March 5, 2010
LOGAN, Utah -
By Chet Gardner, USU Athletic Media Relations
It happens in every driveway, on every block, in every neighborhood, within every city across the country. Young boys and girls play their favorite sports for countless hours, improving their technique in hopes of one day fulfilling that life-long dream of playing for their favorite team.
Growing up in the shadows of Utah State University, Jared Quayle too spent many hours playing the sport he loved and dreaming what it would be like to one day be part of the greatest thing he had ever witnessed, playing basketball for the Aggies in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
As a prep standout at nearby Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Quayle was excelling in the sport he grew up loving and earned first-team all-state honors his senior season as he led the Bees to the championship game of the 4A state tournament.
Despite all the success he experienced in high school, Quayle's dream of playing college basketball for Utah State seemed to be fading away into the night as the Aggies had no interest in the slender shooting guard.
Determined to keep his dream alive, Quayle decided to begin his collegiate career at the College of Eastern Utah where he spent as much time on the bench during his freshman season as he did on the hardwood.
Following his forgettable season at the junior college ranks, Quayle called a timeout in his basketball career and spent the next two years in Sacramento, Calif., serving a two-year LDS Church Mission.
Quayle returned home from his mission in November of 2006 and had nearly a year to decide where he wanted to continue his basketball career, and in the process, take one more stab at his life-long dream.
"I knew I was going to play basketball again; I just didn't know where," said Quayle. "I actually came up to Utah State and tried out for the team after their season was over and the coaches recommended that I should go to junior college for another year.
"I talked with my older brother, Kody, who played at Western Wyoming (Community College) and he really liked the coach. Plus, I had a high school teammate who was playing there, and he was the one that talked me into going up there."
Quayle's second year in the college ranks proved to be much better than his first as he regained the form that made him one of the best prep players in the state of Utah, and by season's end, was the fifth-leading scorer in all of junior college with an average of 24.4 points per game. He also averaged 7.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals that season to earn second team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American honors.
During his sophomore season in Rock Springs, Wyo., Quayle scored 20-plus points 19 times, 30-plus points six times, and 40-plus points three times including a 44 point outburst during the end of the season. And that offensive explosion couldn't have happened at a better time for both Quayle and Utah State, as USU assistant coach Tim Duryea made his first trip of the season to Wyoming to see Quayle play that February night.
"The night we were scheduled to see Jared play he sprained his ankle, so I went back the next night and he has his ankle taped, he is limping around in warm-ups and had a ho-hum first half," Duryea recalled. "He then came out in the second half and went crazy and finished the game with 44 points, nine rebounds, five assists and no turnovers, and I will never forget looking at his stat line."
Following that eye-opening performance, Utah State wasted little time offering a full-ride scholarship to the one person who had been waiting his whole life for it, and that person couldn't have been more excited to hear the news.
"I remember waiting the whole year for Utah State to contact me," Quayle admits. "They didn't talk to me until my very last game of the regular season and then two days later they offer me a scholarship. That was what I was waiting for. I always wanted to play for Utah State and it finally worked out."
However, just when Quayle thought all of his problems were over and his life-long dream of becoming an Aggie was finalized, he learned that Utah State wanted him to do something he had rarely done before, play the point and play it within one of the most complex offensive systems at the Division I level.
"It was difficult," admits Quayle. "My whole life I pretty much played the two-guard, so I had a lot of adjusting to do, plus all the set plays made it even more difficult. At first I struggled and it took me a while to get into any kind of rhythm during the game, but once I did everything has gone pretty well."
Indeed things have gone well for Quayle and Utah State during the last two years as the shooting guard turned point guard earned second team all-WAC honors as a junior and helped lead the Aggies to a school-record 30 wins as they won their first-ever outright regular season WAC Championship, their first-ever WAC Tournament Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time under head coach Stew Morrill.
During his senior season, Quayle has continued his stellar play and has helped Utah State win its second straight outright regular season WAC Championship. USU is also riding a 14-game winning streak heading into its final game of the regular season against New Mexico State Saturday night, Quayle's last game inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
"I guess it hasn't really hit me yet that I have only a few games left," said Quayle. "I'm a little nervous for when I have to go out in front of everybody at the last game."
That last game Quayle hopes, is somewhere in the NCAA Tournament. Far enough down the road for him to truly enjoy what was a life-long dream and has become one of the most remarkable two-year stints in his life and in Aggie Basketball History.
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