David Collette to transfer to Utah, per reports

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LOGAN — Former Utah State forward David Collette will transfer to the University of Utah, according to multiple reports. The former Aggie who was not released from his scholarship will have two years of eligibility, but cannot receive athletic aid from his school for one full year.

The news, which was first reported by CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein and confirmed by ESPN's Andy Katz and a source who spoke with KSL on conditions of anonymity, has slowly simmered in Logan for several weeks as Collette appealed a decision by Utah State's athletic department to not release him from his scholarship after he announced plans to leave the team.

Collette, who must sit out one full year per NCAA transfer regulations to another Division I team, will also pay his own way because he did not gain a release from his scholarship at Utah State, according to Katz. He will be eligible to suit up for the Runnin' Utes after the Fall 2016 semester.

In the Utes, Collette will play in a front court that should include Kyle Kuzma and Brekkot Chapman, but will likely lose center Jakob Poeltl, who could be one of the top available post players in the 2016 NBA Draft. West Jordan-born forward Jordan Loveridge will also leave the team, through graduation, before Collette is eligible.

Collette used a redshirt season in 2011-12, his first season at Utah State, before serving a two-year LDS Church mission to Charlotte, North Carolina and playing in 2014-15 as a redshirt freshman.

The Aggies maintained that Collette should be held responsible for his scholarship spot because of the timing of his decision. The former Salt Lake area prep standout informed first-year head coach Tim Duryea of his intentions to leave after the team had played two exhibition games, including a 77-60 loss to Cal State Monterey Bay, and just two days before the regular season opener, a 73-70 win at in-state rival Weber State.

Utah State did not put any other restrictions on his release, including a standard practice to limit transfers from enrolling at programs that are on the future schedule of former schools.

"David Collette chose to leave Utah State two days prior to its season-opening contest, which hamstrung the team in terms of recruiting a new player to that position or even practicing with other players for that position," Utah State announced when the appeal was denied. "The timing of David's decision to leave the team is the reason Utah State is handling his release this way."

JoJo McGlaston (24) and David Collette (13) of Utah State defend Christian Wood (5) of UNLV during NCAA basketball in Logan, Feb. 24, 2015. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)
JoJo McGlaston (24) and David Collette (13) of Utah State defend Christian Wood (5) of UNLV during NCAA basketball in Logan, Feb. 24, 2015. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Duryea was unhappy with the decision from the beginning, claiming he believed Collette was recruited away from Utah State in a manner that violates NCAA regulations.

"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," Duryea said in a statement from the school at the time. "I don't feel good and don't like how things transpired, but we will move on and get ready for our season opener."

Utah State did not immediately comment on the latest installment of Collette's transfer situation.

Utah State (6-3) opened the season winning five of their first six games, with the only loss coming at defending national champion Duke on Nov. 29. The Aggies have lost two of the past three since that stretch, falling at BYU and at home to UC Irvine before picking up a win over UT Rio Grande Valley in the Global Sports Hoops Showcase on Monday night.

Collette started all 31 games for the Aggies last year, finishing second on the team with 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting a Mountain West-high 59.1 percent from the field after returning from a mission. He played in both exhibition games for the Aggies this season, which do not count on the team's record.

The last time he played in the Salt Lake Valley, Collette averaged 22.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game as a senior at Murray High. He drew interest from Utah State, Weber State, BYU, San Francisco and Boise State, among others, as a high school senior before signing with the Aggies.

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