At long last, USU's fall basketball recruits

It took a while, but Stew Morrill’s fall recruiting class has finally been released by Utah State.

As expected, Bingham High’s Ben Clifford, Midland College (Texas) point guard Brockeith Pane and Los Alamitos (Calif.) combo guard James Walker put their signatures on paper after giving verbal committments a while back.

Clifford is a 6-foot-8, 215 pound post with a decent outside game. He received second-team all-state honors last year after averaging 13.4 points and 7.5 rebound for the Miners.

Pane is a 6-2, 195-pounder with a season of Division I experience at the University of Houston where he was a part-time starter as a true freshman. He got injured early in his sophomore season and subsequently left school, transferring to JC powerhouse Midland. He averaged 6.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game at Houston. Early in his freshman season he averaged 23 points, 6.5 boards and 1.5 steals in earning Conference USA player of the week honors.

His playing time, however, decreased throughout the season, which may have led to his decision to transfer early during his sophomore year last season.

“Brockeith is an explosive, athletic guard who can make plays for himself as well as his teammates,” Morrill said. “He will be coming to us from an exceptional junior college program that will prepare him for the WAC. We expect big things from Brockeith in his two years as an Aggie.”

Walker could be a fixture in the Aggie backcourt over the next 4-5 seasons.

After averaging 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a junior at Los Alamitos, Walker was named the Sunset League player of the year.

“James has an exciting future with his exceptional speed and quickness,” said Morrill. “As he adapts to being a Division I guard, we see him becoming a very good player. James has all the tools necessary to have success on and off the court at Utah State.”

Walker plays the shooting guard in high school but national scouting services project him as a point guard. He scored in double figures 22 times as a junior with a high of 27 points.

Clifford is the younger brother of former Southern Utah standout John Clifford and will likely be asked to beef up before suiting up for the Aggies.

“Ben will be an outstanding student-athlete at Utah State,” Morrill said. “He is a skilled and active player who, with added strength, will be another big-man from the state of Utah to have a great career at Utah State. We are very excited about his potential.”

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