At first glance Jared Quayle’s 27-point, 11-rebound effort against Utah jumps out from the final box score — and deservedly so.
But check out what Nate Bendall did.
The 6-foot-8 junior from Skyline High was asked to go up against Utah’s tall timber and not only did he hold his own, he dominated the Ute big men.
David Foster is 7-foot-3 and scored two points and grabbed four rebounds. He also had four fouls. Jason Washburn is 7-foot tall and scored eight points, grabbing two rebounds. Kim Tillie, just 6-foot-11, also had eight points and snagged five rebounds.
Bendall, just 6-8 in case you forgot, had 12 points and 10 rebounds while committing only two fouls.
Let’s add it up. Foster, Washburn and Tillie combined for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Bendall had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Bring Tia Wesley — a whopping 6-foot-7 — into the mix and USU’s interior tandem combined for 26 points and 18 rebounds.
Throw in Matt Read, 6-foot-9 and one rebound, and the Utes have a problem. The four tallest Utes combined for 77 minutes and had 12 rebounds. USU’s two post players combined for 66 minutes and 18 boards.
Even more glaring is the fact a 6-foot-1 point guard out-rebounded Utah’s entire trio of 7-footers.
The reason for that difference can be summed up in one word — coaching.
I’m not talking about Jim Boylen and Stew Morrill — although those two have a hand in their current player’s performances.
But my theory is that 7-foot high schoolers are never taught how to rebound. They just reach their hads up and grab rebounds against 6-foot-6 competition without learning how to block out and get good position in the paint. Players that are 6-7, 6-8 or 6-6 have to work to get rebounds in high school and that skill carries over nicely to the college level.
You can’t teach height, coaches always say. But you can teach rebounding and too often, in my opinion, high school players that have five or six inch advantages on their opponents aren’t taught how to rebound.
Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center, that was certainly evident.