Utah State’s Sam Merrill named U.S. Basketball Writers Association POY for District VIII
Utah State guard Sam Merrill gets fouled by Air Force forward Lavelle Scottie (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)
Utah State senior guard Sam Merrill stacked another accolade onto his pile Tuesday when the United States Basketball Writers Association named him its Player of the Year for District VIII.
Merrill has scored 2,197 points in his career, the second-most in both Utah State and Mountain West Conference history. He led the Aggies in scoring and assists with an average 19.7 points per game and 3.9 apg this season. During the MWC Tournament, he scored an average of 27.6 ppg. Among those points was a heavily guarded step-back 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left Saturday that sealed the Aggies’ win over top-seeded San Diego State for the tournament title.
Merrill was bestowed with the title of MWC tournament MVP, becoming the first player to win it in back-to-back years. He also was named to the all-MWC first team by the conference and its media. Other honors Merrill has collected include being one of two Utah athletes named an academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Merrill was a second-team selection while BYU’s TJ Haws was a third-team pick.
It was Merrill’s second year on the USBWA all-district VIII team, which includes athletes from Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and Nevada. BYU’s Mark Pope was named the USBWA’s D-VIII Coach of the Year, while Utah’s Timmy Allen, BYU’s Yoeli Childs and Weber State’s Jack Harding also made the all-district team.