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Freshman guard figures into short-handed Aggies’ plan for moving forward

 

By Megan McNulty

What’s the key to keep moving on after the loss of an injured senior forward? Developing a freshman guard.

That’s what Utah State University men’s basketball coach Tim Duryea said his team would do in the wake of senior guard Grayson Moore’s foot injury on Jan. 16 against Colorado State.

Getting John Middleton more minutes, Duryea said, will provide starting guard Chris Smith with more rest. Smith’s taken on a greater offensive role in the past few games, but he seemed to play tired against UNLV on Tuesday.

Middleton, a New Jersey native, graduated from Holy Spirits High School where he earned a four-year varsity letter. The 6-foot-4-inch guard, who scored two points in his debut against the Rebels, seemed fit to fill the void.

With the lack of another substitute and attempting the sixth different starting lineup of the season, Duryea said he got Middleton’s “feet wet” by pulling him off of the bench. He played a total of five minutes.

Smith still led the Aggies in scoring against the Rebels with 16 points. He said he felt the pressure and fatigue without Moore.

Before the loss of Moore to a foot injury, the Aggies had a set rotation. They brought in more size on the wing with Moore defensively, which allowed for offensive players Shane Rector and Julion Pearre to slide in.

“We were developing a nice little niche there and felt like our rotation was pretty set,” Duryea said. “We’re not going to have that the rest of the way so we have got to do a good job of developing John.”

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-mdl