LOGAN – Trace Cureton comes from an athletic family. One of his brothers played baseball at the University of Indiana. Another one still does. A third brother plays football for Ball State. His cousin Devin Harris plays in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks. Cureton said he played a lot of sports growing up, but in the end decided to go with basketball.
“I like the game,” he said. “Everything about it.”
Cureton said he had never really heard of Utah State University when he received a phone call asking if he wanted to make a visit to check out the school. The 6-foot-4-inch Sinclair Community College wing was in his last year at the junior college level and was exploring his options of where to play next. Most of the schools recruiting him were on the east coast, but he decided to play at USU.
He said one of the reasons he chose Utah State was because he felt there were a lot of opportunities available with so many vacated spots on the roster. He said he wants to maximize every opportunity he is given in his time at USU, make an impact and leave a legacy.
“The best is yet to come, I guess,” he said. “I haven’t seen much yet, but it’ll be there.”
If Cureton’s time as an Aggie resembles his time spent playing at the junior college level, he is right. The best is yet to come. Sinclair’s head basketball coach Jeff Price said Cureton was able to tweak his game and make big improvements in-between his freshman and sophomore years. That improvement was noticed by others as well. Cureton received an award for being the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference’s most improved player. Price said he believes Cureton will be able to make another big jump and be able to flourish in the Division I level.
“I can say that as the season goes along, probably the coaches are going to get more comfortable with him,” he said. “The coaches are going to be comfortable with him because he’s going to adapt himself to the system. He’s a kid that always buys in.”
Cureton said he sees his role on the team as being able to change, develop and help out however he needs to.
“I could do whatever they ask me to do,” he said. “Whether that is defend, rebound, get open shots, create for others. It’s just kind of a thing where as I start getting more comfortable I can expand.”
Price said Cureton is the type of guy that will stick to the system the coaches set up.
“He’s a pretty conscientious guy so whatever you tell him to do he’s really going to work hard on getting there,” he said. “He doesn’t go too far outside the lines. He doesn’t have a whole lot of independent thought when it comes to basketball.”
Cureton said the transition was slow at first, but he feels he is getting there. He said adjusting to Division I basketball has been more mental than physical and that the style of play is completely different from the fast-paced, isolation basketball he is used to playing.
“The biggest surprise is how much we digest every day, how much repetition we go through,” he said. “It’s a lot of structure. That’s new to me.”
The differences don’t end on the court. Cureton has noticed other things since he became an Aggie.
“It’s night and day,” he said. “I’m used to playing, probably in front of about 100 people. This is 10,000, screaming, getting into people’s faces.”
Cureton said off the court, he wants to do all he can to promote a positive image for the team in the community and get fans coming out to the games.
“I think you got a high-quality kid,” Price said. “Regardless of how many points he scores for you or how many rebounds he gets or anything, you have a high-quality young man that’s going to earn a Utah State degree and that’s going to represent your institution very well once he leaves.”