After losing six players to the transfer portal this offseason, including key starters in Steven Ashworth, Max Shulga and Sean Bairstow, Utah State and new head coach Danny Sprinkle have rebounded nicely of late.
In the last two days, the Aggies have received commitments from three players — Max Agbonkpolo, Darius Brown II and Jackson Grant — each of whom could be an immediate contributor for Utah State next season.
Grant, a transfer from Washington, and Agbonkpolo, a transfer from Wyoming (before that USC), are former top 100 recruits, while Brown is the reigning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year.
Who is Jackson Grant?
- Rated the 78th-best prospect in the country coming out of Olympia High School (Washington) in 2021, Grant is a former McDonald’s All-American who originally chose the Huskies over offers from Wisconsin, Cal, Oklahoma and Stanford.
- The Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year (Washington) in 2020-21, Grant appeared in 39 games for Washington over the last two seasons, but averaged just over six minutes played per game.
- As a senior at Olympia High School, Grant averaged 22.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, converting 65.6% of his field goal attempts, and was the second-highest rated prospect in Washington.
- Listed at 6-foot-10, Grant is a rising junior with multiple years of eligibility remaining.
Who is Max Agbonkpolo?
- Rated the 59th-best prospect in the country coming out of Santa Margarita Catholic (California) in 2019, Agbonkpolo initially signed with USC — choosing the Trojans over the likes of Arizona, Gonzaga, Michigan, Virginia and others — before transferring to Wyoming prior to last season.
- Agbonkpolo’s tenure at Wyoming didn’t last long, as he was dismissed from the program — along with fellow transfers Ethan Anderson (USC) and Jake Kyman (UCLA) in February.
- At the time, Wyoming head coach Jeff Linder said in a statement to The Star Tribune: “We thank Max, Ethan and Jake for their contributions to the program. We wish them well in their futures, both on and off the court. ... I know what right looks like and I know what wrong looks like. As we move forward, we just want to make sure we have the guys who want to be everyday dudes and who want to show up and work and put the time in and do the little things.
- Agbonkpolo averaged 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16 games played with the Cowboys (he started six games) and holds career averages of 5.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and a 40.0% shooting percentage in 106 collegiate games played.
Who is Darius Brown II?
- Five years into his collegiate playing career, Brown will be on his third school when he suits up for the Aggies. The Pasadena, California, native spent the first four years of his career at California State University, Northridge, where he was an All-Big West Second Team selection in 2020-21.
- Brown transferred to Montana State prior to last season (with two years of eligibility remaining) and thrived under Sprinkle, averaging 9.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.5% from the field and 39.7% from behind the arc.
- Listed at 6-foot-2, Brown was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year last season (he was also third-team All-Big Sky) and will play his final collegiate season with the Aggies.
On Wednesday, the Aggies announced the signing of former Idaho Vandals forward Nigel Burris.
𝐒𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐝, 𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐝, 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝!— USU Men's Hoops (@USUBasketball) April 26, 2023
Welcome to the Aggie Family @nigelburris8 🤘#AggiesAllTheWay pic.twitter.com/fupsoxeYjn
- Burris was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2022-23, after playing in all 32 games (starting 25) as a true freshman.
- He averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game — the highest of any freshman in the conference.
- A 6-foot-7 forward out of Archbishop Mitty (San Francisco), Burris was a three-star prospect in the 2022 class and 29th-highest rated prospect in California.
Who has transferred from Utah State?
The Aggies have lost their fair share of players (and coaches) this offseason, after making it to the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd time in program history and the third time in the last five years.
Former head coach Ryan Odom is now leading the VCU program in Richmond, Virginia. Shulga and Bairstow followed Odom to VCU, while Ashworth is headed to Creighton, and Cade Potter to High Points.
Both Rylan Jones and Szymon Zapala have yet to land with a new program and Zapala has been involved with the USU program since the hire of Sprinkle.