Stew Morrill will face the largest challenge of his career as an Aggie coach heading into this off-season. Since going 15-13 his first year with Utah State, he has never produced a squad that failed to hit the 20 win mark. Never, that is, until this past season, where the Aggies went 7-11 in the conference schedule and 18-14 overall. After such a disappointing season, it only makes sense that things get more difficult. Not only is the Aggie head coach smarting from the lackluster performance of his team this season, he now has to deal with the most inexperienced team he has ever fielded.
Five seniors will leave the team as their collegiate careers come to an end: Spencer Butterfield, Sean Harris, Preston Medlin, TeNale Roland, and Jared Shaw are all finished as Aggies. To add to the depth chart woes, the Aggies have now lost three big contributors to transfers. The Aggies lose 6'6" junior Forward Danny Berger, who decided to leave in order to seek more playing time; he averaged 11.8 minutes per game this past season, contributing 3.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game, and averaging shooting percentages of 40% from the field, 23% from beyond the 3 point arc, and 78% from the free throw line.
Jordan Stone is also moving on after a relatively impactful season. The 6'10" junior Center received a nearly identical time of floor presence to Berger with 11.9 minutes per game, adding 2.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, shooting 61% from the field and 66% from the charity stripe. Stone is graduating from Utah State and decided to further his education elsewhere; it is uncertain whether he will seek to continue playing for wherever he ends up next.
The most recent transfer is Kyle Davis, a 6'7" sophomore Forward, who had the biggest role of the three transfers. Davis averaged 25 minutes per game, 4th highest on the Aggie roster, and provided 9.1 ppg (also 4th highest), 7.6 rpg (2nd highest), 1.3 apg (5th highest), led the team with blocking at 1.3 bpg, and shot 50% from the field and 68% from the free throw line.
With those eight players leaving, the Aggies are left with a lineup of mostly untested backups and freshmen. The players remaining average a height of 6'4", a weight of 190 lbs., and combine to average 57.4 minutes per game of playing time. Just to reiterate, the entire remaining team doesn't even average enough playing time to fill a game. The most experienced players are freshman Forward Jalen Moore, sophomore Guard Marcel Davis, and junior Forward Ben Clifford, in that order.
There are plenty of questions that are still currently unanswered. Why is Davis leaving? How long will coach Morrill stick around in Logan with the team in a slow, but steady, decline? Can the Aggies compete in the significantly tougher Mountain West Conference? All we know at the moment is that the Aggies are in for a rough ride.