An Aggie fan favorite has decided to use his extra year and play elsewhere.
Alphonso Anderson made it official Friday afternoon on social media. He took to Twitter to announce he was leaving the Utah State men’s basketball team and would seek a new school for his last year of eligibility.
The Aggies honored the senior in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Feb. 28. He, along with Kuba Karwowski, were the lone seniors on the 2020-21 team. The NCAA is allowing all athletes an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19.
Anderson is on track to graduate after this semester, as is Karwowski. USU head coach Craig Smith is in the process of meeting with each member of the team to access and evaluate their future like he does at the conclusion of every season. Anderson has decided he wants to take advantage of one more year of college basketball, but wants the opportunity to start.
The 6-foot-6 forward saw action in 63 games for USU over the past two years. He started eight contests, but was mostly used off the bench. Anderson earned the Mountain West Conference Sixth Man Award earlier this month for his efforts.
Smith told The Herald Journal earlier this week he had met with Anderson, but was leaving it up to the athlete to announce his future. That came Friday.
Anderson tweeted: “Aggie Nation. Over the past two years as an Aggie, I have received nothing but love and support, and I am beyond thankful for all the relationships that have been built here!
“I would like to thank coach Smith and coaching staff along with the athletic staff for giving me the opportunity to become a better player and person over the past two years.
“To my teammates, I’m thankful for the moments shared over the years, being Mountain West champions and playing in March Madness are things I’ll never forget.
“With that being said, I’ve decided to grad transfer and explore my options. #10 X Fonz.”
Anderson averaged 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds a game this season in 16.3 minutes a contest, while shooting 40.5 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from 3-point range and 76.2 percent from the free throw line. He had a season-high 14 points against New Mexico and grabbed a season-best seven rebounds against San Diego state during the regular season.
The Tacoma, Washington, native hit some big shots during his two years at USU. Anderson made some 3-pointers near the end of the games that sparked the Aggies.
“Fonz has been great,” Smith said. “We want what’s best for him.”
As a junior, Anderson averaged 8.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists a game as he played nearly 18 minutes a contest. For his Aggie career, he averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds. He had career highs of 24 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks in a game.
Anderson also did well in the classroom. He was named academic all-Mountain West and is a member of the NABC Honors Court.
At the conclusion of every season, athletes can choose to enter the transfer portal. More and more athletes have been electing to do that. As of Thursday, there were more than 870 basketball players testing the transfer portal.
“It’s twice as high as it was last year at this time,” Smith said. “That is just part of the game now, and it has been for a while. Last year, on average, each Division I school lost three guys that transferred. That’s just how it is. It’s not the players’ fault, it’s not the coaches’ fault, it’s just how it is. I anticipate there will be some of that within our program.”
While the coach has met with Anderson, most of the rest of the team members will be meeting with him over the next few days. He wanted to give everyone a little time to relax and think about what they want going forward.
“We just like to have a good evaluation of the program in every way, shape and form,” Smith said. “We want to help them make the best decision they can for themselves.”
The Aggies had their season come to an end last Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when they lost to No. 21 Texas Tech.