Utah State men’s basketball coach Craig Smith tests positive for COVID-19

Utah State head coach Craig Smith yells toward the court against Saint Mary's during the second half of a NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Utah State men’s basketball team will have to play without its head coach when it faces BYU on Saturday.

Aggies coach Craig Smith tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday. Smith is asymptomatic, per the team.

“It will be difficult watching from a distance, but I know our team is in great hands with our coaching staff. Our program has always been led by our student-athletes,” Smith said in a statement. “This doesn’t change a thing. I’m looking forward to returning to the sidelines when our protocols deem it safe for everyone involved. I am pumped for our home opener on Saturday night.”

Utah State opens its home schedule Saturday against the Cougars, who are 4-1 after Wednesday’s victory over St. John’s in the Roman Legends Classic. The game will be played at The Spectrum in Logan in front of a maximum of 1,628 fans.

“I think Craig is an absolutely terrific coach and he’s done an unbelievable job at Utah State,” Cougars coach Mark Pope said after the BYU game. “So, if he’s not available to be on the sideline, certainly it’s going to make things more difficult for them. But he’s also a coach that I think teaches his guys how to play just as much as he maneuvers the game from the bench. If he’s not available to play, and we still get to play the game, I’m sure they’ll be ready to go.”

Utah State’s announcement did not mention if contact tracing would occur or if any players or other coaches will have to quarantine.

The Aggies are 1-2 after playing in the Bad Boy Mower Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

— Tribune writer Norma Gonzalez contributed to this story.

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