2021-22 players not returning: Brandon Horvath (Graduation; Signed with Saint-Quentin; France)
Returning players: Trevin Dorius, Szymon Zapala
New faces in 2022-23:
Dan Akin 6’9″ 225 (NR) – California Baptist University – (1 year to play 1)
2021-22 (Sr.) Stats: PPG: 10.8 FG%: 53.3 3PT%: 0.0 FT%: 69.3 REB: 8.1 AST: 1.5 BLK: 1.0
2020-21 (Jr.) Stats: PPG: 7.9 FG%: 57.9 3PT%:— FT%: 52.1 REB: 6.4 AST: 0.7 BLK: 0.8
2019-20 (RsSo.) Stats: PPG: 5.6 FG%: 55.8 3PT%:— FT%: 38.6 REB: 5.6 AST: 0.3 BLK: 0.5
2018-19 (So.) Stats: PPG: 7.4 FG%: 54.1 3PT%:— FT%: 42.9 REB: 8.0 AST: 0.9 BLK: 0.7
2018-19 (Fr.) Stats: PPG: 3.5 FG%: 64.9 3PT%:— FT%: 40.5 REB: 3.4 AST: 0.2 BLK: 0.2
Offers from: Unknown
Isaac Johnson 7’0″ 235 (247 4*) – University of Oregon – (4 years to play 3)
2021-22 (Fr.) Stats: PPG: 2.4 FG%: 60.9 3PT%: 0.0 FT%: 55.6 REB: 1.1 AST: 0.2 STL: 0.0
Offers from: byu, utah, Weber St
Original Offers from: byu, Gonzaga, Kansas St, Oregon, Southern Utah, Stanford, USC, utah, Wake Forest
With Utah State’s evolving philosophy of “positionless basketball”, you will find that while I have Isaac Johnson at the “center” position, his game resembles that of a “stretch 4 or 5”. You will not find him playing as a “true” center. However, I do think that Johnson will see minutes at the power forward/stretch 4 spot. I also believe that Dan Akin will see plenty of minutes at center and power forward. 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 2022-23 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 versatile graduate senior Dan Akin will start at this spot for the Aggies. Akin joins the Aggies this season after spending last season at California-Baptist University. He has one season of eligibility remaining. Akin spent the first four seasons of his collegiate career at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. As a senior during the 2021-22 season at Cal-Baptist, he played in 34 games with 33 starts. He averaged 10.5 points per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor, and 69.3 percent at the free-throw line, he missed the only three-point shot he took that season. He averaged 8.1 boards per contest, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks. He also recorded 25 steals during the year. As a junior during the 2020-21 covid-shortened season at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, he played in 16 games with 5 starts. He averaged 7.9 points per game while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor, and 52.1 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 6.4 boards per contest. He also recorded 12 blocks, 11 assists, and 6 steals during the year. As a redshirt sophomore during the 2019-20 season, he played in 32 games with 30 starts. He averaged 5.6 points per game while shooting 55.8 percent from the floor, and 38.6 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 5.0 boards per contest. He also recorded 16 blocks, 13 assists, and 14 steals during the year. As a sophomore during the 2018-19 season, he played in 7 games with 6 starts. He averaged 7.4 points per game while shooting 54.1 percent from the floor, and 42.9 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 8.0 boards per contest. He also recorded 6 assists, and 5 steals during the year. As a true freshman during the 2017-18 season, he played in 36 games with 20 starts. He averaged 3.5 points per game while shooting 64.9 percent from the floor, and 40.5 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 3.4 boards per contest. He also recorded 8 blocks, 12 assists, and 12 steals during the year. Akin is an aggressive rebounder that prides himself in his blue-collar approach to basketball. He is a physically strong player that will surprise people with his athleticism and agility. His strength and athleticism allow him to be a very willing defender and really agitate opposing players. He is a threat to record a double-double on any given night. He is a true back-to-the-basket offensive player and tries to do much of his damage from 10 feet and in. However, he can handle the ball quite well for a player of his size and has the ability to put the ball on the floor in order to create scoring opportunities for himself. Akin is going to be the defensive force near the basket that the Aggies sorely missed last season.
