Utah State Aggies
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #91
Conference Rank: #1 WAC
Utah State Team Page
Utah State had a whole slew of new faces during the 2011-2012 campaign and their dominance over the WAC took a big step back. But that big step back still included a trip to the CIT where Utah State made it all the way to the championship game. This year should be better, but there are still a lot of new players, ten total, that Coach Stew Morrill will have to fit in with his newcomers from last season that are still around. Preston Medlin was not a newcomer last year, but he did sit out the 2010-2011 campaign. But he came back very strong, leading the Aggies with 17.0 points and adding 3.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds. Medlin is an amazing shooter and connected on 49.6 percent of his shot attempts, which is amazing for a player who took six three-pointers per game. Other holes need to be filled, but Medlin will still be a high scoring shooting guard who can also handle the ball a little bit when needed.
2011-12 Record: 21-16, 8-6
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Stew Morrill
Coach Record: 345-119 at Utah State, 563-267 overall
Brockeith Pane is the tough loss for the Aggies. He was second on the team in scoring and dished out 4.3 assists per game. His leadership will be greatly missed. Morgan Grimm is the other lost starter. The forward was a fine rebounder and a pretty good interior scorer who stepped up during his senior season when the Aggies needed him to do so. Brady Jardine was supposed to be the main force in the frontcourt, but he only played in three games before his collegiate career came to an early end. Losing those three is big, but the loss of some roleplayers will put a lot of pressure on the newcomers to once again fill in some big voids. Mitch Bruneel, E.J. Farris, Steven Thornton and Adam Thoseby may not have put up huge or numbers or, in some cases, played many games, but they were all capable of filling in more minutes if they were still around.
Five of the newcomers have collegiate experience and those are the ones Coach Morrill will rely upon the most to make an immediate impact. Junior college transfer Spencer Butterfield spent one year at Yuba Community College in California and is a high-flying 6-3 wing who can score in bunches. He should provide a nice offensive spark off of the bench behind Medlin. Sean Harris is also from Yuba Community College and the 6-7 forward will add some much needed depth to the frontcourt. However, Jarred Shaw, a transfer from Oklahoma State and Matt Lopez, a transfer from La Salle, are expected to make a larger impact. Shaw did not see much action with the Cowboys, but he is a 6-10, 235 pounder who is surprisingly athletic and nimble for his size. Lopez will not be eligible until the second semester and does not have much of any playing experience, but he is a big, tough post presence who should at least be able to help out on the glass and defensively. TeNale Roland was a nice pickup for USU and the 6-1 point guard from Rend Lake College will likely step right into the starting point guard spot. Marcel Davis is the most likely of the freshmen to see playing time this year, mostly due to the fact that he fills a need at the point guard spot. Quincy Bair, Riley Bradshaw, Marvin Jean and walk-on Quinn Taylor will look to add depth on the wing.
Who to Watch:
Four players return who made their Utah State debut last season. They will suddenly go from newcomers with little expectations to leaders. But just because their expectations were a little on the low side during the 2011-2012 campaign does not mean they did not perform. Kyisean Reed came in from the juco ranks and immediately put his stamp on the program. Now a senior, the 6-6 forward averaged 10.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and a team high 1.1 blocks last season. Reed may be a little undersized for a traditional power forward, but the lefty is tough and his rebounding ability and athleticism make up for his lack of height. Of course Reed can spend time at the small forward spot, but he is not a shooter, so expect him to stay at the four spot most of the time. Danny Berger will play at the small forward position. The 6-6 wing was a little rusty after spending time on his LDS mission, but it did not show for very long. Berger is a good shooter, but needs to use his size to get to the basket more often. But even if he sits back and shoots, he will do it well. And he can rebound and pass too. Ben Clifford and Jordan Stone are a couple sophomores who will be looking for some more playing time. Clifford is a walk-on, but he had a solid freshman campaign, averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. Stone is another big man and his year of gaining strength and experience should help him see a few more minutes.
Coach Morrill will continue to work his magic. Last year it did not result in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but the Aggies made the most of their postseason berth. This time around the story will pretty much be the same as a host of newcomers step in and will have to make an impact. The Aggies reload quite often and they usually dominate the WAC anyway. This version of the WAC is watered down compared to years past and as long as Utah State can get the best of New Mexico State, there is nothing stopping them from getting back to the big dance.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
TeNale Roland, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Preston Medlin, Junior, Guard, 17.0 points per game
Danny Berger, Junior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Kyisean Reed, Senior, Forward, 10.0 points per game
Jarred Shaw, Junior, Center, DNP last season