#64 Utah State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Utah State Aggies

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #64
Conference Rank: #3 Mountain West

Utah State Team Page#64 Utah State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Utah State Basketball Tickets

Coach Stew Morrill’s great coaching career should have ended on a higher note. His Utah State squad finished 18-13, but didn’t make the postseason and lost in their opener of the Mountain West Tournament. Still, it was another successful season for Utah State, but just not up to what we have seen time and time again from Coach Morrill during his long career. Tim Duryea will take over for Morrill. At 14 years, he is Utah State’s longest tenured assistant coach, so he was the obvious choice and will continue what Coach Morrill has built in Logan. And with five starters returning, it shouldn’t take long for the success to come to Coach Duryea.

2014-15 Record: 18-13, 11-7
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Tim Duryea
Coach Record: 0-0 at Utah State, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
Despite five starters returning, Utah State lost much of their depth with the departure of JoJo McGlaston and Sean Harris. Those were the only two players other than the starting five that averaged double figure minutes. McGlaston, a 6-3 guard, was the team’s sixth man, averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Sean Harris and his awesome flat top averaged 2.0 points and 2.4 rebounds during his senior season.

Who’s In:
This team needs depth and size. They ranked 334th in the nation in rebounding margin and the hope is Lew Evans will be able to help immensely. The transfer from Tulsa spent one year with the Golden Hurricane where he started 22 games and averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. The 6-8, 235 pound junior is not going to be a major scoring threat, but just having some experienced size on the bench is a big deal. Grayson Moore has some size and experience too. The 6-7 forward spent one year at a junior college and another at an NAIA school before sitting out last season. Quinn Taylor will suit up for the Aggies this year too after spending a couple years on his LDS Mission. Like Moore, he may not make a big impact, but he is another big body. The backcourt adds Jake Miles, John Middleton, Alexis Dargenton and Shane Rector. Dargenton has the size and versatility to play the power forward spot for USU, but he is really a wing. Yet, at 6-7 and 190 pounds and with a strong tenacity for rebounding, he is capable of playing the four spot after spending one year at Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. Rector, another junior college transfer, figures to see some quality minutes at the point.

Who to Watch:
The newcomers should be able to provide the depth, but Coach Duryea needs his starting five to produce if he hopes to reach the NCAA Tournament in his debut season as head coach. It starts with wing Jalen Moore and forward David Collette in the frontcourt. Moore led the team with 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds during his sophomore season. He has emerged as the team’s leader and a very dangerous shooter. Collette was the only productive big man last year. As a freshman he averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and Utah State will hope he can take a step up in production, especially on the glass, with a year of experience under his belt. Darius Perkins and Chris Smith both made big impacts with the Aggies after coming in from the junior college ranks. Perkins averaged 9.5 points and a team high 3.3 assists, while Smith added 12.6 points and 2.5 assists. Those two are also a couple of the most efficient shooters in the conference. Perkins connected on 42.5 percent of his three-point attempts, while Smith shot an amazing 47.4 percent. Julion Pearre did not put up big numbers, but he did have a successful freshman campaign. He can handle the ball effectively and play solid defense while allowing his teammates to do most of the scoring.

Final Projection:
Another player to keep an eye on is sophomore Elston Jones. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, he is the biggest player on the roster. Jones averaged under ten minutes per game last season when Utah State needed him, but he is still full of potential. With a year of experience for Jones and a newcomer or two that can make an impact in the frontcourt, Utah State should not get outrebounded by 5.8 again this year. And that will make a huge difference. The size will help the defense too and this group should be a little bit more like what we’ve come to expect from the Aggies. An NCAA Tournament berth might be a bit of a reach, but this is a good team that can compete for a Mountain West title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Darius Perkins, Senior, Guard, 9.5 points per game
Julion Pearre, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 points per game
Chris Smith, Senior, Guard, 12.6 points per game
Jalen Moore, Junior, Forward, 15.2 points per game
David Collette, Sophomore, Forward, 12.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.6 (195th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.6 (95, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.2 (86, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (64, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (61, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.4 (14, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.2 (245, 6)
Rebound Margin: -5.8 (334, 11)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (54, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.4 (18, 2)


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