A lot has been said about this year’s basketball team. Listening to the call-in show tonight, and reading the message boards and twitter feeds has led me to give my take on the team. A more positive take than what I’ve been hearing from many. So without further ado, here are a few things that I like about the 2012-13 Utah State Aggies:
Marcel Davis – This kid is the real deal. One of the big recruits we’ve had in recent years, and he has lived up to the hype in my book. A genuinely nice kid (one of the nicest players I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking to on campus), an extremely hard worker (saw him with the shooting machine twice while I was on campus in the summer), and a relentless competitor. It has been great to see him blossom over the course of this season. He started out with some nerves, but has really shown leadership and confidence in recent games. A couple of his passes tonight had me jumping out of my seat, and I’m sitting at home watching on a 3 by 4 inch screen. I’m very happy that our team is in Doc’s hands for the next three and a half years. I also like that he has the 2nd or 3rd highest 3 point percentage on our team. That says a lot considering the fact that people said that he needed to be able to shoot the ball better to start the year. The kid can shoot the ball. He would be in the all-time single season Aggie leaderboard for 3-point percentage right now if he would have gotten more playing time to start the year. He only doesn’t qualify yet for lack of shots taken.
Spencer Butterfield – I’ve loved this kid’s game ever since I saw the youtube vids of him playing in JC ball. He’s a perfect fit for the Aggies and Stew’s style of play. Hard nosed, tough player. Plays tough defense, and plays with some serious confidence out there. He hit a HUGE clutch three tonight to seal the victory for us on the road and has had several clutch plays this year. I figured he would start at some point along the way this year, and with Berger going down he has. I’m very glad we have him because I don’t think there is much of a drop off at all between him and Danny. Oh, and he’s shooting around 50% from the three point line so far this year if you need him, good enough for top 5 all-time in a single season.
Kyisean Reed – The stat lines that he has been putting up this year are pretty unreal. He is getting more blocked shots per game than any player that we have seen since Nate Wickizer nearly twenty years ago. Not only that, he’s getting steals, assists, and thunderous face-melting dunks at an alarming rate as well. And shooting percentages? Well, he was in the TOP 4 ALL TIME in Career FG% going into tonight’s game where he shot 80% from the floor. I feel that Kyisean is underrated at this point. He is one of the better players we have had in a long time. He has been consistently good for us this year.
Jarred Shaw – A rebounding, scoring, and blocked shot machine. Shaw has put up comparable numbers to Kyisean in those three categories thus far this year and was, at least coming into tonight’s game, the leading scorer on our team. Big men that can shoot with the range and touch that he shows are few and far between. We’ve been lucky to have two of them in recent years (the other being Gary Wilkinson). While I would like to see him pass out of double and triple-teams a bit more often, I can’t really argue with his efficiency of putting the ball through the hoop. He’s one of the very few players we’ve had in the last 30-40 years that could actually average double-digit rebounds this year. I had faith that Brady Jardine would do it last year, and I think he might have had he not gone down to injury.
Preston Medlin – After disappearing for a few games, Preston has shown why he was picked in the pre-season to be the WAC player of the year. He has the ability to take over games scoring the ball, and against Southern Illinois (and basically throughout the entire Gossner Classic event) even showed us a Morgan Grim-esque ability to draw charges at an incredibly high rate. Preston is the leader on this team and needs to play to his abilities and with the fire that we’ve seen from him if we want to do something special this year. And yes, this team can definitely do something special this year.
A 10-1 record – Yes, ten wins and one loss. This team is winning over 90% of it’s games. No, we haven’t played Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas in our out of conference play, but with the slate that we were given we have won every single game except one against a very good St. Mary’s squad who has given us fits in the past, even in our “up” years.
Listening to the call in shows and reading the message boards I sometimes feel that we have been spoiled in recent years. People saying we are a horrible team despite having a 10-1 record is just ludicrous in my book. People need to wake up and realize what we have this year. We have a very good team. We’ve seen two of our newly acquired prospects leave the team because they couldn’t cut it, and another starter collapse on the court in a near death encounter (some could argue he did die, and was subsequently revived). Despite all of that we are winning ball games. Is it pretty? No. Does it matter in the record books? No. Do you get style points for wins? No you do not.
Get behind this team. Come out to the games. Cheer your guts out. Encourage the players on twitter and in the social media. Tell the nay-sayers they are wrong. Don’t let them be the loudest voices. Drown them out. This team needs you, and they deserve your support.