Utah State faces Central Methodist Friday night for its first exhibition, and we have a short preview of that contest. But here's some extra nuggets from today's conference call with Stew Morrill:
• Looking like one redshirt this year. Morrill said he expects not a lot of redshirts this year, save one. That should be center Carson Shanks, as assistant Chris Jones said last night on the radio with KVNU. The coaching staff looks for him to develop some strength and athleticism over the next year, having some time to adapt to the college game. The 7-footer has nice touch but is probably not physically ready to compete in the Mountain West. As for Viko Noma'aea and Jojo McGlaston, they'll have chances to play this year. Outside chance of two redshirts, Morrill said, but for now just the one.
• The Aggies want to be more of a fast break threat. I pointed out in the recent notebook that Marcel Davis will be charged with pushing the ball more off the break, and Morrill concurred. He said that's actually what Utah State always wants, but it doesn't always happen right away. "For whatever reason, players talk about wanting to run, but when it gets down to it, you're constantly pushing them to get the easy offense on the fast break." Morrill is talking about the players here: They need to be with the program. Kyisean Reed was a great fastbreak threat for the Aggies last year, but after his knee injury, the fast break point totals suffered. It will be interesting to see how Utah State can use the talents of players like Davis, Jalen Moore, Danny Berger and others to get points on fast breaks.
• Utah State's most recent graduation success rate figures were released by the NCAA today, and men's basketball comes out again with a 100 for the sixth straight year. The GSR measures how many incoming graduate from the institution within six years. Basketball has a smaller roster to manage, but it's still quite a feat. The Federal Graduation Rate was at 67 - the difference is that the GSR leaves out players who transfer in good academic standing, while the FGR doesn't make that distinction. The bottom line is every freshman went to Utah State between 2003 and 2006 and didn't transfer managed to graduate. Morrill: "Education is their future. We talk about how few guys play pro basketball. The numbers are astounding. For those who do, it's a very short career. We sell really hard on graduation rate, our success. It's a credit not just to our players and our coaches, but to our academic people in our department."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon