2021-22 players not returning: Marco Anthony (Transferred to the university of utah); Karson Stastny (Transferred to Delta State)
Returning players: Max Shulga
New faces in 2021-22:
Landon Brenchley 6’4″ 190 (NR) – Ridgeline HS, UT – (Preferred Walk-on; Returning Missionary)
2018-19 (Sr.) Stats: PPG: 24.0 FG%: 74.0 3PT%:— FT%: 67.0 REB: 5.5 AST: 2.5
2017-18 (Jr.) Stats: PPG: 19.0 FG%: 51.0 3PT%: 24.0 FT%: 68.0 REB: 4.9 AST: 3.6
2016-17 (So.) Stats: PPG: 8.1 FG%: 44.0 3PT%: 17.0 FT%: 64.0 REB: 2.4 AST: 3.1
Offers from: Knox College, Westminster University
RJ Eytle-Rock 6’3″ 225 (NR) – University of Maryland-Baltimore County – (3 years to play 2)
2021-21 (Jr.) Stats: PPG: 14.3 FG%: 47.4 3PT%: 40.0 FT%: 79.2 REB: 4.9 AST: 2.5 STL: 0.5
2019-20 (So.) Stats: PPG: 11.2 FG%: 39.5 3PT%: 36.3 FT%: 76.8 REB: 4.4 AST: 3.3 STL: 0.9
2018-19 (Fr.) Stats: PPG: 5.1 FG%: 40.4 3PT%: 31.8 FT%: 79.1 REB: 2.7 AST: 1.8 STL: 0.8
Conner Gillis 6’2″ 150 (NR) – East Carolina University – (Preferred Walk-on; 4 years to play 3)
2020-21 (Fr.) Stats: Enrolled at East Carolina University
With Utah State’s evolving philosophy of “positionless basketball”, you will find that several of the players listed not only here at point guard but also at shooting guard will be interchangeable. For the sake of a preseason preview I have placed each player in the position I believe they will see the bulk of their minutes at during the 2020-21 season but this by no means is an indicator of pegging any of the players to one specific position.
In regards to the NCAA mandated eligibility freeze from the 2020 season, what I’ve learned is that the player’s eligibility will continue to accrue. Once the player reaches his 4th or 5th season, depending on if the player uses a redshirt season, the player will have the option to return to school for a 5th or 6th season and continue playing one more season. The player will then move from being listed as a senior (Sr.) to a graduate senior (Gr-Sr.)
I believe that transfer senior RJ Eytle-Rock will lay claim to the top spot here. Eytle-Rock joins the Aggies after spending the first three seasons of his career at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. He will have 3 years to complete his final 2 seasons of eligibility. As a junior at Maryland-Baltimore County in 2021-20, Eytle-Rock started in all 20 games and averaged 14.3 points per game, while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, 40.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 79.2 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 4.9 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per contest, and 0.5 steals. As a sophomore in 2019-20, he appeared in 22 games during the year, starting in 20, and averaged 11.2 points per game, while shooting 39.5 percent from the floor, 36.3 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 78.6 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 4.4 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per contest, and 0.9 steals. As a true freshman in 2018-19, he appeared in 31 games during the year, starting in 24, and averaged 5.1 points per game, while shooting 40.4 percent from the floor, 31.8 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 79.1 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.7 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per contest, and 0.8 steals. Eytle-Rock has a good handle and could see a little time at the point guard spot as well. He has a tremendous feel for running the pick-and-roll and his decision-making ability is really what sets him apart here. He shoots the ball with upper-level efficiency which makes him a threat every time he has the ball. He drives to the hoop with power and he uses his strength to his advantage as he finishes at the basket well. He also uses that strength on the defensive end of the floor, as he enjoys being a “stopper”. He might be the most complete player on the floor for the Aggies this season.
I expect sophomore Max Shulga to see plenty of time at this spot this season. As a true freshman in 2020-21, Shulga appeared in 23 games during the year, and averaged 1.6 points per game, while shooting 34.2 percent from the floor, 30.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 83.3 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 1.8 rebounds per game. He also added 8 assists and 9 steals on the season. On the high school level during the 2019-20 season at Basketball School of Excellence (Spain), Shulga scored 16.0 points per game, while also showing a knack for drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line an average of 3.8 times per game. He also competed with the Under-18 Ukrainian National Team during the summer of 2019 averaging 13.3 points per game, while shooting 61.9 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent from behind the 3-point line. He averaged 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per contest. Shulga has good size for a player his age. His biggest asset is his shot-making ability. He is capable of knocking down jumpers both with his feet set and off the dribble, even when out of rhythm or off movement. He is a complete offensive player who is comfortable creating offense for himself. He has developed good footwork. He can change speeds easily, and he can finish around the rim with either hand. He’s constantly looking over the floor, making pinpoint outlet passes, and is willing to drive and dish to an open teammate. He plays with great intelligence.
Competing to see some action is true freshman Landon Brenchley. Brenchley joined the Aggies in June after returning from serving an LDS Church mission. As a senior in 2018-19 at local Ridgeline High School (UT), Brenchley averaged 24.0 points per game, while shooting a stellar 74.0 percent from the floor and 67.0 percent at the free-throw line. There were no stats available for his shooting percentage from behind the 3-point line. He averaged 5.5 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per contest. As a junior in 2017-18, he averaged 19.0 points per game, while shooting 51.0 percent from the floor, 24.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 68.0 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 4.9 rebounds per game and 3.6 assists per game. As a sophomore in 2016-17, he averaged 8.1 points per game, while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor, 17.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 64.0 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.4 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per contest. Brenchley brings size and versatility to the table and has a high basketball IQ. He can stretch the defense and has a great feel for the game. He is a natural scorer and finds different ways to fill up the stat sheet. He will give you everything he has. Landon is also very savvy in a variety of ways on the basketball floor. He is a natural leader and is coachable. He sees the floor very well and is a good passer. He’s a good rebounder and brings a lot of intangibles that make him a great addition to the Aggie program.
Adding depth to the position is sophomore transfer, Conner Gillis. Conner spent the 2020-21 season enrolled at the University of East Carolina but did not play basketball. He joins the Aggies with 4 years to play his remaining 3 years of eligibility. As a senior at Gaston Christian High School (NC) in 2019-20, Gillis averaged 12.0 points per game, while shooting 40.0 percent from the floor, 34.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 81.0 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.0 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per contest. As a junior in 2018-19, he averaged 13.6 points per game, while shooting 43.0 percent from the floor, 38.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 75.0 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.1 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per contest. Gillis is a good shooter that can score at all three levels of the game. He is a capable ball-handler and that allows him to get to the basket, where he can finish with an array of different shot angles and with either hand. He will provide solid depth for the Aggie scout team.
PROJECTED 2021-22 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
5 RJ Eytle-Rock (6-4, 225, Sr., TR, NR)
11 Max Shulga (6-4, 197, So., 1L, NR)
0 Landon Brenchley (6-4, 215, Fr., HS, NR)
13 Conner Gillis (6-2, 150, So., TR, NR)
Coming Up On Wednesday: Small Forward/Wing