SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego State's Jalen McDaniels was guarded in his first comments since being sued by two women who accused him of filming sex acts in 2016 while in high school and sharing them with friends through social media. He called the lawsuits "a very serious situation."
McDaniels, who leads the Aztecs with 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, had been kept away from the media by SDSU since the first lawsuit was filed in mid-December.
The redshirt sophomore said Friday he was finally "comfortable" to talk with the media after consulting with his family and his lawyer.
"I feel like everywhere I go people are going to ask questions," said McDaniels, who attended high school in Federal Way, Washington, and whose younger brother, Jaden, is being recruited by SDSU as well as UCLA, Washington, Kentucky and Texas. "But I wanted to let (the media and fans) know that it has affected me. It's a very serious situation and that is why I came here."
Asked what he might tell the alleged victims, McDaniels said: "I really can't talk about it. Hopefully there is a time I can come out and say things, but right now I just can't."
Said coach Brian Dutcher: "I'm not going to make him come out and talk. It would be different if the legal system had run its course and we could comment on everything. But I think the nervousness was it was still in the system and his family didn't want him out here saying something that would cost him down the road and there is always that possibility when you have a young man in front of the media. I think we all appreciate that."
Dutcher said it's been a trying time for McDaniels, who had a streak of six straight double-doubles from Jan. 8-30 and has seven double-doubles in the last 14 games.
"He's done a great job of playing through it all," Dutcher said. "It's not been easy, not been easy on anybody and everyone involved. But he's done good job of playing on the basketball court and in the classroom. He remains a valuable member of this team and one of my favorites.'"
McDaniels said he can't help but speculate about how others view him.
"It's just going out there on the court with 12,000 fans every night and their perspective of you from what they read," he said. "You never know what they think of you. You can say it doesn't affect you but it really does. I just want to let them know I'm growing every day to be a better person."
SDSU (18-10, 10-5 Mountain West) has had an uneven season and is fighting for the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.