Utah State Weekly Basketball Release (10-30-00)
Oct. 30, 2000
LOGAN, Utah -
October 30, 2000
Game #1 (Exhibition) Utah State vs. Global Sports Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270)lLogan, Utah Nov. 4, 2000l3:05 pm(MST)
This Week: Utah State will begin its 95th season of basketball in 98 years this Saturday, Nov. 4 versus Global Sports in an exhibition game at 3:05 p.m., in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies' first year of basketball was the 1903-04 year. During those 95 seasons, USU has compiled a 1,177-922 (.561) record. For the past 30 years, USU has called the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum home and has won 77 percent of its games with an impressive 322-96 record, including a 43-3 (.935) mark in the past three seasons. The last time Utah State had a losing season at home was during the 1981-82 campaign with a 3-8 record.
About Global Sports: Global Sports will begin its tour across the United States on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Auburn. It will then play at South Alabama and Nevada before traveling to Logan on the fourth. In all, Global Sports will play 12 games in 14 days. Seven of the 12 teams on its schedule played in the NCAA Tournament last year, including Auburn, Utah State, Creighton, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Fresno State, and Stanford. A couple of familiar faces will be in appearance at Saturday's game for Global Sports as former Aggies Kevin Rice and Marcus Saxon will suit up against USU for the second straight year.
Versus Global Sports: Utah State defeated Global Sports in its opening exhibition game last year by a final score of 92-73. USU led 54-27 at the half before being outscored in the second half 46-38. The Aggies shot 50 percent from the field on 33-of-66 shots, while Global Sports shot 39.4 percent on 28-of-71 shots. USU was 9-of-22 from three-point range (.409), and 17-of-28 (.607) from the free-throw line. USU also had 17 assists and 23 turnovers in the game, while Global Sports had eight assists and 18 turnovers. Shawn Daniels led all players in the game with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes of action. The only other Aggie to score in double digits was Troy Rolle who had 11. Other current Aggies to play in the game included Tony Brown who had seven points, Dimitri Jorssen and Bernard Rock who had eight points each, Dion Bailey who had nine, Brennan Ray who had seven, Curtis Bobb who had four, and Dan Stewart who had two points.
More About Global Sports: Of the 10 players on Global Sports roster, only two are players who played on the team last year, and both are former Utah State Aggies in Kevin Rice and Marcus Saxon. Rice had 11 points in the game last year versus USU, while Saxon led the team with 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Global Sports had four players score in double-figures in the contest last year versus Utah State.
Global Sports Exhibition Schedule: November 1 at Auburn November 2 at South Alabama November 3 at Nevada November 4 at Utah State November 5 at Creighton November 6 at Kansas State November 7 at Nebraska November 8 at Iowa State November 11 at Oklahoma November 12 at Fresno State November 13 at San Jose State November 14 at Stanford
Aggies Return Four Starters And Eight Letterwinners: After coming off its best basketball season ever, Utah State is looking to have another memorable year during the 2000-01 season as head coach Stew Morrill welcomes back four starters and eight letterwinners from a team that set a school record with 28 wins, including a perfect 19-0 Big West Conference mark en route to the league championship and the school's 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. USU returns 81 percent of its rebounding from a year ago and 76 percent of its scoring. Among the starters returning are senior first-team all-league player Shawn Daniels who led the team with 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Daniels also tied the single-season school record with 58 blocks as was co-MVP of the conference tournament with fellow teammate Troy Rolle (who is the only starter not returning for Utah State this season). Senior Bernard Rock and junior Tony Brown, who were both honorable mention all-Big West last season also return after averaging 10.0 and 11.6 points per game respectively. Rock notched the seventh most assists (148) ever last year for USU in a single-season, while Brown is fourth all-time at USU in three-pointers made (128) and attempted (319). Brown also had the third-best single-season assist-to-turnover ratio ever at USU at 1.91 assists to every turnover last year. The fourth starter returning for USU is senior center Dimitri Jorssen who averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in 2000. The depth continues for Utah State with four proven veterans who came off the bench a year ago in seniors Dion Bailey and Curtis Bobb, and juniors Brennan Ray and Dan Stewart. Bailey and Bobb both averaged four points per game last year, while Ray led all reserves with 14.3 minutes per game and Stewart was close behind at 11.3 mintues per outing.
