LOGAN, Utah – Utah State senior guard Sam Merrill earned his second consecutive first-team all-Mountain West honor as the league offices announced the all-conference teams on Tuesday. Sophomore center Neemias Queta was named to the second team, while sophomore forward Justin Bean was named to the third team. In addition, Queta and Bean were named to the all-Mountain West Defensive Team.
Merrill is leading the Aggies this year in scoring and assists, turning in 18.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. During league play, Merrill scored in double figures in every game, including a season-high 32-point performance at Colorado State on Feb. 11. Merrill eclipsed 2,000 career points in the same game against the Rams, becoming just the fourth Aggie in school history and just the sixth player in Mountain West history to surpass 2,000 career points. Merrill currently has 2,114 career points, 14 points shy of second place in Utah State history and 55 points shy of fourth place in Mountain West history.
Merrill has also made his mark on the Utah State record books in 14 other career statistics as he is the best free throw shooter in school history, connecting on 89.3 percent (434-of-486), and ranks second in assists (469), minutes played (4,248), 10-point games (105), 3-point field goals (308) and 3-point field goals attempted (733), fourth in games started (116), fifth in field goals attempted (1,469), sixth in games played (128) and field goals made (686), and seventh in steals (125), 3-point field goal percentage (.420) and minutes per game (33.2). Merrill is also 15th in Utah State history with 16.5 points per game over the course of his career.
Merrill is the first Aggie since Tai Wesley in 2010 and 2011 to earn back-to-back first-team all-league honors.
Queta earned second-team all-Mountain West honors for the second consecutive year. He led the Mountain West during league play with 1.7 blocks per game and saw his production improve throughout the season as he has come back from an injury to his knee during the summer. Queta averaged 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during the month of January, but saw a bump in February, averaging 15.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Over the last two games alone, Queta has recorded a double-double in each game with 23 points and 10 rebounds against San José State on Feb. 25, followed by 18 points and 14 rebounds at New Mexico on Feb. 29.
Bean picked up his first all-Mountain West honor after being named to the third team. Bean is one of only three players in the MW averaging a double-double, turning in 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. In fact, Bean leads the MW with 15 double-doubles this season, the most by an Aggie since Eric Franson recorded 15 double-doubles during the 1994-95 season. Bean ranks 12th in the nation with 319 total rebounds, the most by an Aggie since Cornell Green pulled down 322 rebounds during the 1961-62 season.
Queta appeared on the all-defensive team for the second consecutive year as the Aggies made up two of the five honored on the list with Bean joining San Diego State’s KJ Feagin and Malachi Flynn and Nevada’s Lindsey Drew.
Utah State will return to the court and look for a second straight Mountain West Tournament Championship when the second-seeded Aggies open play in Las Vegas in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. (MT). USU will face the winner of No. 7 New Mexico and No. 10 San José State.