LOGAN, Utah — Every senior in collegiate athletics knows Senior Night is coming. There is no way around it and no way to stop it. That night when, for the final time, student-athletes play in front of their home crowd and hear people chanting their names and cheering them to victory can be emotional for both players and coaches.
"It is emotional, maybe even more so for the coaches than it is for the players," Utah State basketball coach Tim Duryea said. "You would think that it would be the other way around because coaches go through Senior Night every year, whereas the kids only go through it once...You get attached to these guys and go through a lot of things with them — both the good and the bad. You wish the best for them."
On Saturday night, seniors Jalen Moore, Shane Rector and Connor Garner will play their final games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan. They will be honored prior to tipoff.
Getting attached to this group of seniors is understandable. Moore is a local product from neighboring Sky View High School, and Duryea gives him credit for not walking out on the program like some of his former teammates did.
"Jalen has been such a constant for four years," Duryea said. "It will be really strange when next year rolls around, and you don't see his big hair running around. His steadiness at whichever position we've played him at has really been the epitome of coming to work each day and gives you steady effort at practice or in a game."
Rector had a tough start to his collegiate career, with brief stops at Missouri and Miami-Dade College before making his way to Logan. Since becoming an Aggie, Rector has played well, consistently making plays.
"Rector had to restart and rest things," Duryea said. "He's come in and has done really well. He's a New York City kid and has come to Logan and has made a lot of friends and has done a lot of really good things for our program and has given us a lot of good minutes. He has been a steady guy too. You know on game night that he is going to go in there and make some athletic plays, make some dynamic plays and try and make things happen for you."
Although Garner hasn't played much, appearing in just three games, he will start Saturday night and is a player who has been around awhile.
"Connor Garner is our third one (point guard)," Duryea said. "He's been around here, it seems like forever, and has been a loyal, faithful soldier as well." Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. He is a communication major at UVU and will graduate in the spring of 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias