Utah State head basketball coach Ryan Odom continues to have an eye for length on the basketball court as the Aggies have added three players over 6-foot-5 to the 2023-24 signing class.
As part of National Signing Day on Thursday, Utah State welcomed signees Garrison Phelps, Kalifa Sackho and Karson Templin to the program. Phelps and Templin are high school seniors hailing from Arizona and Texas, respectively, while Sackho joins the program as a junior college transfer from South Plains College in Texas (he is originally from France).
“I’m thrilled to welcome Karson, Garrison and Kalifa to the Utah State basketball family,” Odom said in a statement. “All three are tremendous young men who fit in perfectly with our program and culture.
“They each hit it off instantly with our players and staff, and I know we are all excited that they made the decision to be Aggies. Each of the three are high-level athletes who love the game of basketball and I’m confident will be crowd favorites in the Spectrum.”
The signings indicate an uptick in the recruiting profile for the Odom’s Aggies, who have just one true freshman on this season’s roster after Cache Valley native Mason Falslev joined the program following his de-commitment from the University of Utah.
Phelps is a 6-foot-6 guard from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, Ariz. He has averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his high school career and received Defensive Player of the Year honors last season while winning a state championship.
“Garrison is an explosive wing with a lot of potential,” Odom said. “He will fit in well with our style offensively and will be able to stretch the defense. He is also a tough defender. As the son of a coach, he grew up around basketball and has a great feel for the game.”
Sackho averaged 6.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in his freshman season at South Plains. The 6-foot-11 big started 11 games last season and will be a starter for the Texan his year. He will have two years of eligibility left when he joins the Aggies.
In an article for 247Sports last August, South Plains coach Hayden Stowers said he received interest from “25-30 different schools” regarding Sackho in the offseason. Stowers also said that his offensive skill is still developing but “he moves like a guard.”
“Kalifa is a high-level athlete who is a terrific shot blocker and rim protector,” Odom said. “He runs the floor well and can finish inside. He will be an elite defensive presence for us.”
Templin is a 6-foot-8 senior out of Lovejoy High School in Lucas, Tex. He averaged a double-double as a junior with 15 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, along with a shocking 3.6 blocks per game. He was a district MVP and helped his team to the 5A Region II quarterfinals in 2021-22.
“Karson is an explosive forward with a high motor,” Odom said. “He is a tremendous rebounder with a nose for the ball and is a skilled and physical offensive player. He will stretch the floor for us. Karson fits our program perfectly on and off the court.”
The Aggies prevailed in their home opener against Utah Valley, 75-58, last Monday. They will be back on their home floor to take on Bradley on Friday night.