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Bendall is learning a great deal from Harris

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LOGAN — Freshman Nate Bendall has to look no further than teammate Nate Harris to see what type of player he wants to become.

Bendall, 6-foot-8, 225-pounds, is taking a good look at the senior center and trying to learn as much as he can from the reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week.

"I have learned a great deal just watching him and seeing him be patient," said Bendall, who has played in seven games (7.7 minutes per game) and is averaging 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.

"He's just a solid, all-around player, looking to pass out and things like that, not always trying to draw the foul. I have learned a great deal from him in just the preseason."

Harris takes the time to tutor the youngster during practice and games.

"Nate, after I commit a stupid foul, come over and just kind of teaches me," he said. "He just teaches me and it is great to have him as a leader. It makes it a lot easier for everyone."

Bendall was hampered by a reoccurring ankle injury that bothered him in high school, which limited his practice time early in the season, but he is slowly working back into form.

"I'm trying to get better in practice everyday and get back in shape and work on that a little bit," he said. "It gets sore a little bit after practices and games, but I have to put a little bit of ice on it but it's not too bad."

In the recently concluded Gossner Foods Classic, Bendall, who prepped at Skyline High School, recorded a season-high six rebounds in the 76-44 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in a season-high 15 minutes. He also scored two points.

"It's nice to get a freshman like Nate Bendall out there and let him make some mistakes, let him foul too much and let him get some buckets," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said following Utah State's victory over UALR. "He did all of the above, but that will only help him."

One night later in the GFC championship game against Binghamton, Bendall tallied five points, three rebounds, and a block in 10 minutes in the 81-47 victory.

"Nate is a good, young player. He's an exciting freshman to watch," Morrill said. "When you have guys near 40 it's nice to have an 18-year-old guy out there. Sometimes you forget that he's only 18. He is making progress."

MORE ON HARRIS: For his play in the GFC Classic in which he combined for 40 points, nine rebounds, and three assists to earn MVP honors, Harris was named the WAC Player of the Week for the first time this season.

"That's a good deal. Those things are always nice for your team and for the kids," Morrill said. "You don't get a player of the week without victories. It's an individual award, but it's a team award as well."

It's the second time this season an Aggie player has garnered the award. Jaycee Carroll earned the honor in mid-December.

AGS NATIONALLY: Utah State is ranked in the top 10 nationally in two categories as a team and one other individually.

The Aggies are tied with Florida for second in the nation in field-goal percentage (52.8 percent), while they are ranked eighth in three-point field-goal percentage (42.3 percent).

Carroll is ranked seventh in three-point field-goal percentage (50 percent).

MAGIC NUMBER: The Aggies (8-3) are 6-0 this year when scoring 70 points or more. In addition, the Aggies have won their last 16 games when hitting the magic number.

The last time the Aggies lost when scoring more than 70 points came in the first round of the 2004 National Invitation Tournament when they lost 85-74 to Hawaii.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com