Apr 3, 2012
Sorting out USU basketball's current recruiting picture
As things look, Utah State is after a point guard and at least one wing player to bring in for next year. Who those guys will be is the question that still remains... But we've got a few ideas.
PG - Quan Conner
According to an article posted three weeks ago, Connr currently holds a scholarship offer from the Aggies. According to his Twitter, he's narrowed his choices to Morehead State and Utah State, with impending visits to both (Morehead this weekend, USU the next).
Based on video available of him, he looks like a total stud prospect. Smooth ball handling ability, good court-vision, some pretty passes and a good outside shot. Above all else, he looks like he just loves playing basketball. With that kind of mentality, one can only imagine the epic high-fives that he and Preston Medlin might share during big moments next season if those two are wrecking everyone's eardrums at The Spectrum together. This season he was 16th in NJCAA Division-I scoring with just more than 19 points per game to go with 3.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.
Unless Riley Bradshaw is going to play the point (mean Stew would be entrusting a position to a pair of true freshman), USU needs another point guard to play alongside Marcel Davis next year. Seeing as how there's no way in hell Stew let's two freshman man the point, and that Bradshaw likely would be a better scorer than distributor, Conner would be a perfect fit to come in and be the other point guard next years. Based on the video available so far, I see no reason why Conner couldn't make it five straight years that USU's starting point guard earned all-WAC honors.
SF - Marvin Jean
This one's a tough call... Is he a recruit, or a commit? That's the debate at this point. One on hand, Jean himself has tweeted that he's given a verbal commitment to Utah State to play here next season. On the other, Tony Jones has reported that no commitment has yet been issued, and that Jean is visiting Utah State the same weekend as Conner (April 12).
This gets even more tricky because the tweet from Jean saying he'd given a verbal appears to have been deleted, but since then he's sent this tweet which seems to back up the notion that he's going to be an Aggie.
For now, we'll look at what we know. Jean is a 6'5 athletic wing who the coaches apparently were intrigued enough to go watch play in New York. He averaged 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season, all while hitting on 41 percent of his shots from the field. He's also a 40 percent shooter from behind the 3-point line.
There's video on Jean out there too, but it's a whole game rather than a highlight reel. Based on watching a solid five minutes or so of that, it's obvious Jean has been playing with a lot of very good athletes who prefer the run-and-gun style of play. Jean seemed to be the exception in many ways though, setting screens, passing off when he didn't have a shot, and really playing team-ball. To be completely honest, I wasn't totally sold on Jean after first seeing his numbers, but after watching some of that game, I can see why the coaches want him, and I think he'd be a really good fit.
PG/SG - Tenale Roland
Going off of numbers alone, Roland might be the gem of this group. He was 16th in scoring in NJCAA Division-II (Conner was 16th in D-I) with 20.7 points per game on 43 percent shooting. Roland doesn't have any video out there, and really a decent amount of mystery surrounding him.
From everything I can find from diving into the depths of the internet, Roland graduated high school in 2009, yet was just a freshman in junior college this year. Not only that, but unless there's a crazy coincidence of names, he's the younger brother of a guy named Lamont Roland, who started as a freshman at LSU back in the 1999-2000 season, averaging 10.9 points that year.
According to this bit on him from his prep days, he was apparently viewed as both a stellar leader and defensive stopper, two things that I'm sure would tell the tale as to he intrigued Stew Morrill. He's rumored to be visiting Utah State this coming weekend, so there's a chance we could know more about him soon.
SG - Spencer Butterfield
While the reports of interest on each of the aforementioned prospects are relatively new, Butterfield's name popped up a while ago regarding USU's strong interest, but little else has been heard since then. Really what we know entirely about Butterfield is largely through a few updates from the grandaddy of them all when it comes to WAC blogging, Kevin McCarthy. Most notably, in a feature article where McCarthy's description of Butterfield sounded very reminiscent of former Aggie Brian Green.
That type of mentality alone has got success written all over it for a guy playing for Morrill, and seeing as how Butterfield and current USU signee Sean Harris were teammates this past year, one would think that could only help USU succeed in reeling him in.
If I had to pinpoint a gem of this group who I'd most like to see in an Aggie uniform, it would be Conner. The need for another point guard is incredibly immediate, and he seems to have some serious swagger to his game.
If Conner decides to go another direction, Roland looks like he could be a major player at the WAC level too based on what little info is available on him. I feel like if USU lands either one of these guys, they're in a good spot for next year.
For who comes on the wings, I'd honestly be thrilled with either one of Jean or Butterfield. I have a tough time envisioning both of them coming because that would leave USU with up to as many as five players on the wings, all in the same class next year, which would be an absolute mess.
At the end of the day, if two of these guys become Aggies, Utah State will likely be a much better and much deeper team in 2012-13.