LOGAN -- As the Utah State Aggies prepared to host their first-ever Mountain West Conference home basketball game, USU faithful got a dose of news that should encourage them: Help is on the way.
Utah State coach Stew Morrill announced Friday that senior center Jarred Shaw has been reinstated to the team and is eligible for play immediately after missing five games for a violation of team rules.
Shaw, a 6-foot-10 senior from Dallas, Texas, leads the Aggies in scoring, while ranking second in rebounding and blocked shots at 16.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He is shooting 54.3 percent (51-of-94) from the field, as well as a team-best 87.1 percent (27-of-31) from the free throw line.
"There has been lots of speculation and untrue rumors regarding Jarred. Jarred Shaw is a student-athlete who graduates this spring and who made a mistake. This was his first offense and he has served his penalty by missing five games. We will go forward from here, and our team is certainly excited to have Jarred back," Morrill said.
Early Friday, Shaw entered a guilty plea to a third-degree felony marijuana possession charge, which could be reduced to a misdemeanor by his sentencing on March 17 or on completion of probation, his attorney Shannon Demler said.
Shaw was initially suspended on Dec. 16, and missed five of the Aggies' games, in which they went 4-1. Their five-game winning streak was snapped with a 73-72 loss at Air Force on Jan. 1 in USU's Mountain West Conference debut.
"The university followed the same process as it would with any USU student to determine the outcome," said USU director of athletics Scott Barnes.
Utah State (10-3, 0-1 MW) will host fellow MW rookie and former Western Athletic Conference foe San Jose State (6-7, 0-1 MW).
Seth Butterfield Butterfield and Preston Medlin each net 14.2 ppg and Kyle Davis adds 10.1 ppg.
The Spartans are 6-7 overall, also losing their league debut contest with a 62-50 loss at home to Nevada, snapping SJSU's four-game win streak.
SJSU is led by freshman guard Rashad Muhammad, who is netting 16.4 points per game off the bench. Muhammed is eighth in the MW in scoring, second in 3-pointers made (2.9) and third in free throw percentage (.836).
Junior forward Jaleel Williams posts a 11.6 ppg, while junior guard Devante Wilson is the third at 10.7 ppg. Senior forward Chris Cunningham leads the team and is tied for 10th in the MW in rebounding (7.2).