Utah State Men’s Basketball To Hold First Practice Friday

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s men’s basketball team will hold its first official practice of the 2010-11 season on Friday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as head coach Stew Morrill welcomes 16 players to the floor. Practices are closed to the public. Utah State returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team that advanced to its 19th NCAA Tournament all-time, including its seventh in the last 11 years under Morrill as it lost to Texas A&M, 69-53, in the first round. Utah State finished the 2009-10 season with a 27-8 record and went 14-2 in Western Athletic Conference play to claim its third-straight regular season league championship, which is a school record. Prior to its current run, the school record for consecutive conference titles was two set by the 1935-36 teams (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) and the 1997-98 teams (Big West Conference). Over the last three years, USU has a combined record of 81-24 (.771) including a 40-8 (.833) WAC mark. In 12 years as Utah State’s head coach, Morrill has led the Aggies to an incredible 294-99 (.748) record, including a 152-48 (.760) conference mark in the Big West and WAC. While at Utah State, he has guided the Aggies to 11 straight 20-win seasons and 11 straight postseason appearances (NCAA-7, NIT-4), both of which are school records. Morrill is the winningest coach in school history and ranks first all-time in games coached (393). Morrill is also the second-longest tenured coach in school history behind E. Lowell Romney (1920-41) who spent 22 years coaching basketball at USU. Leading the way for Utah State this year will be senior forward Tai Wesley who earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior as he finished the year ranking fourth in the WAC and 12th in the nation in field goal shooting at 57.4 percent. He also ranked fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.86), sixth in blocked shots (1.31), 10th in rebounding (6.6), 11th in assists (3.34), 13th in scoring (13.7) and 15th in free throw shooting (.701). Wesley was also named to the WAC’s all-tournament team in 2010, along with receiving first-team all-league honors from both Sporting News and NetScouts Basketball, as well as second-team all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Entering his senior year, Wesley already ranks as the only player in school history to have at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 blocks as he has career numbers of 1,247 points, 602 rebounds, 283 assists and 108 blocked shots. Overall, he ranks fourth all-time at USU in blocked shots, 14th in assists, 18th in rebounding and 20th in scoring, and is 10th all-time in double-figure scoring games with 73. He also ranks tied for eighth all-time at USU in games started with 94 and tied for 16th all-time in games played with 105. Joining Wesley as returning starters is senior forward Nate Bendall, and senior guards Tyler Newbold and Pooh Williams. USU’s four other returning lettermen are senior forward Matt Formisano, senior guard Brian Green, junior forward Brady Jardine and sophomore guard Preston Medlin. Bendall was named to the WAC’s all-newcomer team in 2010 as he finished the year averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, while ranking seventh in the league in field goal shooting (.562), eighth in free throw shooting (.815) and 11th in blocked shots (0.88). Newbold finished the year averaging 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, while ranking fifth in the WAC in three-point shooting at 42.1 percent. He also shot 44.4 percent from the field and 88.1 percent at the free throw line during the season. Newbold ranks seventh all-time at Utah State in games started (95) and is tied for 16th all-time in games played (105). He also ranks fourth all-time at USU in three-point shooting (.427), sixth all-time in three-pointers made (153) and attempted (358), and 17th all-time in assists (270). Williams became the first Aggie ever named to the WAC’s all-defensive team in 2010 and he finished the year averaging 8.7 points, 2.