Oct. 14, 2009
LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State's men's basketball team will begin the 2009-10 season with its first official practice on Friday, Oct. 16 at 5 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.
In 11 years as Utah State's head coach, Morrill has led USU to an incredible 267-91 (.746) record, including a 138-46 (.750) conference mark in the Big West and WAC. While at Utah State, he has guided the Aggies to 10 straight 20-win seasons and 10 straight postseason appearances (NCAA-6, NIT-4), both of which are school records. Morrill is the winningest coach in school history and ranks second all-time in games coached (358) and years as USU's head coach behind E. Lowell Romney who went 225-157 from 1920-41.
Utah State returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last year's team that set a school record for wins as it went 30-5 overall and claimed its second-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season championship with a 14-2 league mark. USU also won its first-ever WAC Tournament Championship and advanced to its 18th NCAA Tournament all-time, including its sixth in the last 10 years under Morrill as it lost to Marquette, 58-57, in the first round.
Among those returning for Utah State is senior guard Jared Quayle who earned second-team all-WAC honors and was named to the league's all-newcomer team as a junior as he averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, while shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three-point range and 76.4 percent from the free throw line. Quayle was also named to the WAC's all-tournament team in 2009 and received high major honorable mention All-American honors from CollegeHoops.net. He finished the year ranking third in the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.05), sixth in steals (1.43), sixth in assists, seventh in free throw shooting, 11th in scoring and 12th in rebounding.
Utah State also returns junior forward Tai Wesley who was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District VI second-team after averaging 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 59.2 percent from the field and 68.4 percent from the free throw line. He finished the year ranking second in the WAC in field goal shooting and 11th in rebounding. Wesley was also named to the WAC's all-tournament team during his sophomore season.
Along with Quayle and Wesley, Utah State returns two other starters in junior guards Tyler Newbold and Pooh Williams. Newbold averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore and shot 43.1 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 76.2 percent from the free throw line. Newbold also finished the year leading the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.96-to-1.00. Williams averaged 5.9 points and 1.9 rebounds as a sophomore and shot 46.4 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 68.1 percent from the free throw line.
Utah State also returns three reserves from last year's team in junior forward Matt Formisano, sophomore forward Brady Jardine and sophomore guard Jaxon Myaer. Sophomore center Modou Niang is also back for USU after redshirting during the 2009 season.
In all, Utah State's four returning starters have a combined 239 games played while at Utah State including 186 starts, while its four other returnees have a total of 136 games played at USU.
Joining Utah State's eight returnees are seven newcomers, including two junior college transfers from Salt Lake Community College in forward Nate Bendall and guard Brian Green. Bendall actually played 13 games for Utah State as true freshman during the 2005-06 season before playing one year at SLCC.
Utah State will hold its annual Blue-White Scrimmage on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., and its first exhibition game will be on Friday, Oct. 30 against Northwest Nazarene at 7 p.m. USU begins the regular season on Friday, Nov. 13 at Weber State at 7:30 p.m.
Season tickets are available through USU's website at www.UtahStateAggies.com or by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
2009-10 UTAH STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON NOTES
Utah State returns 66.6 percent of its points (1,687/2,534), 67.6 percent of its rebounds (813/1,202), 72.7 percent of its minutes (5,127/7,050), 80.7 percent of its assists (457/566), 78.6 percent of its steals (132/168), 80.7 percent of its blocked shots (71/88), 67.0 percent of its field goals made (602/899), 73.4 percent of its three-point field goals made (163/222), and 62.3 percent of its free throws made (320/514) from a year ago.
Utah State returns four starters (Tyler Newbold, Jared Quayle, Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams) and seven lettermen from the 2008-09 team that went 30-5, won its second straight Western Athletic Conference regular season title with a 14-2 record, won its first-ever WAC Tournament Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last 10 years as it lost to Marquette (58-57) in the first round.
Head coach Stew Morrill (267-91) is the winningest coach in school history and is second all-time in games coached (358) behind the legendary E. Lowell Romney (382). Morrill is also the second-longest tenured coach at Utah State behind Romney who coached for 22 season (1920-41).
Entering his 12th season with the Aggies, Morrill has a 267-91 (.746) overall record, a 138-46 (.750) conference record and a 21-6 (.778) record in conference postseason play. Overall, Morrill owns a 485-229 (.679) record in 23 years as a collegiate head coach.
Among active coaches at the Division I level, Morrill ranks 19th in the nation with his 485 career wins and 24th in winning percentage at 67.9 percent.
Morrill is one of just 24 active coaches with 450 career wins at the Division I level and one of just 12 active coaches to notch 14 20-win seasons, while his current streak of 10 straight 20-win seasons is tied for the seventh-longest in the nation.
Utah State returns one player from last season who was honored by the Western Athletic Conference in senior guard Jared Quayle (second-team all-WAC; WAC all-newcomer team). Quayle averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior.
For the second straight year, Utah State has just one senior on its roster in guard Jared Quayle. Under Coach Morrill, USU has had one senior on its roster twice before (2000 & 2009) and both of those teams won conference championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The eight players from the state of Utah on the 2009-10 roster are the most-ever in a single-season in school history. The 2008-09 and 1988-89 teams held the previous record for most in-state players with seven each.
Aggie players from the state of Utah include senior guard Jared Quayle (Perry/Box Elder HS), junior forward Nate Bendall (Salt Lake City/Skyline HS), junior guard Brian Green (Kaysville/Davis HS), junior forward Morgan Grim (Riverton/Riverton HS), junior guard Tyler Newbold (Payson/Payson HS), junior forward Tai Wesley (Provo/Provo HS), sophomore guard Jaxon Myaer (Salt Lake City/Judge Memorial HS), and freshman guard Preston Eaton (Sprinigville/Springville HS).
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