When he arrived on campus three years ago, Preston Medlin was so skinny and so lacking in strength that Utah State coaches weren't sure how he would ever stand up to the rigors of college basketball.
Even when he proved himself memorably against Jimmer Fredette and BYU during his freshman season, knocking down huge 3-pointers, and even when he showed the promise that is coming to fruition now, he was a slam dunk as a redshirt candidate.
Today, Medlin is 185 pounds. He's not where he wants to be, and he knows he has a ways to go. But he will enter the 2012 season as a pure candidate for WAC player of the year. He owes a lot to his jumper. He owes a lot to his dedication to the weight room.
On Wednesday, Utah State opened its new Strength and Conditioning center on campus in an elaborate groundbreaking ceremony. The $6.4 Million project is 21,000 square feet, and is one that USU brass hopes can compete with any facility in the new Mountain West Conference.
" This facility helps all Aggie athletes in many ways," Medlin said. "it helps my coaches recruit my future teammates, it helps us as we move to a bigger conference and it helps us to have the latest and the most advanced training equipment available. On behalf of my fellow student-athletes, I would like to say thank you to all of the donors and everyone who made today possible. Thank you."
The Strength and Conditioning center, newly minted, is an example, of USU improving its facilities. It's one of the big reasons the Aggies will be playing in the Mountain West, starting in 2013. It helps the nearly 400 Utah State student athletes. It also helps with recruiting, and selling the university as a whole to perspective students.
In other words, USU took an important step on Wednesday.
"We are moving into a new conference, is this new facility important? Yes. Kids love facilities and kids love gear," Utah State football coach Gary Andersen said.
"That is the bottom line when you start talking about recruiting and putting yourself in a position to take the next step and it is a big step walking into the Mountain West. It is a tremendous opportunity to get a new facility and it allows us as coach to be on the cutting edge."
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