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from three-point range and 54.7 percent at the free throw line. Along with being named to the league’s all-defensive team, he was also named the WAC’s Defensive Player of the Year by Sporting News. Green was also named to the WAC’s all-newcomer team in 2010 as he averaged 7.6 points and 1.6 rebounds, and shot 47.7 percent from the field and 84.0 percent at the free throw line. He finished the season ranking first in the WAC in three-point shooting at 50.0 percent, which is a USU single-season record. Formisano has played in 82 games during his USU career and averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds as a junior. Jardine has played in 57 games during his first two years at Utah State, and averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds as a sophomore, while Medlin averaged 3.7 points in 22 games last season. In all, Utah State’s four returning starters have a combined 353 games played while at USU including 288 starts, while its four other returnees have a total of 195 games played at USU. Joining Utah State’s eight returnees are two redshirts in junior forward Morgan Grim and freshman forward Brad Brown, and six newcomers in junior guards Antonio Bumpus and Brockeith Pane, sophomore guard E.J. Farris, freshman forward Ben Clifford, and freshmen guards Leon Cooper Jr., and James Walker III. Utah State will hold its annual Blue-White Scrimmage on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., and its first exhibition game will be on Saturday, Oct. 30 against Universite Laval at 7 p.m. Following its second exhibition game against Grand Canyon on Friday, Nov. 5, USU will begin the regular season at home against Weber state on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Season tickets are available through USU’s website at www.UtahStateAggies.com or by calling the ticket office toll free at 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. -USU- 2010-11 UTAH STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON NOTES • Utah State returns 77.9 percent of its points (1,993/2,559), 71.3 percent of its rebounds (883/1,238), 76.8 percent of its minutes (5,398/7,025), 71.2 percent of its assists (416/584), 70.4 percent of its steals (114/162), 91.1 percent of its blocked shots (112/123), 79.9 percent of its field goals made (752/941), 67.8 percent of its three-point field goals made (164/242), and 74.7 percent of its free throws made (325/435) from a year ago. • Utah State returns four starters (Nate Bendall, Tyler Newbold, Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams) and eight lettermen from the 2009-10 team that went 27-8, won its third-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season title with a 14-2 record, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last 11 years as it lost to Texas A&M (69-53) in the first round. • Utah State’s current run of winning three-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season championships is the longest in school history. The previous record for consecutive conference titles was two during the 1935-36 seasons in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the 1997-98 seasons in the Big West Conference. • Head coach Stew Morrill (294-99) is the winningest coach in school history and is first all-time in games coached (393). Morrill is also the second-longest tenured coach at Utah State behind E. Lowell Romney who coached for 22 season (1920-41). • Entering his 13th season with the Aggies, Morrill has a 294-99 (.748) overall record, a 152-48 (.760) conference record and a 23-7 (.767) record in conference tournaments. Overall, Morrill owns a 512-237 (.684) record in 24 years as a collegiate head coach. • Among active coaches at the Division I level, Morrill ranks 18th in the nation with his 512 career wins and 26th in winning percentage at 68.4 percent. • Morrill is one of just 18 active coaches with 500 career wins at the Division I level and one of just 12 active coaches to notch 15 20-win seasons, while his current streak of 11 straight 20-win seasons is tied for the seventh-longest in the nation. • Utah State returns four players from last season who were honored by the Western Athletic Conference in senior forward Tai Wesley (First-Team All-WAC); senior forward Nate Bendall (WAC All-Newcomer Team); senior guard Brian Green (WAC All-Newcomer Team); and senior guard Pooh Williams (WAC All-Defensive Team). • After having just one senior on each of its last two teams, Utah State has six seniors on its 2010-11 roster which are the most for a USU team since the 2004-05 and 2000-01 teams also had six seniors, and the 1995-96 team had seven seniors. • Utah State placed four players (Matt Formisano, Brady Jardine, Preston Medlin, Tyler Newbold) on the academic all-WAC team in 2010. The other eight teams in the league combined for 13 academic all-WAC selections. Newbold also earned academic all-district honors from CoSIDA in 2010. • Aggie players from the state of Utah include senior forward Nate Bendall (Salt Lake City/Skyline HS), senior guard Brian Green (Kaysville/Davis HS), senior guard Tyler Newbold (Payson/Payson HS), senior forward Tai Wesley (Provo/Provo HS), junior forward Morgan Grim (Riverton/Riverton HS),and freshman forward Ben Clifford (South Jordan/Bingham HS).

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