My favorite college basketball player isn't Tyler Hansborough or OJ Mayo and although he is written about much on this site it isn't even Jaycee Carroll. My favorite college basketball player this year is Jaxon Myaer of the same Utah State University squad that features Jaycee Carroll.
Myaer attended Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, Utah where as a senior he average 18.7 points per game and was the 3-A player of the year in the state of Utah. As I made my way through the officiating ranks in Salt Lake City during my first two years, I ran across him on multiple occasions -- either at summer basketball camps where he played point guard for Judge Memorial High School or at Saturday youth Catholic games where he would involve himself with the activities at the Catholic High School. On one Saturday afternoon, I remember officiating as then Utah coach Ray Giacolletti looked on. Myaer began shooting more frequently, hoping to impress the then coach of the Utes.
Myaer stands only 5'9" tall. I have watched Utah State play four times this year and he has suited up only one time against Utah. He has yet to get into a game and he sits at the end of bench, just ahead of the trainers, but behind all suited up players. He is a walk-on.
"Walk-on -- this still remains the proudest word I can apply to myself. Walk-on -- there are resolve and backbone in that noun." Conroy on being a walk-on at the Citadel.
Myaer's bio in the media guide says, "A confident point guard who is determined to overcome the question marks with his height. Believes he can play at this level and brings a lot of positive attributes to the court. An excellent perimeter shooter." One day Myaer will be proud to be a walk-on the same way Pat Conroy is today.
When Pat Conroy was nudged out of a scholarship by the Citadel coach Mel Thompson, Thompson told him,
"'We wanted you since we first saw you. If I had you, I wouldn't worry about a full court press for the rest of my life. But I just ran out of scholarships...In my opinion, Pat, the boys we signed have skills that make them much better basketball players than you are at this point. But you could find a place on this team. We liked your heart.'"
During the game with New Mexico State Myaer cheers for good plays, he stands on the outskirts of the huddle during time outs. During the game he watches intently and talks with trainers and other players not suited up.
Additionally, in the personal section of Myaer's bio it indicates that he enjoys backpacking. I have read media guides from hundreds of different programs across the country as I've followed college basketball over the past thirty years, and Myaer is the first and only player I have found that listed backpacking as an interest.
In the end, Morrill gets his record setting victory as the Utah State Aggies beat the New Mexico State Aggies 74-62 in front of a raucous sell out crowd at the Dee Glenn Spectrum. Salt Lake Community College transfer Gary Wilkinson leads the USU Aggies in scoring by putting in 18 points. Myaer is only eight seats away from the same seat Stew Morrill has coached all those victories from.
"'Pat, you did everything we asked of you this year. We were pleased with your progress and we want to offer you a basketball scholarship.'" Mel Thompson offering Pat Conroy a scholarship.
I walked away with my scholarship in my hands, but my teammates would call me a walk-on for the rest of my life. I walked back toward the only college education I was going to get. Conroy after receiving his scholarship from the Citadel.
There is a place for Jaxon Myaer on the Utah State University basketball team.