opening win -- sign of things to come, or just beating
up a weak opponent?
Aggies and Lights converge on a rebound. / Photo
by Leah Lopshire
By Connor H. Jones
November 16, 2008 | The Utah State Aggies won
their 54th straight regular season non-conference
home game Friday night against the Montana State
Northern Lights, 71-50. The 21-point win left
some Aggie fans wondering, is this a preview of
the season to come or just an Aggie team playing
OK against a less-talented, NAIA team?
The question creeping across the rows of the
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is about USU's center
and point guard play. Coach Stew Morrill has been
starting 5-foot-9 freshman Jaxon Myaer at point
guard this season. Myaer redshirted during the
2007-08 season, which he said helped him get prepared
for this season.
"It's coming around," Myaer said."It's [Coach
Morrill's system] becoming a lot more natural
for me. I feel comfortable out there."
Myaer isn't the only point guard getting used
to Morrill's style of play. Junior transfer from
Western Wyoming Community College Jared Quayle
is also learning to run the team. In the 2007-08
National Junior College Athletic Association season,
Quayle finished fifth in the nation in scoring
with 24.4 points per game. As a sophomore he also
earned second-team NJCAA All-American honors.
NOT ME! Gary Wilkinson
disputes a foul call. / Photo by Leah Lopshire
In Friday's game the two point guards
had six assists, nine points, and three rebounds.
"I think our point guard play improved a lot. Jaxon
being a freshman and Jared Quayle coming in, they just
gotta know they can play," said Gary Wilkinson, senior
center. "Coach recruited them here knowing they can
play. They made a huge step forward tonight and I was
really impressed with both of them."
Wilkinson, USU's star center, is the only senior on
this year's roster. After being honored in the 2007-08
season with the Academic All-WAC, WAC All-Newcomers
Team, and Second-Team All-WAC, he was named the 2008-09
WAC preseason player of the year. Wilkinson scored a
career high Friday night with 24 points, hitting 10
of his 11 attempted shots.
Modou Niang, sophomore center from Senegal, is expected
to contribute more this year. As a truefreshman last
season Niang scored a total of 11 points. He was named
the top center two years in a row in the National High
School Championships in Japan. In his senior season
he averaged a double-double and led the nation in scoring
with 32.3 points, 18.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 3.6
blocks per game. He had senior highs of 51 points and
On paper, USU's center position looks strong. Wilkinson,
the veteran, will need to continue with solid play and
the majority of the minutes. Niang's size, athleticism
and energy off the bench will be important to this year's