January 4 Former SUNY Sullivan standout Marvin Jean has found a home in Logan, Utah.
That's where he is a backup forward for the Utah State Aggies in his first season of Division I ball. It's also where Utah State has racked up one of the more impressive home-court records in college basketball. Since Stew Morrill took over as head coach in 1999, the Aggies are an incredible 194-13 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the school's campus. That ranks them among the top 10 nationally in home-court records during that time span.
"It's one of the reasons I wanted to come here," said Jean of playing in front of 10,000 people every home game. "The fan support is crazy and it covers all ages."
Jean, a 6-4 forward from Harriman who played for SUNY Sullivan from 2010 and 2011, is starting to piece together a definitive role on a very good Utah State team, currently 11-1 in their final campaign in the Western Athletic Conference (next year they join the Mountain West).
He opened the season seeing just eight or nine minutes of playing time per game, but has now worked himself into a solid backup logging 15 minutes per game. He is averaging just over four points, but has steadily improved his shooting, hitting on 48 percent of his field goal attempts and 46 percent from three-point land.
"I have to earn my stripes out here," said Jean, who started one game and scored eight points when a starter was injured. "When I first got here, I had a lot to learn defensively and also work on my shooting. Coach [Morrill] wants me to be a defensive stopper and also be able to shoot the ball better. Part of that is better shot selection."
Said Morrill on Jean’s progress: “Marvin is settling in. He’s a good three-point shooter. He always plays hard, trying to learn the nuances of our system. That has sometimes been a challenge, but he does better every week and in every game.
“We’re pleased with his play. Spencer (Butterfield) went down and he responded. He played 33 minutes and did a real good, solid job.”
Jean said his biggest adjustment coming from junior college ball is the game itself.
"There's more to do on offense and defense. Here, there is a lot of structure as far as more plays being called. The intensity level is much higher and every team has talent. Perhaps what I've learned most is that every possession is vital."
Jean said coming to Utah was a big jump, but he loves the scenery, the fans and is enjoying the overall experience.
"At this point, I'm settled in and getting into things," said Jean, who admitted the academics are harder, but he's making the adjustment. "I know what I need to do to get better."
Jean said he texts former SUNY Sullivan coach Kevin DeVantier regularly and gives him a lot of credit for preparing to play at this level. "He emphasized that I need to become a better shooter and stopper and that's what coach Morrill is looking for from me."
Jean also stays in touch with his SUNY Sullivan teammate Cleanthony Early, now starting for Wichita State. "Yeah, he's doing pretty good. He's like my older brother."
THE JEAN SCENE
Marvin Jean’s season’s statistics for Utah State through the first 12 games:
Points: 4.0 per game
FG-FGA: 18-37, .486
3-pointers: 10-22, .455
FT-FTA: 2-5, .400
Rebounds: 7 off., 18 def. (2.1 avg.)