Utah State basketball: Point guards maintain friendly 'competition'
Logan • Utah State's TeNale Roland and Marcel Davis don't really call it a "competition."
On Saturday against Utah Valley University, coach Stew Morrill said it could be a toss-up between the two on who starts at point guard. But if it's a position battle, it's hardly cutthroat.
"We're best friends," Davis says. "He supports me when I'm in, I support him while he's in. We're each other's biggest cheerleaders."
The point guard position was open before the season began, and junior college transfer Roland claimed a starting role with his composure and a good eye for passing lanes. Davis, a freshman out of American Fork, was slower to adapt to the speed.
But now Davis is caught up, and he's pushing to make a big impact as a rookie. His last game a 21-point effort against Western Oregon showed the potential coaches have been seeing in practice. And the minute splits between the two are evening out.
"There's a chance that we will start [Davis]," coach Stew Morrill said Thursday. "We will just see how the next couple days of practice go."
Davis' potential lies with his ability for running fast breaks and slashing to the basket. His athleticism can help create opportunities for others.
So far, Roland has been the steadier hand, however, as Davis has been prone to some turnovers in early games, and Roland more than doubles the freshman in assists. When the two go against each other in practice, Davis acknowledges that his older teammate presents some tough challenges that better prepare him for games.
"He's done a lot that's made me a better basketball player," Davis said. "He's a quick guard who can shoot. He just does a lot of things well."
Roland may cede more of his minutes running the point to play at the 2-guard spot, helping the team alleviate some depth issues. He was more of a scorer at Rend Lake College, so if his 3-point shots start falling more often, he could help spread the floor.
Learning two positions is not easy, Roland acknowledged, but this year, it might be necessary.
"I gotta learn more plays now, but it helps having those guys around me," he said. "As long as we get the win, as long as we're doing good, that's all that really matters."
Utah State at Utah Valley
P At UCCU Center, Orem
Tipoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • FOX College Sports
Radio • 610 AM, 102.1 FM (tape delay)
Records • Utah State 5-1; Utah Valley 5-6
Series history • Utah State leads, 7-0
Last meeting • USU 76, UVU 58
About the Aggies •Â With a win over Western Oregon last week, coach Stew Morrill now has 350 wins as head coach at Utah State. â¦ The Aggies are averaging 15 more rebounds than their opponents, good for third-best in the NCAA.
About the Wolverines • Utah Valley's last two victories have both come in overtime, against Troy and Pepperdine.