Utah State is going from being the dominant team in the old WAC to having to fight with powers like New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State in the MWC.
In order to compete against that level of competition, the team needs Jarred Shaw back. More importantly, they need Shaw to shape up.
Shaw was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. That's a serious problem because Shaw is USU's leading scorer (16.1 ppg) and rebounder (7.1 rpg). Worse, the Aggies don't have the depth to replace the 6-foot-10, 235-pound senior center.
Despite the fact that Shaw has already missed the last three games, USU won all three of those contests. However, with MWC play just around the corner, the Aggies need Shaw back soon to avoid falling behind in the conference. But regardless of how USU does in conference, it's more important that Shaw learns his lesson and is able to rise up.
So, what better Christmas present could there be than to have Shaw back in the lineup, repentant and ready to go?
USU needs to know Shaw has learned his lesson and will stay out of whatever trouble is keeping him off the court. In the long term, it will benefit both USU and Shaw if this is done right.
Lafe Peavler is a sportswriter intern at the Deseret News.