Thursday afternoon Utah State head coach Stew Morrill announced the official addition of two new players to his program, as forwards Lew Evans and Grayson Moore are now Aggies. Evans has experience at the Division I level, as he played the 2013-14 season at Tulsa. Of the 34 games in which the 6-foot-8 Evans played he made 22 starts, posting averages of 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Evans’ best offensive performance of the season came in a win over Tulane in early January, as he scored 14 points on the evening. Evans is more of a perimeter threat, as last season more than 61 percent of his field goal attempts were three-pointers. Prior to joining the Tulsa program, Evans spent a year at Casper College in Wyoming.
As for Moore, he played the 2013-14 season at Northwest Nazarene University and posted averages of 10.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. With the number of front court players Utah State lost at the end of the 2013-14 season, Evans and Moore are important additions as the Aggies look to improve their depth.
Utah State lost its top two rebounders from last season’s team, with Jarred Shaw out of eligibility and Kyle Davis having transferred to BYU. Also having graduated from that team were guards Spencer Butterfield and Preston Medlin, leaving rising sophomore forward Jalen Moore (5.6 ppg) as the team’s leading returning scorer.
Utah State has signed eight other players heading into the 2014-15 season, with three being junior college transfers. The Aggies finished their first season in the Mountain West with an overall record of 18-14, going 7-11 in conference play.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.