Oct. 11, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's men's basketball team will begin the 2007-08 season with its first official practice on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as head coach Stew Morrill welcomes 15 players to the floor. Practices are closed to the public.
Utah State enters the 2007-08 season as the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference according to the league's coaches, while the media picked USU to finish second behind defending WAC Tournament champion New Mexico State. In 2006-07, Utah State finished in fourth-place in the WAC during the regular season with a 9-7 league record before advancing to the championship game of the conference tournament. The Aggies then concluded its season by playing at Michigan in the first round of the 2007 Mastercard National Invitation Tournament.
Leading the way for Utah State is senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll who is tabbed by both the coaches and the media as the league's preseason Player of the Year after leading the WAC and ranking 10th in the nation in scoring last year with 21.3 points per game. Along with Carroll, Utah State returns two other starters from last year's team in senior guard Kris Clark and senior forward Stephen DuCharme. Last year, Clark ranked first in the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.21-to-1.00) and fourth in assists (4.17), while DuCharme led USU in field goal shooting (.543), was second on the team in rebounding (5.1) and third in scoring (10.2).
Utah State's first exhibition game will be on Wednesday, Oct. 31 against EA Sports at 7 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum and its regular season and home opener will be on Friday, Nov. 9 against Southern Utah.
Utah State Men's Basketball Preseason Notes
Utah State is picked to finish first in the Western Athletic Conference by the coaches and second by the media in the preseason polls, while senior guard Jaycee Carroll was named the WAC's preseason Player of the Year.
Utah State returns three starters (Jaycee Carroll, Kris Clark and Stephen DuCharme) and four lettermen from the 2006-07 team that went 23-12, finished in fourth-place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 9-7 record, played in the WAC Tournament championship game and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament where it lost at Michigan (68-58) in the first round.
Utah State returns 55.0 percent of its points, 47.2 percent of its rebounds, 52.1 percent of its minutes, 54.4 percent of its assists and 56.8 percent of its three-point made field goals from a year ago.
Entering his 10th season with the Aggies, head coach Stew Morrill has a 213-75 (.740) overall record, a 112-40 (.737) conference record and a 17-5 (.773) record in conference postseason play. Overall, Morrill owns a 431-213 (.669) record in 21 years as a collegiate head coach.
Morrill is 13 wins shy of passing E. Lowell Romney ( 225-157) to become the winningest coach in school history. Morrill is also third all-time in games coached (288) at USU and is the longest tenured coach at Utah State (entering 10th season) since the Ladell Andersen era (1962-71).
Among active coaches at the Division I level, Morrill ranks 23rd in the nation with his 431 career wins and 28th in winning percentage at 66.9 percent.
Morrill is one of just 27 active coaches with 400 career wins at the Division I level and one of just 13 active coaches to notch 12 20-win seasons, while his current streak of eight straight 20-win seasons is tied for the ninth-longest active streak in the nation.
Utah State returns one player from last season who was honored by the Western Athletic Conference in senior guard Jaycee Carroll (first-team all-WAC). Carroll averaged 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds during his junior season.
Carroll is also one of just two players in school history, along with Wayne Estes, to earn Associated Press All-America honors as he was named an honorable mention AP All-American in 2007.
Utah State does not have a single player from the state of California on its roster for the first time since the 1993-94 season, a span of 14 years. Since the 1994 season, USU has had a total of 45 players from the "Golden State", including a single-season high of seven during the 2003-04 campaign.
Utah State has seven freshmen on its 2007-08 roster, which is the most-ever on a USU team dating back to the 1957-58 season.
The six players from the state of Utah on the 2007-08 roster are the most on a USU team since the 1988-89 squad had seven in-state players on its roster.
Aggie players from the state of Utah include senior forward Nick Hammer (St. George/Snow Canyon HS), junior forward Gary Wilkinson (South Jordan/Bingham), sophomore center Brayden Bell (Brighton/Brighton HS), freshman guard Jaxon Myaer (Salt Lake City/Judge Memorial HS), freshman guard Tyler Newbold (Payson/Payson HS), and freshman forward Tai Wesley (Provo/Provo HS).
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