• Utah State will host Southern Virginia in its only exhibition contest of the 2016-17 season on Friday at 7 p.m., in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
• The game will mark the first meeting between the two teams, however, Utah State has won 16 of its last 17 exhibition games, dating back to the 2008-09 season.
• Tickets for Friday night's game will all be $5 and the entire Dee Glen Smith Spectrum will be general admission seating. Parking for the event will only be monitored in the "A" lot, the parking lot that is immediately west of the venue.
Things Of Note
• Utah State men’s basketball is entering its 112th season and has an overall record of 1,552-1,074 (.591) in its 2,626 games played.
• Utah State has recorded a winning record each of the past 23 seasons, dating back to the 1992-93 season. Furthermore, USU has had a winning record within the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for 34 consecutive seasons.
• Senior wing Jalen Moore has garnered several preseason honors, including being named to the 2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Watch List, an award given to the most outstanding small forward in the nation. Moore is one of only 20 small fowards in the nation appearing on the initial watch list. Also, Moore was named Preseason all-Mountain West, the first preseason award for an Aggie since Utah State joined the league for the 2013-14 season.
• Moore enters the year just 45 points away from overtaking his father, Jimmy, on the all-time scoring records at USU. Furthermore, Moore is on track to etch his name on the Utah State record book in rebounding, assists, 3-point field goals, games played, games started and minutes.
• Freshman guard Koby McEwen also earned preseason recognition from the Mountain West, earning Preseason Co-Freshman of the Year alongside San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniel.
• Utah State’s roster includes only four returners from last season, matching the lowest returning number since the 2014-15 season. That year, USU finished tied for fourth in the Mountain West and recorded the most wins (11) by any second-year program in the history of the league.
Looking at Utah State
Utah State men’s basketball will feature a roster brimming with new talent in 2016-17 as the Aggies welcome in 10 newcomers to a roster with one returning redshirt and four returning letterwinners.
Headlining the group of returners is senior wing Jalen Moore, who has led the team in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons. Moore became the 37th in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points, ending the 2015-16 campaign with 1,119 after averaging 15.2 points per game.
In addition to his scoring, Moore earned the Chairman of the Boards award after leading the Aggies with 6.0 rebounds per game.
Moore is slated to play the three throughout the year for Utah State, a move that second-year head coach Tim Duryea said will only help the senior in the future.
“Our goal this year is to play Jalen at his natural position, which is the three,” Duryea said. “I expect him to excel in all phases of the game, from rebounding the ball, to scoring and his shooting percentages. I see him improving in all of those things, playing at a position where his future is as a basketball player.”
Senior guard Shane Rector returns and will direct the Aggies at the point, having excelled in a pair of starts at the Mountain West Tournament at the end of the last season, averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists over the two-game stretch. Julion Pearre is another guard with a wealth of experience, having played in every game with the Aggies since his arrival in Logan. Pearre finished the 2015-16 season with four straight double-digit scoring outings and finished the year averaging 8.0 points per game.
The final returner for the Aggies is sophomore forward Quinn Taylor, who played in all but one game for the Aggies last season after completing a two-year LDS Church Mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Taylor entered the year as a walk-on, but earned a scholarship following his determined play on the court, averaging 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
In addition to the four returners, the Aggies bring in 10 newcomers and a group that is being regarded as one of the top recruiting classes at Utah State.
Headlining the group is four-star guard Koby McEwen, a 6-3 guard from Wasatch Academy (Utah), who led the Tigers to 29-4 record as a senior, averaging 18.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Joining him on the guard line is Sam Merrill, returning from and LDS Church Mission in Nicaragua. Merrill, a 6-4 guard, led Bountiful (Utah) High School to a state championship as a senior, scoring 23 points in the championship game. Over the course of his prep career, Merrill was named first-team all-state as a junior and senior as well as the Region 6 MVP as a junior.
Portuguese international Diogo Brito will join the team fresh off an appearance with Portugal in the U-20 FIBA World Championships, leading the team with 10.8 points per game. The last addition to the guards is Abel Porter, also returning from an LDS Church Mission, who was an all-state performer at Davis (Utah) High School.
Along with a talented group of guards, Utah State added four post players that are all 6-foot-8 or taller. Tallest among the group is Snow College transfer Norbert Janicek, measuring in at 6-11. Janicek will have three years to play for the Aggies after earning first-team all-Scenic West Athletic Conference honors and leading the Badgers with 15.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Another transfer, Ngor Barnaba from Missouri State West Plains, will bolster the bigs, standing at 6-foot-8. Barnaba led the Grizzlies in scoring and rebounding last season, turning in 14.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Klay Stall will be the youngest of the post players in both age and development, after missing his senior year at Basha (Ariz.) High School because of a knee injury. As a junior, Stall averaged a double-double of 11.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game en route to being named honorable mention all-Arizona Division I.
Rounding out the bigs is freshman walk-on Trevin Dorius, a 6-10 post out Wasatch (Utah) High School, where he averaged 9.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
On the wings, Utah State returns redshirt Alexis Dargenton and adds freshman Daron Henson. In addition, fifth-year senior Connor Garner will walk on after serving as a team manager and member of the scout team over the past three years.
Dargenton sat out the 2015-16 season after transferring from Laramie County Community College, where he averaged 12.4 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds per game. Henson played his final year of high school at Cathedral (Calif.) High School after a three-year career at Alemany (Calif.) High School, scoring in double digits as both a junior and sophomore. Garner earned a walk-on spot after working with the scout team as a manager over the past three seasons.
Scouting Southern Virginia
Southern Virginia, a Division-III school in Buena Vista, Va., returns two starters from a 2015-16 squad that finished the year 9-17 overall.
The Knights are similar to the Aggies, in that SVU returns only four letterwinners from last season. Headlining the group is junior forward Aarun Rumbaugh, who averaged 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, both fourth on the team. Senior forward Justin Langford started in all but one game for the Knights last season, averaging 6.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Other returners include junior center Cale Thornton (6.2 ppg/3.7 rpg) and sophomore guard Kellen Winslow (0.8 ppg, 0.4 ppg).
Overall, SVU averaged 70.9 points per game, while shooting 41.9 percent (650-of-1,551) from the floor, 28.5 percent (129-of-453) from behind the 3-point line and 73.0 percent (414-of-567) from the free throw line. Rumbaugh is the top returning rebounder for the Knights, as the team averaged 34.5 boards per game to the opposition’s 35.3.
Defensively, opponents shot 45.7 percent (703-of-1,539) from the floor, 32.1 percent (148-of-461) from behind the 3-point line and 68.5 percent (477-of-696) from the free throw line.
Head coach Tony Caputo is in his fifth year and also serves as the head men’s tennis coach at Southern Virginia.
Southern Virginia with Utah Ties
Southern Virginia has five players on its roster that call the Beehive State home, including freshman wing Brandon Hill (Layton/Layton HS), sophomore wing Jace Edmunds (Mapleton/Maple Mountain HS), freshman forward Jacob Fisher (Sandy/Brighton HS), freshman guard Alec Johnson (Herriman/Herriman HS) and sophomore center Sam Banks (Lindon/Pleasant Grove HS).
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