Two days before the season opener, Utah State forward David Collette shocked the world. Sure, the Aggies lost inexplicably to lowly Cal State-Monterey Bay–a team Utah destroyed by more than 60–but to leave the team and quit all of a sudden? It smacks of something sinister.
In a day and age when college athletes can do pretty much what they please and play where they want–provided they lose one season of eligibility if they do something this stupid–Collette’s shocking exit from the Utah State basketball team Thursday was very strange.
Consider this: Utah State actually redshirted Collette in the 2011-12 season before he went on an LDS church mission. Upon his return last year, the Murray High School product played well–but didn’t tear it up like a star might have. But then the stars appeared to have aligned. Collette played the Aggies’ preseason game against Cal State Monterey Bay, a game in which he would lead all Aggies by a country mile, scoring 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting and hauling in five rebounds in just 24 minutes.
If you were looking for a leader, at that point in time, you had one in Collette. Even his coach backed him and led him to the table at the press conference following Utah State’s stunning loss. Collette’s own words spoke of a player planning to lead his team into 2015 with a vengeance–in particular because Utah State just got shocked by these lowly CSU State-Monterey Bay folks, the same team Utah beat by more than a half-hundred.
“We have a lot of things to work on. I guess if anything, it’s a good thing it happened now because it gives us a lot to work on. It was a good wake-up call. You better believe we’ll come back, starting Monday with practice. We’ll turn things around and we’ll be ready,” said Collette after the loss. “I think a lot of it was that we weren’t mentally prepared. Last year we were ranked second-to-last in the Mountain West going into the season. We had something to prove. I think it kind of got into our heads being picked third this year and we took advantage of that. We have to play with a chip on our shoulder like we did last year and turn things around.”
Yeah, Collette sure turned things around and worked on some things. He walked into new Utah State head coach Tim Duryea’s office and turned in his resignation. What a worm. What an about-face. Even Duryea–the longtime assistant to Stew Morrill who he replaced this offseason–was as taken aback as everyone.
“I was shocked when he came into my office today and said he was going to quit,” Duryea said. “I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players. I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired, but we will move on and get ready for our opener on Friday.”
For whatever reason, Collette fancies himself being a better player than anyone currently wearing a Utah State uniform. If Collette had been honest with his coach instead of being a donkey’s behind, that would be one thing. But to put his own needs before his teammates two days before the season smacks of immaturity and frankly, other slang words that have to do with the female anatomy.
You know, 12 points, five boards and two blocks are good numbers for any D-1 player, but let’s be perfectly honest here: this guy is nowhere near a star. Now that Collette is gone, there’s no way of knowing how his career at Utah State might have turned out, because like a buffoon he left the school before anyone, including himself, had a clue. Well, Utah State athletic brass didn’t mince words about this kid, that’s for sure.
On their website, they listed Collette’s one game season matter-of-factly. No mention of his one big night against CSU-MB. In fact, after flat out stating that he “quit,” the media team just pulled his name from the roster–like he never existed.
To be quite honest, Collette’s Aggie teammates probably wished he didn’t. Because his leaving the team in the middle of a season is tantamount to treason. It’s inexcusable. Nevertheless, Utah State’s season will begin this weekend and now the Aggies will definitely have something to play for: each other. That’s something that this turncoat Collette will never have the pleasure of doing, at least not for this Utah State team. And frankly in this and age where players think they’re above the team, that’s a good thing.