendous upside. I think he has a lot of room to grow and a great deal of that will occur on game days. I love his potential."

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