I believe that sophomore transfer Isaac Johnson will absolutely see minutes at this position. Johnson joins the Aggies after beginning his career at the University of Oregon. He will have 4 years to complete his final 3 years of eligibility. As a true freshman at Oregon in 2021-22, he appeared in 14 games. He averaged 2.4 points per game while shooting 60.9 percent from the floor, he did not make any shots from behind the 3-point line and he shot 55.6 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 1.1 boards per contest and also contributed 3 assists during the year. Coming out of American Fork High School, Johnson was ranked No. 41 in the country by 247Sports. He was the number 1 recruit in the State of Utah and was the number 10 Center in the nation. Johnson is oozing with upside and really not even yet scratching the surface of what he could be down the road. He has good size, length, and a soft touch that already extends beyond the three-point line. He has the quick release to get his shot off under pressure. He is an excellent perimeter shooter for his size, runs the floor well, and has shown the ability to be a decent rim protector as well. The way the Aggies play position-less basketball, he seems like an ideal fit for the modern game. His ability to stretch the floor at the center position will be welcomed right away. With his size and shooting ability, there will definitely be a big spot in the rotation for him.
Competing for playing time behind Johnson is senior Trevin Dorius. As a junior in 2021-22, he appeared in 30 games with 1 start. He averaged 2.7 points per game while shooting 59.6 percent from the floor, he did not take any shots from behind the 3-point line and he shot 58.8 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.6 rebounds per contest and also totaled 11 blocks, 4 assists, and 8 steals during the year. As a sophomore in 2020-21, he appeared in 25 games. He averaged 2.0 points per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor, he did not take any shots from behind the 3-point line, and 41.2 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.7 boards per contest and also totaled 12 blocks, 7 assists, and 14 steals during the year. Dorius returned from serving an LDS Church mission in time to participate in the 2019-20 season. As a redshirt freshman, he appeared in 25 games, including three starts. He averaged 2.7 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor, 100.0 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 38.7 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 2.6 boards per contest and also totaled 9 blocks, 5 assists, and 4 steals during the year. He was also a member of the 2016-17 Utah State team as a true freshman and spent his first season at USU as a redshirt. Dorius is one of the more improved players on the Utah State team in the past couple of years. He has worked hard and developed a good touch around the basket but is aggressive enough to try and dunk everything around the rim. He also rebounds the ball at a high level and provides quality minutes during his time on the floor. He has also become a very good defender in both the screen and roll and in the post as an individual and help defender.
Working hard to make some noise this season is junior Szymon Zapala. As a sophomore in 2021-22, he appeared in 21 games. He averaged 1.5 points per game while shooting 65.0 percent from the floor, he did not take any shots from behind the 3-point line and he shot 46.2 percent at the free-throw line. He averaged 1.8 rebounds per contest and also totaled 7 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal during the year. As a true freshman in 2020-21, he appeared in 13 games. He scored 14 points during the season while shooting 33.3 percent from the floor, he did not attempt any shots from behind the 3-point line and shot 50.0 percent at the free-throw line. He also totaled 16 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal during the year. On the high school level during the 2019-20 season at SMS PZkosz Wladyslawowo located in Poland, Zapala averaged 17.9 points per game, while shooting 58.6 percent from the floor and shot 47.1 percent from behind the 3-point line. He averaged 13.5 boards per contest, 2.1 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game. He also competed with the Under-18 Polish national team in 2019-20 and during international competition, he averaged 7.5 points per game, while shooting 61.0 percent from the floor. He averaged 5.1 boards per contest with 1.0 blocks per game. He also played for club team Trefl Sopot in the Under-20 Polish Cup, helping his team to the championship game and earning tournament MVP honors. Zapala is a big-bodied “5” man. He runs the floor very well for a post player of his size. He plays extremely hard on both ends of the floor and has a very good basketball IQ which allows him to pick things up quickly. He is also a very capable scorer in the post and can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways.
PROJECTED 2022-23 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
30 Dan Akin (6-9, 225, Gr-Sr., TR, NR)
20 Isaac Johnson (7-0, 235, So, TR, 4*) OR
32 Trevin Dorius (7-1, 240, Sr., 3L, NR)
12 Szymon Zapala (6-11, 240, Jr., 2L, 4*)