Medlin redshirt a gamble

LOGAN – One year ago, Preston Medlin was a key contributor as a freshman during the non-conference part of Utah State’s schedule.

Last week, Medlin didn’t suit up in the Aggies’ exhibition game against Laval because the Utah State coach wants to redshirt the sophomore guard.

It is interesting with exhibition games, if you are a first-year player, either high school or junior college, you can play in an exhibition game and still redshirt, Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill said. If you are a second-year player, like Preston, and you play in an exhibition game, then the option of a redshirt is off.

By electing to redshirt Medlin, Morrill acknowledges he is taking a calculated risk.

Without Medlin, the Aggies only run three-deep at the wing positions, with Pooh Williams and Tyler Newbold holding down the starting positions and Brian Green coming off the bench. If any of them were to get into foul trouble or suffer a minor injury during a game, the Aggies would have to look to freshman Leon Cooper Jr. to hold down the fort.

“If we can stay healthy and Leon (Cooper) can come along at the two-guard position, then we’d like to redshirt Preston with those three experienced wings,” Morrill said. “We are kinda crossing our fingers and rolling the dice that we stay healthy.”

If Williams, Newbold or Green gets hurt, then Morrill said he would have to pull Medlin out of his redshirt season midyear.

Conversely, if Medlin does not redshirt, then Morrill risks wasting a year of Medlin’s eligibility by playing him in garbage time or playing him in emergency situations. Last season, while backing up the same three players, Medlin played just 48 minutes in six regular-season conference games.

With six seniors departing after this season, including all three wings, it is important to the future of the program to not waste the eligibility of the young players who will be taking their place.

“It’s one of those situations that we don’t have as many wings as we would like,” Morrill said. “It would be nice to have him as a sophomore next year with all these seniors leaving.”

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