Utah State Welcomes Seven Newcomers: Despite returning eight quality players from a year ago, USU added seven new faces to the roster for the 2000-01 season, which includes three junior college transfers and four freshman. Several of these newcomers will have significant roles to fill for Utah State this year. Among the newcomers are sophomore Toraino Johnson who averaged 15.0 points and eight rebounds a game last year as a freshman at Garden City Junior College in Kansas. Junior Jeremy Vague will also see plenty of action after averaging 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds a game at Canada Junior College in California. The freshman crop includes two point guards in Thomas Vincent and Calvin Brown, and two shooting guards in Nate Bullen and Mike Stowell. Vincent scored 18.0 points a game at Olathe East High School in Overland Park, Kan., while Brown averaged 17.0 points a contest at Eastside Prep in East Palo Alto, Calif. Stowell is also a solid scorer who notched 17.0 points and eight rebounds a game two years ago at Capistrano Valley High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Aggies will also have the services of redshirt freshman Chad Evans who averaged 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds a game for Weber High School in Ogden, Utah, three seasons ago. The Aggies are also anxious to welcome junior Lemar Gayle to the squad next semester after being named the Junior College Player of the Year in California where he averaged 22.7 points and grabbed 12.5 rebounds per game for Cerritos Junior College. Gayle is currently finishing up some required course work at Utah State this semester.
Head Coach Stew Morrill: Stew Morrill (Gonzaga, 1974) is entering his third season at the helm of the Utah State men's basketball program after posting an incredible 43-19 record at USU in his first two years, which is the best record by any coach at Utah State in their first two seasons. During the past two years, Morrill has coached two first-team all-league players in Shawn Daniels and Troy Rolle and has had an 80 percent graduation rate. He has been involved in postseason action four times in his career, including the NCAA Tournment last season. He has twice been named Coach of the Year, winning the award in 1991 at Montana, and this past season at Utah State after guiding the Aggies to a perfect 19-0 league mark in winning the Big West Conference. He is only the third coach in the history of the Big West Conference to go undefeated in the league, joining Lou Henson and Jerry Tarkanian. Prior to coming to Utah State, Morrill had been the head coach at Colorado State University for seven seasons, recording a 121-86 record (1992-98). Prior to his stint at CSU, Morrill spent five seasons as the head coach at the University of Montana (1987-91), where he went 97-52. During his 14 years as a head coach, Morrill's teams have won at least 20 games five times and have won at least 17 games in 11 of his 14 seasons as a head coach. He was the second winningest coach at Colorado State behind only Boyd Grant, and his 15 wins at Utah State in 1998-99 were the most by a first-year head coach since 1980.
Aggies Favored To Win The Big West Again: After rolling through the Big West Conference season last year with a 19-0 mark, Utah State is once again picked to win the league by numerous preseason publications. The Sporting News has Utah State picked to finish first in the league and has the Aggies ranked 34th in the country in its preseason poll. Other preseason publications that have Utah State picked to win the Big West Conference include Preview Sports, Street & Smith Magazine, Lindey's, Athlon, and ESPN The Magazine.
Several Players Tabbed As All-League Performers This Year: Along with Utah State being the overwhelming favorite to win the Big West Conference in 2001, USU also has several players being tabbed all-league in different preseason publications. The Sporting News has Shawn Daniels and Bernard Rock as first-team all-league players and Dimitri Jorssen on the second-team. Daniels is also picked to be the Player of the Year by The Sporting News, as well as being the best rebounder in the leauge. It also has Tony Brown tabbed as the best shooter in the league, and Rock named the best playmaker. Preview Sports has Daniels and Rock on its all-league first-team in the Big West, with Daniels picked as the Player of the Year and top rebounder. Street & Smith has Daniels on its first-team list along with being named the Player of the Year, while Lindey's has Daniels first-team and Rock second-team. Lindey's picked Brown as the league's best shooter, Daniels the best rebounder, and Rock the best playmaker in the league. Athlon has Daniels as a first-team all-league player, and ESPN The Magazine has Daniels named to its first team and is selected as the Player of the Year, while Rock and Tony Brown are named to the second team. It also has the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum listed as the toughest arena in the Big West Conference to play in, and lists USU's front court as the best in the conference.
