The Aggie Men's Basketball team has already played one exhibition game, and is preparing for a difficult non-conference schedule, highlighted by Saint Mary's and BYU.
The Aggies feature a slew of JC talent this year, and some of the best talent from last year is returning. Time will tell if this team is a return to the winning ways of Tai Wesley, Tyler Newbold, Pooh Williams, Brockeith Pane and the like or not. Expectations, however, are very, very high.
Here's a closer look at the 2012-13 USU Aggie men's basketball team.
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Roland and Marcel Davis came into USU with a void at starting point guard, and Roland has the edge for now, most likely due to experience and age. He snagged six rebounds in his debut performance, but is on a steep learning curve. A Division II second team all-American, he's the newest player into Stew Morrill's offense. However, he is a a terrific young point guard with lots of talent and upside. Also, the word is that he is a standout defender, which always will impress Stew Morrill.
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Hometown: Medford, OR
Under duress, Stew burned Berger's redshirt six games into last season. He immediately brought more of an outside scoring threat that opposing defenses quickly noted. He also led the team in assist-to-turnover ratio during the 2011-12 season.
Berger will lead this year at the small forward/shooting guard position. His ability to shoot from the outside, in addition to the play of teammate Preston Medlin, will largely determine how well the Aggies are able to spread the floor and draw defenders away from the post.
Hometown: Carrollton, TX
Medlin is as important to this team's success as Jaycee Carroll was back in the day. He's not a one-man team, but with the help of his teammates, he has the ability to absolutely take over a game and dominate.
Medlin is the preseason WAC Player of the Year, preseason All-WAC first team, and last year's CIT all-tournament team. Medlin ranks fifth all-time in USU 3-point shooting at 42 percent.
Medlin's first exposure to the Aggie faithful during crunch time came when Jimmer came to Logan in 2009. He hit a crucial second half 3-pointer that stretched the Aggie lead, a lead they wouldn't surrender.
Hometown: South Jordan, UT
Clifford played a major role in the team last year, playing 36 games, starting in four, and filling in for Kyisean Reed, at times playing beside him. However, his role is likely going to be a lot smaller this year--smaller as in he won't have to play the power forward position. Clifford is the presumed starter at small forward, and his defensive presence and shooting numbers from the perimeter will likely determine how much playing time he gets.
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Shaw transferred to Utah State from Oklahoma State, and used his red shirt last year.
With his size and strength, Shaw is undeniably the defensive centerpiece to USU's front court presence.
Shaw was named Defensive Player of the Year for his high school district in Texas, and his play in USU's first exhibition game was impressive. At OSU, Shaw played in 26 games as a sophomore, and his career high in points came at Texas.
Unfortunately, Shaw was also dunked on pretty hard in that Texas game. We defer to the highlight. This probably won't happen with Shaw in Aggie Blue.
Hometown: American Fork, UT
Marcel Davis and classmate Quincy Bair were the centerpieces of Stew Morrill's 2012-13 in-state recruiting efforts. Davis is a pure point guard, and his size and physicality will likely present difficulty to defenders. As with any untried Freshman, there are likely to be many mistakes. The idea, however, is that he turns out a lot like 4-year starter Tyler Newbold -- a good shooter and great distributor upon whom the team can rely for a consistent performance.
Right now it looks like he's slated to back up JC transfer Tenale Roland at the point guard position.
Special thanks to Rodney Davis for the tip on the video below.
Hometown: Loomis, CA
Butterfield was named California Junior College co-Player of the Year last season. He averaged 16.3 points, 8.3 points and nearly four assists per game. He shot nearly 50 percent from 3-point land as well. His team won 33 of 37 games. All he knows of college ball is winning.
Butterfield does not provide a lot of size at the small forward position, and it's almost impossible for him to unseat Preston Medlin at the shooting guard. He'll likely back up Medlin, or go to work when and if Stew decides to put in a small ball rotation.
With Butterfield and Medlin at the two, however, it's safe to say that USU is stacked at that position.
Hometown: Palmdale, CA
Kyisean Reed is known as the most dynamic, high-flying, show-stopping player on the team not named Preston Medlin.
Reed is a highly athletic forward with incredible hops. He tied a single-season record last year, blocking 41 shots. We was on the WAC all-newcomer team last year, and is on the preseason all-WAC second team.
Reed didn't start at the power forward position in the team's first exhibition, a testament to the wealth of talent the Aggies have down low. It's fairly likely, however, that he'll start often this year.
Hometown: Harriamn, NY
Marvin Jean is one of a few JC transfers on the Aggie roster, and it's presumed he'll start at the small forward position in favor of Ben Clifford, backup Medlin at the shooting guard position, or both (depending on how well he plays). Jean showed terrific poise and athleticism in USU's first exhibition. His upside is very high.
Jean previously played his junior college ball in at Sullivan Community College in New York.
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Hometown: Smithfield, UT
Along with Kyisean Reed, Stone is the lone returning big man from last year's squad. He is a tremendous physical presence in the lane, but at times his skill with the ball has been wanting. He played in 34 games in 2011-12 and started two, primarily backing up Morgan Grim and filling in for injured players.
Stone is something of a fan favorite in Logan. He's the hometown kid. Few things will get the Aggie faithful excited as much as a huge game from Stone. Seeing as how Stone will be competing for minutes with Jarred Shaw and eventually Matt Lopez, how many minutes he'll play over the course of the season is TBD.
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Hometown: Rocklin, CA
Harris accompanied Spencer Butterfield to Logan, as both of them played at Yuba Community College in California last year. Harris, however, didn't play much last year because of injury. He didn't play in USU's first exhibition game, and it's unclear what role he could have on the court this year.
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Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Erial, NJ
Lopez transferred from LaSalle University, a four-year Catholic University in Philadelphia, PA, midway through the season last year, and therefore cannot play until mid-season. Lopez also has international experience; he played for the Puerto Rico U-18 team in the 2010 FIBA Americas Championships.
At LaSalle, Lopez played in nine games, and in 53 minutes of play, he scored eight points and got eight rebounds. In high school, Lopez scored 1000 points over his career.
Lopez brings more height and strength to an already upgraded front court. We won't know how much skill he'll add to the team, however, until WAC play.
Hometown: American Fork, UT
Bair and Marcel Davis came from the same high school, and both were the centerpieces of Stew Morrill's in-state recruiting effort. Bair was a Co-MVP of Region 4 and a Deseret News all-state first teamer. In high school, he averaged 13 points a game, and generally dominated in the post.
Bair will likely redshirt this year, as there is a glut of talent at his position.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Taylor is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is expected to redshirt this year before serving his mission.
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