LOGAN — As non-conference play begins to wind down for the Utah State Aggies, head coach Stew Morrill continues juggling an ever-shifting roster.
On paper in the preseason, the Aggies looked to be very deep and talented, but a rough couple of months have taken its toll. Shortly after the exhibition season, freshman point guard Riley Bradshaw left the team to be closer to home.
Sean Harris, a junior college transfer who was expected to challenge for minutes at small forward, is out for the season with a knee injury. Starting wing Danny Berger is at least several weeks away from returning to the court, if at all, after his scary collapse at practice last week after suffering a cardiac arrest.
“I have concerns in terms of numbers. We are down some players that we hoped to have at the start of the year,” Morrill said. “We have to stay healthy. We have got to shorten practice a little bit.”
On the plus side, Matt Lopez, a 6-foot-11 transfer from LaSalle, gets his first chance to suit up when the Aggies (5-1) travel to Utah Valley (5-6) on Saturday night.
Lopez joined the Aggies last winter and had to sit out until after the fall semester per NCAA rules. The New Jersey native will give Morrill another physical body to add to his big-man rotation.
“He will bang you around; he will try to guard you; he will try to rebound. His low-post scoring is getting better week-to-week,” Morrill said. “So we are hoping that he will be able to score the ball down low a little bit.”
The Aggies don’t have any injuries or new players at the point guard position, but the minutes may be moving in favor of freshman Marcel Davis. In the Aggies' last outing against Western Oregon, Davis, an American Fork graduate, scored a game-high 21 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.
Morrill is hoping that the emergence of Davis will not only improve the play at point guard, but also solve his problem at the wing by giving TeNale Roland some time at shooting guard. Learning to play both guard positions is a difficult task in Morrill’s complex offense, but with the guard lineup thinning out, Roland may be forced into action sooner than later.
“That might help us out at some point,” Morrill said. “But that is not an easy thing to do to play the one and the two in our system. But it's something that we may look at.”
Aggies on the air
Utah State (5-1) at Utah Valley (5-6)
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 • 7 p.m. MST • Orem, Utah
UCCU Center (8,500)
Radio: Aggie Sports Network
TV: Fox College Sports Pacific
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.