Aggies Looking To Maintain High Marks Set Last Season: In addition to setting school records for wins (28), conference wins (19), and games played in a season (34), the 1999-2000 season was the first time in nine years that Utah State had more assists (487) than turnovers (453). USU also set school records for three-pointers made (194) and attempted (536), along with notching 235 steals. Its 487 assists tied for the fourth most in school history, and its 126 blocks were the third most in a single season. Also, the Aggies' 46.6 field-goal percentage was the highest since 1990-91 (.473), and its .362 percentage from three-point range was the third highest ever. Utah State also had four players average in double-figures in scoring for the second straight season. Defensively, USU held its opponents to below 60 points twelve times on the year and allowed just 61.2 points per game, which was the fewest allowed by an Aggie team since the 1957-58 season. The Aggies also limited its opponents to a 40.3 field-goal percentage which was the lowest since the 1962-63 season. USU finished the year ranked 17th in the country in points allowed.
Trends To Look For In 2000-01: Utah State had great success last year under certain situations. USU was 26-0 when leading at halftime, 26-1 whey they shot better from the field than their opponents, 22-1 when they had more defensive rebounds than their opponents, 18-1 when they committed fewer fouls than their opponents, 21-1 when they recorded more assists than their opponents, 21-0 when they blocked more shots than their opponents, and 12-0 when they held their opponents below 60 points.
A Look Back At Hoops-Fest 2000: Utah State had its final tune-up before its two exhibition games this past Friday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as part of Hoops-Fest 2000. The Aggies worked out in front of 3,000 fans as USU ran four 10-minute scrimmages on the evening. Senior forward Shawn Daniels looked very impressive with a team-high 14 points on seven-of-nine shooting from the field to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. Senior center Dimitri Jorssen also had a solid evening with 13 points and seven rebounds. Junior center Jeremy Vague scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, while junior Tony Brown had 11 points. Senior point guard Bernard Rock also scored in double-digits with 10 points and dished out six assists throughout the evening. At half-time of the scrimmage USU conducted a slam dunk contest and three-point shootout for the fans in attendance with Brown with the three-point contest and senior guard Dion Bailey winning the fans approval in the slam dunk competition. Overall, USU shot .474 from the field on 45-of-95 shooting, including six-of-16 (.375) from three-point range. The Aggies had 32 assists as a team and 21 turnovers.
Looking Ahead: After Utah State plays Global Sports on Nov. 4, the Aggies will have one more exhibition game versus the Southern California All-Stars on Nov. 10 at 7:05 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The All-Stars will begin its exhibition tour on October 31 at Hawai'i, before ending its tour at San Diego on Nov. 13. Some of the players on the Southern California All-Stars team are players that have played against Utah State before, including Larry Abney from Fresno State, Corey Andrews, Rayne Mahaffey, and Jason Williams from Pacific, and Kenneth Young from San Jose State.
At The Top Of The World Tournament: Utah State will officially begin the season on Friday, Nov. 17 versus Santa Clara at the Top of the World Tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska. Santa Clara was 19-12 last year with a 9-5 record in the West Coast Conference, finishing in fourth place. The Broncos are picked to finish fifth in the league this year as voted on by the coaches' as SCU returns three starters and 11 letterwinners from that squad. The Aggies will then play South Florida or Davidson in the second round of the tournament, before facing either Alaska-Fairbanks/Austin Peay/Colorado/or Jackson State. Jackson State, along with Utah State are the two teams in the field that participated in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, while South Florida played in the National Invitational Tournament.
RPI: According to the latest Rating Percentages Index (RPI), Utah State enters the 2000-01 season ranked 28th in the country. The Aggies are also ranked 34th in the country in The Sporting News' preseason poll and finished the 1999-2000 season ranked 40th in the country in the Associated Press poll.
Aggies Finish 1999-2000 Season With Third Most Wins In The Country: Utah State's 28 wins during the 1999-2000 season were not only a school record, but also the third most wins in the country by any team. Iowa State, Tulsa, and Michigan State had the most wins at 32, followed by Cincinnati, Duke, and Florida with 29. Utah State and Louisiana State were next with 28 wins apiece. The Aggies were also the only team in the country to go undefeated in its league and then win its conference tournament during the 1999-2000 season. Also, USU's 19-game winning streak tied Syracuse for the longest winning streak by any team in the country at any point of the season.
2000-01 Schedule 0-0, 0-0