LOGAN, Utah – Utah State sophomore guard Koby McEwen has been named preseason all-Mountain West as announced by the conference on Wednesday. In addition, the Aggies have been picked eighth in the annual preseason poll.
McEwen’s honor is the second consecutive preseason Mountain West accolade for the sophomore, having been named the preseason Co-Freshman of the Year last season. McEwen proved the prognosticators right in 2016-17, earning Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors after leading all freshmen in the league with 14.9 points and 31.3 minutes per game. Furthermore, McEwen finished second among Mountain West freshmen with 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
McEwen’s points per game set a Utah State freshman record and was the most since USU All-American Jaycee Carroll averaged 14.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a freshman during the 2004-05 season. McEwen also matched Carroll’s freshman single-game scoring record, turning in a 28-point performance against UNLV last season on Jan. 7, 2017.
McEwen, the only underclassman, is joined on the preseason all-MW list by Boise State senior guard Chandler Hutchison, Nevada junior wing Jordan Caroline, San Diego State senior guard Trey Kell and Wyoming junior guard Justin James. Hutchison also garnered preseason Player of the Year honors, while UNLV freshman Brandon McCoy was tabbed the preseason Freshman of the Year and Nevada junior forward Caleb Martin was named the preseason Newcomer of the Year. The preseason recognition is the second straight for the Aggies, as Jalen Moore was named a preseason all-Mountain West selection last season.
“The preseason all-Mountain West team is five quality player,” head coach Tim Duryea said. “Everyone in the league knows that they are a very experienced and a very talented, athletic group. Everyone of them is very deserving and any one of them could go on and be the player of the year.”
In addition to individual honors, Utah State was selected eighth in the annual preseason poll, finishing with 102 votes. Nevada was picked to repeat as Mountain West champion, earning 257 votes and 19 first-place votes. San Diego State and Boise State followed in second and third with 229 and 211 votes, respectively, and each picked up two first-place votes apiece.
“One of the qualities about this conference every year is how deep it is,” Duryea said. “Every year one through nine usually has a very fine line, a narrow margin of finishing second or third or finishing seventh or eighth. A lot of it depends on experience and most of the teams picked in the top four or five have people coming back.”
Fresno State (188), Colorado State (154), UNLV (138) and Wyoming (133) preceded the Aggies in the poll, with the Runnin’ Rebels also garnering one first-place vote. New Mexico (93), San José State (41) and Air Force (38) rounded out the poll.
Utah State returns seven letterwinners, including four starters from last season. Joining McEwen, in arguably the best one-two punch in the backcourt in the MW, is Sam Merrill, who wrapped up his freshman year third on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and led the Aggies with 98 assists, finishing seventh in the nation with an assist to turnover ratio of 3.27. Senior guard Julion Pearre and sophomore guard Diogo Brito also return in the USU backcourt, providing depth and experience.
Utah State returns a pair of frontcourt players in senior Alex Dargenton and junior Quinn Taylor, as both appeared in every game for the Aggies last season. Dargenton led Utah State with 34 blocks last season and finished third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per contest. USU was dealt a blow earlier this week when junior Norbert Janicek underwent season-ending knee surgery, and will be unable to compete for the 2017-18 season.
Utah State will benefit in the return of three redshirts in freshmen forwards Klay Stall and Daron Henson, and freshman guard Abel Porter. That group will be joined by five newcomers in junior college transfers Dwayne Brown, Jr., and DeAngelo Isby, who will enter as juniors and have two years to play, and freshmen Brock Miller, Crew Ainge and Justin Bean, who are returning from LDS Church missions.
Utah State will host an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 3, facing the University of Providence (formerly Great Falls), at 7 p.m., before officially opening the 2017-18 season at Weber State on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. The Aggies will then host Montana State in the home opener on Monday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.
Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumen’sbasketball) and on Twitter (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook (facebook.com/usuathletics) or on Instagram (@usuathletics).
<strong>2017-18 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll</strong>
1. Nevada (19) 257
2. San Diego State (2) 229
3. Boise State (2) 211
4. Fresno State 188
5. Colorado State 154
6. UNLV (1) 138
7. Wyoming 133
8. Utah State 102
9. New Mexico 93
10. San José State 41
11. Air Force 38
<strong>Preseason All-Mountain West</strong>
Chandler Hutchison Sr. G Boise State
Jordan Caroline Jr. G/F Nevada
Trey Kell Sr. G San Diego St.
Koby McEwen So. G Utah State
Justin James Jr. G Wyoming
<strong>Preseason Player of the Year</strong>
Chandler Hutchison Sr. G Boise State
<strong>Preseason Newcomer of the Year</strong>
Caleb Martin Jr. F Nevada
<strong>Preseason Freshman of the Year</strong>
Brandon McCoy Fr. F UNLV