Stephen DuCharme, where art thou?

Have you ben asking yourself the same question I have been asking for the last three games: What’s going on with Stephen DuCharme?
Since scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a 71-61 victory over Louisiana Tech Jan. 24, the 6-foot-8 first-man-of-the-bench off has been virtually nowhere to be found.
For at least one game it was his own fault he wasn’t around. He and three other players – Desmond Stephens, Pooh Williams and redshirt Jaxon Myaer – were suspended for violating team rules following the victory over the Bulldogs and were sent home, missing Utah State’s 100-70 blow-out loss to New Mexico State on Jan. 26.
In the three games since being back, he’s scored a grand total of 11 points – that’s right – 11 points (that’s nearly what he was averaging before his suspension), and grabbed 13 rebounds. He also had an uncharacteristic six turnovers.
Those aren’t the kind of numbers the Aggies need from DuCharme to continue their run at the Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
Following the win over La. Tech DuCharme was saying all the right things concerning being Utah State’s sixth man. He started the first 10 games before giving way to freshman Tai Wesley. Since then, the Aggies are 13-1. A lot of it has to do with Wesley and fellow freshman Tyler Newbold, who both broke into the starting line up at the same time, but DuCharme had a lot to do with it as well, providing size, points, rebounds, and energy off the bench.
“I really don’t care. I just like playing basketball,” he said after the La. Tech victory. “I’m going to play good whether I’m coming off the bench or starting. I love the game, and I’m going to go out there and work hard.”
Lately, those crucial attributes have been dormant.
Perhaps, the suspension has effected him a little more than everyone is leading on. Prior to it he was averaging over 20 minutes a game, but since he’s played over 20 minutes just one time.
His season field-goal percentage is still high at 58.2 percent, but he is just 4 for 12 in the last three games.
“I can’t look inside a guy’s head and determine how he’s effected by (it). I know he’s trying to be aggressive almost to a fault,” Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. “He’s practiced well, so I think Steve will get back to playing well. Whether it was not playing in a game or trying to make up for the suspension situation, you never know those things. I know he’s been trying really hard to play good basketball and that’s all you can really ask.”
For the season he is averaging 9.6 points (fourth on the team) and is pulling down 5.6 rebounds.
Perhaps it’s just a temporary road bump for DuCharme, but it’s one he needs to get over quickly with a bevy of road games looking the Aggies in the face over the next eight days.
Speaking of nowhere to be found, DeUndrae Spraggins has been glued to the Utah State bench as well. Spraggins hasn’t played in the last three games, and in the three games before that, he hadn’t played more than 11 minutes a game.
Williams, despite his suspension, has been a dramatic improvement in his playing time.
If I had to make a guess, I would say Williams is practicing better than Spraggins. Morrill has always said he will reward players who are working hard in practice and showing improvement, and that just may be the case here.

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