Utah State commit Jojo McGlaston ready to be pushed
When Jojo McGlaston first met Stew Morrill, he heard promises. But not the same kind he had heard elsewhere.
"He didn't promise me a position or playing time or anything like that," McGlaston recalled. "He said we're just gonna coach you up, and we're going to make you better. We're not going to hand you anything. And I like that. I like being told the truth."
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Dublin High (Calif.) decided to attend Utah State in the fall for a variety of reasons. He liked the players he met. He liked the fans who chanted for him at a basketball game. And he liked Logan's weather - "He said he dug the snow," Dublin coach Tom Costello said.
But the main reason McGlaston chose to commit to the Aggies on Tuesday was that he felt that he had found a place where he can grow. Utah State promised him progress in his game if he promised them hard work. That felt like a fair exchange.
"I really like their team and how they go after it," he said. "I wanted to choose a school with coaching and chemistry. And they really have that."
Utah State had been involved dating back a few months, as had a few other schools. McGlaston said he dealt with some grade issues last semester, and many of the other suitors fell away. Utah State did not.
The conversations picked up in December and January, and the coaching staff visited Dublin during the team's trip to San Jose. McGlaston returned the visit this past weekend, going to Logan with fellow 2013 recruit Carson Shanks and falling in love with the program.
"You know, he's just a patient kid, nice, easygoing, nothing really rattles him," Costello said. "He just goes with the flow. He was really excited in the days headed up to Logan, and when he was there, he just felt really welcomed by everybody."
Utah State is right to be welcoming of the springy guard, who leads the Gaels in scoring and rebounding this year. He's had double-doubles in about half his games, and his athleticism makes him a fearsome scorer in his league.
"He has range out about to 25 feet, you can throw him in the high post and he can score off the dribble, or he can dunk," Costello said. "I think his best basketball is ahead of him, frankily. He's really looking forward to getting in the type of system that they employ, and they'll get him in a weight program."
McGlaston loves to dunk. He's been able to get to the rim since his freshman year, and his jams are the hit of his highlight tape.
But the Aggies also see his abilities translating to the Mountain West in other ways.
"They said one thing they want me to be able to say when I walk through those doors is that I'm a hell of a defender," McGlaston said. "They think guarding a lot of guys could be my strength, and they want me to work on it. I also need to work on my ball handling, make sure I can run the floor, play through pressure, stuff like that."
The Gaels won their league this year for the first time in 40 years, and as of Thursday had won their first playoff game.
It's excitement enough that when McGlaston signs an NLI in April, he'll be the school's first Division signee out of high school in nearly three decades. But Costello says he'll look forward to his career with relish.
"It's definitely a pretty big deal here," he said. "Jojo is just so dynamic. You never know when he'll push it to the next level. I'm excited for him to go to Utah State."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon