Friday, July 27, 2012

Utah State hoops: 2012-13 strengths and weaknesses

Utah State shot 49% overall in conference play last season (first place), 37% in trey attempts (second place), and held opponents to 42% overall shooting (second place), 32% in long distance defending (second place).

Those numbers are going to be bettered in the 2012-13 go-around.

For many reasons.

Because Jarred Shaw, Jordan Stone and Matt Lopez will man the middle, an upgrade over the duo of Morgan Grim, despite his solid numbers last season, and Stone as a freshman.

Lopez probably has the best offensive repertoire of the trio at the moment, with Shaw leading as a defender. None are well-rounded at this point but a bevy of shooters at other positions on the team is going to open up put back and close-in opportunities for Stew Morrill's bigs.

Power forward will be the most interesting position as Kyisean Reed returns with newcomer Sean Harris backing him up. Again, the need to protect against the perimeter shooters on the team is going to open up more spectacular opportunities for Reed but the question of his overall consistency remains unanswered.

This position is the biggest concern for Stew Morrill as he needs point and rebound production, especially the latter as the Aggies finished just +0.4 in rebounding last season. USU won't be big so it's likely going to have to be a team effort on the boards.

Returnee Danny Berger, JC newcomer Marvin Jean and fellow community college transfer Spencer Butterfield are the leaders on the wing. Berger struggled with consistency as a frosh -- not unexpected coming off a mission -- but enjoyed some solid shooting streaks. Between Jean and Butterfield, hard-nosed play will be on display, alongside outside shooting and dribble-drive efforts.

Preston Medlin owns the two, period. Look for him to be the leading Aggie scorer and assist man.

It's between JUCO TeNale Roland and frosh Marcel Davis at the point. Both will play but the sophomore Roland has greater experience, a very solid résumé and the greater likelihood of offering consistency from the get-go.

Where freshman Riley Bradshaw fits in 12-13 is anyone's guess at the moment.

In summary, the USU wing and guard positions offer multiple options and the going with the hot hand by Morrill. That's not necessarily so at power forward and what each center will produce each night remains to be seen. The Aggies have question marks upfront but also quality options.

It will be fascinating to see at what level this team performs.

Dominating the WAC, good enough or up-and-down?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reed finishef the season at #1 in the WAC in fg% (#31 nationally): consistency is not the question. Reed also finished the year shooting better than 85% from the ft line over the last 7 games of the season and CIT tournament. The real question is: Opportunity! Will the coaches force the action his way. Or, will they over rely on the outside shooting of Preston. Last season, Reeds teammates missed numerous opportunities to pass the ball to him when he was virtually unguarded. Perhaps that is why several of them are no longer Aggies. Given the opportunity, Reed will score ....the record is clear on that account.