1069 the Fan

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OrangeCountyAggie
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1069 the Fan

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » November 12th, 2020, 11:18 pm

I live out of state and wanted to go back and listen to some of the old Full Court Press episodes. I can't seem to pull up 1069's website or KVNU's am I missing something? Are they still around?

Also, does anyone have a copy of the Sam Merrill article that dropped today on the Athletic? Thanks



Intermeddler
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Re: 1069 the Fan

Post by Intermeddler » November 13th, 2020, 3:28 am

Sam Merrill hit one of the biggest shots of the college basketball season eight months ago. In a regular world, that’s not all that much time. In a COVID-19 world, it may as well have felt like a decade.

He sank the game-winner against heavily favored San Diego State — from 26 feet from the basket, with a hand in his face — in a packed arena. His next shot — at least his next shot that counts — will likely come in an empty building. He propelled Utah State to an NCAA Tournament that he never got to play in, a last hurrah for him in college basketball that he never got to experience. But, the ultimate payoff for him may be just around the corner.

Merrill, a 6-foot-5 do-everything guard, is expected to be selected somewhere in the second round of next Wednesday’s NBA Draft. It comes eight months after a shot that will forever etch him into Aggies history. These last eight months haven’t been easy. He’s currently nursing an ankle that he sprained in a workout. Not knowing when a draft he has to be a part of, he’s had to be flexible on a lot. But, Merrill could be at the end of a long and winding road.

And at the beginning of a new career.

“It’s been difficult and frustrating with the pushbacks,” Merrill told The Athletic. “But, it’s been worth it. Just the future being in question is difficult. But, all I’ve had time to do is work on my game and work to improve on my weaknesses as a player.”

If Merrill gets drafted, and there is at least a passing chance the Utah Jazz make a play for him, he accomplishes multiple milestones. He’d become the first USU player to be selected since Greg Grant was taken in the sixth round of the 1986 draft by the Detroit Pistons. He’d put himself in a position to be the first Utah State player to step foot on an NBA floor since Desmond Penigar did for the Orlando Magic in 2004. Merrill leaves Utah State as one of the best players in its history. He enters his professional career as one of the best overall shooters available in the draft.

So, how did Sam Merrill get here?

Those who have rocked with him for the better part of a decade remember him at Bountiful High, as he led the Braves to a Class 4A state title. But, mostly, it comes from going against the adage that one can’t improve substantially from four years at the collegiate level. He’s been one of the best players in the Mountain West Conference for three consecutive seasons. He led Utah State to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. He took the shooting as a baseline skill and added something new to his game each year.

“I didn’t think when I was younger that I would get to this level,” Merrill said. “But I started to think after my sophomore season at Utah State that maybe the NBA was possible. Or at least playing in Europe. It would definitely mean a lot if I were to get drafted, and I’m fairly confident that I will get drafted. Utah State has been such a good program, but we haven’t put guys in the league. It’s important to represent Utah State.”

What do NBA scouts like about Merrill?

Offensively, he’s one of the more well-rounded players in the draft. He’s a great shooter heading to a league where shooting is at a premium. He can do it in a myriad of different ways: off the dribble, on the move and off the catch. But he’s also a terrific pick-and-roll presence, another skill that is at a premium at the NBA level. He’s patient off the dribble. He makes terrific reads, and he’s a playmaker for others as well as a playmaker for himself.

Teams are confident Merrill can play the point at the NBA level — at least offensively, which gives him good size for the position.

The questions that surround Merrill at the NBA level are two-fold. Can he hold up defensively with a lack of foot speed? Is he athletic enough all-around to finish at the rim?

If he can hold up in those areas, Merrill could put himself in a position to have a long career, because his ability to shoot the ball is that good. At the same time, those are major questions, and the answers to those questions will hold the key as to what kind of NBA career Merrill will have.

“It’s definitely something that teams have asked,” Merrill said. “Whether or not I’m going to be able to guard point guards. A lot of people have asked about that. I went to Chris Paul’s camp before my senior season and I held my own defensively. I know that it’s going to be something that I have to prove.”

To help himself, Merrill has worked extensively on his body in the last eight months. He’s turned away fast foods. He’s limited his carb intake. He’s done a lot of extra conditioning. He eats plenty of protein and plenty of salads. He didn’t eat nearly as well at Utah State. He’s worked to change that in the pre-draft process.

As a result, Merrill is now at nine percent body fat, when he was at 15 percent body fat at USU. At the beginning of the pre-draft process, teams told Merrill they wanted to see one thing: They wanted him to get into the best shape of his life. It’s a directive that he has taken seriously.

“I always felt fine in college,” Merrill said. “I played every game and I played a ton of minutes. As a shooter, teams really want you to be in great shape because you do a lot of moving without the basketball. So I really wanted to work out a lot and have better nutrition. I think it’s helped a lot.”

Merrill has fans around the league. He’s been a riser on The Athletic’s own Sam Vecenie’s mock draft and big board. League Sources tell The Athletic that the Jazz hold interest, although they currently do not have a second-round pick. His entry into the league, and his viability, will have some to do with fit. But, Merrill has put himself in a position to forge an NBA career. That’s an important distinction.

“With everything that’s gone on, I think teams want guys who have the experience of adjusting on the fly,” Merrill said. “I’ve tried to let teams know that I’m one of those guys that is capable of doing that.”

(Photo: Orlando Ramirez / USA Today Spo
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Re: 1069 the Fan

Post by RigAggie » November 13th, 2020, 2:27 pm

Great article! I thank you and my wallet thanks you for sharing that!
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Re: 1069 the Fan

Post by bigblue » November 13th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Sam's got the IQ and drive to continue to improve on a professional level. It's awesome to see him to reach this level.

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Re: 1069 the Fan

Post by Jjoey52 » November 13th, 2020, 7:38 pm

He will certainly have a much better NBA career than the BYU gunner Jimmer Fredette as he has a better all round game and knows the value of defense.


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