Sunday, February 10, 2008

Midseason grades for Utah State basketball

This is an article that I wrote back on Jan. 2, the day before conference play was about to begin. At this point in the season the Aggies had just wrapped up non-conference play at 10-5. However, I saved it and never published it...

Post Players
Gary Wilkinson: B Center
Wilkinson has proven that he can score. However, many players have been able to out-rebound him with ease, particularly really talented posts like Vanderbilt's Andrew Ogilvy.
Tai Wesley: B- Power Forward
Tai has taken over the starting power forward position, a spot that he took and hasn't relinquished since an early December game at Cal State Bakersfield. He has played better in the role with more and more playing time, and with the way he is going will be in the running for WAC Freshman of the Year once conference play gets rolling.
Steve DuCharme: B- Power Forward/Center
Steve started strong earlier in the season, particularly in weekend games in southern Californinia at Cal-Poly and UC-Irvine, when he averaged 20 points and was really the only Aggie to perform well. However, he has struggled to find his place on this team that has been ever-evolving over non-conference play.
Moduo Niang: C- Center
Moduo saw some playing time in the first ten or eleven games of the season, but has found his place on the bench his freshman season as coach Stew Morrill has been trying to solidify a rotation. Niang is still very raw but has shown signs of being a big contributor in seasons to come.
Overall: B-

Swingmen- Shooting Guards & Small Forwards
Jaycee Carroll: A Shooting Guard
What can I say? He has kept the team afloat as they have come together and improved, especially over the holiday break from school (a 32.5 ppg average during the Gossner Classic, a school record). Is still shooting just as well, or even better, than last season. While his scoring average was a little down from last year early on, he has scored at a higher pace the last 7 games while still involving his teammates.
Tyler Newbold: B- Small Forward
After burning his redshirt when Nick Hammer's tenure with the time ended right before the season, Newbold took over the starting small forward position vacated by DeUndrae Spraggins in the same December game at Bakersfield that Tai Wesley took the starting power forward slot. He has played good defense most of the time, and unlike Spraggins has fully accepted that he isn't going to get a lot of shots in an offense that looks for Carroll and passes to the post players coming off of low-post cross screens.
DeUndrae Spraggins: B- Small Forward
Spraggins has been a stellar defender, often taking on defensive roles against the opponent's best scorer. However, he has taken too many questionable shots for coach Morrill's liking, and perhaps has had a little too much pot recently, especially when compared to returned missionary Newbold.
Pooh Williams: C- Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Pooh played quite a bit in the first 6 or 7 games of the season, but has fallen out of the rotation as Morrill has sought to tighten the playing lineup. He can be a very solid player, but as coach Morrill has said, needs to develop consistent practice habits and fight fatigue in practice.
Overall: B

Point Guards
Kris Clark: B
Clark surprisingly had a major issue with turning the ball over in the Aggies' 5-5 start. However, since an embarrassing loss at Utah, Clark has been more steady with the ball, beginning with the Prarie View A&M game. In the two-game Gossner Classic, in fact, Clark turned the ball over just once. It is good to see that he is regaining his steady form from last season.
Desmond Stephens: C
Stephens has proven that he is a pretty good outside shooter, and while he isn't the largest man on the floor (5-9, 160 pounds), he contains serious speed to emphasize the fast break. However, he has had a huge problem with making lazy passes that lead to points for the opponent on the other end. However, the last few games he has seemed more accustomed to Div. 1 basketball.
Overall: C+

Team: B-

The team needs to continue to improve at the rate that they are improving to be contenders in the WAC. Starting conference play at home should help a lot in that regard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What...DeUndrae Spraggins and pot? Speculation or fact? Or just a comparison between him and a sqeakier RM player? Has he had trouble in this area? What was behine the comment?