It didn’t take long for the Utah State Aggies men’s basketball team to be recognized as king of the Western Athletic Conference, although the season hasn’t begun.
Both the coaches and media voted the Aggies the likely conference champion in its annual preseason poll conducted at the WAC offices in Denver.
Utah State was well ahead of New Mexico State and Nevada–who ranked second and third, respectively–in both polls.
Senior forward Tai Wesley was also named the conference’s preseason player of the year by league coaches.
A solid group of veterans, including Wesley, returns. The Aggies have some size inside with Wesley and senior forward Nate Bendall. Junior Brady Jardine also comes back, and the Aggies will also welcome in freshman Ben Clifford, a Bingham product.
The smaller Aggies will also play a similar tune in its backcourt, as it is both deep and talented. Senior Pooh Williams is back for his final season, but the player to watch for is JUCO transfer Brockeith Pane, a Dallas native who is reportedly tearing up preseason practices. Along with Williams and Newbold, the always reliable Tyler Newbold will be back to stroke the three.
Utah State also has its share of lunchpailers, such as big guys like Matt Formisano and Morgan Grim and more JUCOs, namely Antonio Bumpus and E.J. Harris.
35 Bendall, Nate 6-9/250 Forward SR Salt Lake City, Utah/Skyline/Salt Lake (Utah) CC
33 Brown, Brad 6-6/190 Forward RS FR Orono, Minn./Orono
4 Bumpus, Antonio 6-3/185 Guard JR Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy/Harcum (Pa.) CC
31 Clifford, Ben 6-7/220 Forward FR South Jordan, Utah/Bingham
10 Cooper, Jr. Leon 6-1/170 Guard FR Freeport, Bahamas/Sunrise Academy (Wichita, Kan.)
14 Farris, E.J. 6-2/185 Guard SO Newark, Calif./Newark Memorial/College of Sequoias
44 Formisano, Matt 6-8/240 Forward SR Centennial, Colo./Heritage
23 Green, Brian 6-1/200 Guard SR Kaysville, Utah/Davis/Salt Lake (Utah) CC
21 Grim, Morgan 6-8/230 Forward RS JR Riverton, Utah/Riverton/Utah
22 Jardine, Brady 6-7/220 Forward JR Twin Falls, Idaho/Twin Falls
13 Medlin, Preston 6-4/175 Guard SO Carrollton, Texas/Hebron
24 Newbold, Tyler 6-5/210 Guard SR Payson, Utah/Payson
3 Pane, Brockeith 6-1/195 Guard JR Dallas, Texas/Carter/Midland (Texas) JC
15 Walker, III James 6-2/180 Guard FR Long Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos
42 Wesley, Tai 6-7/240 Forward SR Provo, Utah/Provo
5 Williams, Pooh 6-4/190 Guard/Forward SR Federal Way, Wash./Federal Way