Utah State sophomore forward David Collette is leaving the team, according to a release from the school.
It is assumed Collette will seek a transfer to a different school, as first-year Utah State coach Tim Duryea did not mince words in his quote within the release about his player’s departure.
“I was shocked when he came into my office today and said he was going to quit,” Duryea said. “I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players. I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired, but we will move on and get ready for our opener on Friday.”
Collette was arguably the Aggies’ best player last season as a redshirt freshman, averaging 12.8 points, five rebounds and nearly two blocks per game. He ranked fourth in the conference in player efficiency rating as well at 26.6.
This is about as crushing a blow as a team can take before a season starts. The Aggies had legitimate hopes of contending in the Mountain West behind Boise State and San Diego State. They lose arguably the best post player in the league, and have no means to replace him before the season. Without Collette in the mix, look for junior Lew Evans — a transfer from Tulsa — and sophomore Elston Jones to try to replicate some of the production the Aggies will lose. Also, maybe returning All-MWC forward Jalen Moore takes over more often at the 5-spot in small lineups if Duryea doesn’t feel super comfortable with those options.
It’ll be interesting to see where Collette ends up, as he’s an over-age sophomore who went on a two-year LDS mission before attending Utah State. He’ll likely look for a place where he can contribute immediately, and his skill set certainly could necessitate a move to a larger program.