Utah State basketball has announced two role players on this season’s 18-14 team will not be returning next year.
Junior center Jordan Stone and junior forward Danny Berger have elected to leave the Aggies, according to a school news release. Stone was the team’s lone center with eligibility remaining, while Berger was lost in a bit of a logjam at the wings for the Aggies.
The release offered reasons for the departures: Stone is graduating from Utah State this summer and is unsure if he’ll look to play elsewhere, while Berger is seeking more playing time in another program.
"We wish Jordan and Danny nothing but the best," coach Stew Morrill said in the release. "We greatly appreciate their contributions to Utah State basketball."
Berger is well-known outside Logan for surviving a cardiac arrest episode in December 2012. The junior forward was cleared to play this year and made his return as perhaps one of the biggest feel-good stories of the season. But Berger’s on-court role dwindled as he lost time and did not end up playing four of the team’s last six games. Berger ended the season averaging 3.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Perhaps a bigger piece of Utah State’s 2014 puzzle is missing with Stone’s departure. The 6-foot-10 Smithfield native averaged 11.9 minutes per game while averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He made five starts when Jarred Shaw was suspended midseason, and he was the team’s only center with another year left at the end of this season.
The Aggies received a commitment from Arizona high school center Elston Jones on Monday, a two-star recruit who should compete for time right away. But the team will likely need to bring in one or two more big men to round out the roster for next year.
With the graduation of five seniors and the departure of Berger and Stone, the Aggies now have six scholarship players who will return next year, assuming there are no more personnel moves. The team signed four guards in the fall who will join the program in 2014, and Jones is so far the only prospect to commit to signing in the spring.
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