Matt Gade, Deseret News
LOGAN — Utah State basketball is going to be without its leading scorer, at least for a little while. On Monday afternoon, head coach Stew Morrill announced that starting center Jarred Shaw has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Morrill and the university declined to comment beyond a press release sent out by the school confirming the suspension, but Morrill said on his weekly coach’s show on KVNU 610 AM that Shaw had made bad choices and would have to wait for the legal aspects to take their course.
It is unknown at this time if Shaw could rejoin the team at some point during the season.
Shaw, a transfer from Oklahoma State University, leads the team in points scored at 16.1 per game, rebounds at 7.8 per game and blocked shots at 1.4 points per game. The senior has started all eight of the Aggies' contests so far this season, scoring double figures in seven games and most recently scored 18 points and pulled in 7 boards against Utah Valley on Saturday night.
Shaw’s inside presence has been a key part of the Aggies' efficient offense, drawing double teams inside to help spread the floor for outside sharpshooters Preston Medlin and Spencer Butterfield. USU is currently 36th in the country in field goal percentage at 49.6 percent and 18th in 3-point percentage at 43 percent.
Without the big man in the middle, USU is left with a thin selection of big men. Morrill could opt to start junior center Jordan Stone who, at nearly 7 feet tall, has the size for the position, but the Sky View High product lacks Shaw’s touch around the basket, averaging just three points per contest.
The team could instead opt to play small ball and start forward Ben Clifford or Jalen Moore alongside Kyle Davis. Moore, a freshman, started one game this season in place of Kyle Davis and averages nearly 6 points per game as a combination forward/wing player. Clifford was a regular starter at power forward for the Aggies last season, but has averaged just 8 minutes per game this season.
Utah State will sorely miss the depth this week as the team prepares for its annual holiday tournament. The Aggies will play three games in three nights starting on Thursday night. Friday night’s opponent UC Santa Barbara features one of the best mid-major big men in the country in Alan Williams. Following the tournament, Utah State will have a final non-conference tune-up against San Diego Christian before beginning its inaugural Mountain West campaign on New Year’s Day.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.
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