Aggies lose top player days before season opener

Utah State's David Collette (13) looks to the basket past Boise State's Jake Ness during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. Utah State won 62-61. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

LOGAN – Just two days before Utah State’s season opener against Weber State, starting forward David Collette is gone. It was announced Wednesday afternoon that the redshirt sophomore was leaving. According to a quote by head coach Tim Duryea in a press release it appears there was little-to-no warning.

“I was shocked when he came into my office today and said he was going to quit,” Duryea said. “I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players. I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired, but we will move on and get ready for our season opener on Friday.”

Collette will be difficult to replace in many areas. In the two preseason games Collette score 14 points in the first game and led the Aggies with 22 the next. Last season he was the second leading scorer on the team and led the Aggies with 56 blocks. His .591 shooting percentage led the conference and ranked No. 14 nationally.

One of the guys that will need to step up to help fill Collette’s role is sophomore Elston Jones. Collette started both preseason games, but when he wasn’t on the floor it was primarily Jones who played his spot. Jones averaged 9.6 minutes per game last season and averaged 1.3 points and 2 rebounds per game, but showed improvement during the preseason. Jones had 9 rebounds against Oklahoma Panhandle State.

“This offseason I went almost every single day trying to get slimmer,” Jones said after the win against Panhandle State. “Losing some fat, gaining muscle. I’ve been working also on my knee to get that stronger.“

Lew Evans and Alexis Dargenton are two other forwards that could help ease the pain of Collette’s departure. Evans got his first playing time as an Aggie during the preseason. Dargenton has yet to play due to eligibility requirements, but it is hoped he will be available sometime soon.

Before serving a two-year LDS mission in North Carolina, Collette redshirted with the Aggies during the 2011-2012 season.

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