LOGAN To Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill starting is overrated.
"Every kid wants to start. Starting is more important to them and to the fans and to the media than it is to me," Morrill said.
Last week, Tyler Newbold and Tai Wesley both freshmen made their first career starts in the Aggies' 88-66 victory over Cal State Bakersfield.
It was the third starting lineup Morrill has used this season while still trying to find the right combination to help the Aggies win games.
Morrill, however, wasn't thrilled with the play of some of his players in the Aggies' 72-48 loss to Utah on Dec. 5, which may have led to the shuffling of the lineup.
Wesley started for DuCharme, who had started every game of the season prior to the game with CSUB, and Newbold started in the place of DeUndrae Spraggins.
"I don't take a poll of what they think or if they like it or not or how their sensitivity (is) and how they are feeling. That's not me at this stage of my career," Morrill said rather gruffly.
The shuffle appeared to have done some good, though.
Wesley tied a career-high with 12 points, while grabbing six rebounds, and Newbold scored a career-high nine points, while grabbing a career-high six rebounds in a career-high 29 minutes.
DuCharme, who had just two points and one rebound in the loss to the Utes, pulled down eight rebounds.
"Stephen DuCharme has practiced hard. He was a starter all last year and had a couple of tough games, but he'll be back playing well. I'm confident in that," Morrill said.
As for who will start today's 7 p.m. contest at home with Prairie View A&M (2-6) is anyone's guess. Newbold and Wesley are listed as probable starters along with Jaycee Carroll, Gary Wilkinson and Kris Clark. Those three have started all 11 games for the Aggies this year.
The small forward spot has been a position of question so far, making for three different players Spraggins, Pooh Williams and Newbold getting starts at that position. Spraggins had started seven games but didn't take the reins like was expected. Williams, also a freshman, didn't do much in his lone start, while Newbold posted career numbers. It may be Newbold's position to lose at this point.
"At the '3' position, a variety of guys have tried there," Morrill said. "We're experimenting there a little bit."
In addition to the multiple starters, Morrill has played both point guards (Clark and Desmond Stephens) on the floor at the same time. The Aggies first extensively used the two point-guard look against Santa Clara, and Stephens, who had four assists in those two games, looked for the shot instead of distributing the ball.
He was 2 of 7 from the field in the win over Santa Clara and 3 of 5 in the loss to Utah, including 1 of 3 from the 3-point line. In that game, Carroll, the Aggies' leading scorer, had just seven shots. Part of that, however, can be attributed to the Utes' defense.In the 22-point win over Bakersfield, the more traditional lineup shot 60 percent from the field and had 19 assists (six more than they had against Utah and five more than they had against Santa Clara).
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On the air. . .
Prairie View A&M (2-6) at Utah State (6-5)
Today, 7 p.m., Smith Spectrum
TV: None; Radio: 610 AM, 95.9 FM (Logan); 1230 or 1320 AM (S.L.)